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Architosh Staff (info@architosh.com)
4 August 2001

 

Exclusive Interview: Future Nemetschek Product Direction

In this second part of our extensive interview with Sean Flaherty, CTO of Nemetschek North America, we delve into the future of the company a bit with new products yet to be announced, new strategies, the Web and thoughts about different technologies and their implications for CAD industry.

For news on the future of VectorWorks on Mac OS X, please see Part 1 of this two part interview special.


Sean Flaherty, CTO of Nemetschek North America

Anthony Frausto-Robledo, Editor of Architosh.com

What's Next with VectorWorks in 9.5?

AFR When are you planning the next major release of VectorWorks?

SF Version 9.5?

AFR Yes. When is your next big feature planned? What does your window look like there?

SF Uh,, (laughter). That's a tough question there. I think it may be too early to say.

AFR Ya, I may be getting ahead of you.

"Last year it seemed like every third booth was some sort of online collaboration site. And they were all gone this year." -- Sean Flaherty, CTO

SF We have been running around as a company and trying to figure that out. We have traditionally done 18 month releases and VectorWorks 9 was a 27 month release. And that is too long. It is really hard to say. We are going back and reevaluating what is the best way to get the latest technology in our customers' hands.

I think the CAD market is an interesting one because basically companies standardize on it as a platform like they do with an operating system. And changing the platform too often can be very disruptive. But at the same time there is a large push to continue to support new technologies. So for us we have these two forces pulling the schedule both ways.

So I think we will have a better idea later in the Fall about what are window really is.

AFR Can I ask you a few questions about your Web strategy?

SF Sure.

AFR You know you have Autocad out there -- very aggressive on the Web side, they just bought Buzzsaw.com, and so forth. Where is Nemetschek going with the Internet?

SF Well, it is good that you say Nemetschek there because this is going to be a group strategy from us...coming from Nemetschek AG. They have a web portal comparable to Buzzsaw called MyBau.com, which is primarily used in the European market, which for us is 30-40% of our business. In fact, we split the world by about 30% for Europe, 30% for Japan, and 30% for the United States and Canada together, and the other ten percent is split between companies like South America....and we have a growing user base in Australia too.

So for us this will help to have strategy there. I think the whole CAD community got really side tracked onto the project management sites.... [Web sites].

AFR True.

SF...that made all the news. And it's interesting...did you attend AEC?

AFR No, but I followed some of the announcements.

SF It's interesting because the shear absence of booths was remarkable. Last year it seemed like every third booth was some sort of online collaboration site. And they were all gone this year. And it was really only the diehard Buzzsaw's and Bricsnet's that are the ones that survived.

The direction we are looking for as a corporation is really first about 'how to get information up on the Web...and visible and viewable'. We have—and this will appear on our Web site in the next month or so—a viewer version of VectorWorks. [Editor's note: at the time this went up to the server Nemetschek had announced its new VW Viewer app.]

AFR So you can view files on the Web?

SF Right. You can open up, look at files, zoom around, and then print them.

AFR That's good news.

SF Yes, so this is good. So that is certainly going to be a big advantage because certainly any service bureau can download the viewer app and they will have a full plot ready version of VectorWorks.

You know anytime you go to DWG or any translation process there is always [some] loss. So we want to be able to have people post and pass around VectorWorks files directly. And to have a viewer means that you can go to some third-party, which isn't necessarily a VectorWorks user, and they can access the file. In fact, what a lot of our customers often need is when they are sending some VectorWorks files as DWG's to some Autocad user, that that user can use the viewer to open the VectorWorks file directly and compare it to the DWG export and verify that they got everything they needed.

So that is certainly going to take us forward there. I think the direction we are headed—and we are probably about five years away—is some Web-based component spec where Pella and Anderson can not just put up DWG representations of their windows but can actually have a component that you can click on a Web page and drop it into your CAD application.

There is a whole host of specs running around right now. And if you search on architecture and XML you will find a lot of information. I think that is where people are headed.

I think long term the people who can actually get manufacturers to put things up on the Web will actually have a real competitive advantage. And that's what we are working with NAG on right now—especially with the MyBau.com projects and a lot of the manufactures there—is to use their Web based component specification.

As far as further Web technologies I'm not sure I see a lot that are specific to CAD.

AFR What about 3D and things like Macromedia's newly announced Shockwave 3D format, things like that?

SF The streaming 3Ds?

AFR Yes, the newest streaming 3D technologies...like the Shockwave 3D format that people like Maya, Lightwave, Amapi and others are all getting very excited about?

SF I don't know. To be honest, I don't know if I have a strong opinion about that.

AFR OK.

SF It's something—you know—where VRML was all the rage about six or seven years ago...and it's not really done a lot.

The formats like Shockwave are nice when you need to share small 3D drawings with somebody. But I am just not convinced that if you are working on a large 3D version of a house that you want to see it in a small, 'quickie' streamed 3D format.

I think when you are collaborating with someone on something you are going to want to have a full CAD system there to work with it. I think the redlining features you have with DWF are much more appealing to our customers.

AFR And so, what about your 3D technologies. If not to streaming format where are you taking them?

