Manufacturers apprehensive about cloud
Although cloud computing concepts have been around for some time, they are relatively new to project life cycle management for most companies in the manufacturing industry.
So says Naji Atallah, manufacturing manager for Middle East and Africa at Autodesk, who adds there is a lot of hype around cloud computing and there are many claims about whether it can be transformative in a given industry.
"People are naturally apprehensive about technology they are not familiar with, and some were of the opinion that the infrastructure - particularly in South Africa - might not have been sufficient.
"Now that people are giving it a chance, there is greater adoption of this technology and we anticipate that it will naturally increase and snowball. The more people who use it with success, the more others will want to try it," he says.
He adds there is a perception within the industry that the necessary infrastructure, such as a reliable Internet connection, is not available in SA to make the use of this software feasible. This negative opinion affects adoption of cloud, says Atallah.
"Most of the cloud-based offerings are really new - less than two years old - and marketing does not happen simultaneously all over the world. SA was a later addition to the market. But in a meeting where this was presented to professional bodies, it was very well received. They can see the potential."
According to Atallah, in a country like SA, where there are a high number of medium-sized companies, cloud computing makes it possible to use the latest software without having to buy software and hardware individually.
Companies can run the simulations on servers in the cloud, and are only charged on a pay-as-you-use basis, he explains.
He notes that the cloud allows manufacturers to run several simulations simultaneously, and because these take place in the cloud, one's computer remains free to do other work while these simulations are taking place.
"The results are also received much sooner than before; where previously it could have taken a week for a complex simulation or render to complete, now it can happen in hours - and the results are available the same day.
"This increases productivity and efficiency, and as the process is also much quicker than previous methods, it means a company could potentially launch products with better quality and launch them earlier than anticipated, thereby increasing profits as well."