SF With VectorWorks 9 we rev'd our 3D engine. And we continue to rev our rendering technologies. Those are where we want to attack the 3D market. To take VectorWorks up to be the industry leading architectural modeling and rendering package.

AFR Sean, I think we need to wrap up now but I want to thank you for talking to Architosh about VectorWorks, its future and Mac OS X in our earlier part 1 interview. And all the detailed discussion on development issues related to OS X was wonderful and insightful. This conversation sheds a lot of light on what it is really like to move an application—especially one as large as yours—over to Apple's next-generational operating system.

SF You are welcome. Thank you for the opportunity. And we look forward to sharing more news about our company with Architosh in the future.


So that concludes our final part of a two-part exclusive interview with Nemetschek North America's (formerly Diehl Grahphisoft) Sean Flaherty, Chief Technology Officer. This is the second big interview with Sean and he has provided us, again, with much interesting insight into the Mac community and the heart of Apple as a company.

I hope you have enjoyed this interview and look forward to more like it in the future. -- AFR.


If you have any questions or comments for us about our features and interviews, or if you would like to be interviewed, please just send us a note.

Bill Gates' House Designed on Macintosh?

PowerBook G3's Win at CAD Shootout!

Special Report: Financial Software for Architects

What you didn't know about GHz processors, and more...- [Aug 3] New!

Around the Web: New design Web site, G4, et al. - [Aug 3] New!

Coming Up! Review of MacDraft 5 and Special Interview - [Aug 3] New!

MacCAD: BOA to be OS X only in version 3.0 - [Aug 3] New!

MacCAD: HP Delivers OS X drivers for DesignJet's - [Aug 3] New!

MacCAD: BOA publishes first BOA Plane Talk newsletter - [Aug 1] New!

Acne's: Kirksey moves up to ArchiCAD 7.0 - [Aug 1] New!

Mac3D: VectorWorks SPOTLIGHT 9.0.1 ships - [Aug 1] New!

A reader comments on MO drives by Fujitsu - [Aug 1] New!

Shootout: G4 tower stacks up well against PC's - [Aug 1] New!

Nemetschek N.A. updates products, other news - [jul 31] New!

Macworld Expo News and Features

MWNY: Fujitsu Computer's new MO Products - [jul 29]

MWNY: ThinkFree Office, Universal office productivity - [jul 29]

MWNY: Architosh Forums Prize Winners Announced! - [jul 27]

MWNY: Nemetschek combines VW Architect with Landmark - [jul 27]

MWNY: Abvent news - ZOOM GDL tool announced - [jul 27]

MWNY: Expo Pictures - [jul 26]

Mac3D: New version of Lightworks rendering engine, v6.0 - [jul 26]

MWNY: VectorWorks demonstrated on Mac OS X - [jul 23] Updated!

MWNY: Notes on Mac OS X (10.1 update) - [jul 23]

MWNY: Lightwave 6.5 rocks Macworld audiences - [jul 23]

MWNY: Less than 48 hrs left in Architosh Forums Prize Contest - [jul 22]

MWNY: Keynote and Expo Summary Notes - [jul 22]

MWNY: Ashlar announces new product line - [jul 22]

MWNY: Alias/Wavefront makes splash at Macworld! - [jul 22]

MWNY: VectorWorks demonstrated on Mac OS X - [jul 23]

MWNY: Shockwave takes on 3D, new partners sign on - [jul 22]

Keynote Predictions: Crystal Ball 2001 New York - [jul 18]

Architosh Firm Profile: Interview with Luminetik, 3D Macintosh Studio - [jul 17]

Architosh to Cover Macworld Expo - Notes - [jul 17]

Pre-New York Meditations on the Possible - [jul 17]

Architosh Feature Interview: Microspot Ltd talks Technical CAD on the Mac - [jul 12] New!


MacCAD news: Nemetschek initiates 2001-2002 Learning Tour - [jul 12]

ArchiCAD used for design of tallest residential skyscraper - [jul 12]

Mac3DNY.org renames and sponsors Teapot Awards - [jul 9]

Mac3D: Mac Cinema4D user creates masterful short film - [jul 9]

MacCAD: Free SPOTLIGHT Training by Nemetschek - [jul 9]

Quesa Group has QuickDraw 3D API on Mac OS X - [jul 6]

OpenDWG Alliance has Mac OS X code libraries available - [jul 6]

Microspot Sponsors Architosh Forum Prize Contest! - [jun 29]

MacCAD news: VectorWorks for Mac OS X news - [jun 29]

Tomorrow last day to get Electric Image (3D Toolkit) for $99 - [jun 29]

Architosh.com - What's Coming Up in the Near Future - [jun 29]

Architosh - Status Reports: Autocad, G4's and Other Info - [jun 29]

Mac3D market needs new Wildcat II graphics card - [jun 28]

MacCAD: Nemetschek NA finalizes VectorWorks 9.0.1 update - [Jun 28]

AEC Newsletter CAD/3D platform poll, go show Mac support! - [jun 26]

OS X news: Autodesk seems to have taken a fancy to dock... - [jun 22]

Mac3D news: Japanese 3D tool, HexaSuper 2 for Mac - [jun 22]

VersaCAD 2001 Mac shown at AEC Systems - [jun 22]

Apple not at AEC Show, inexplicable or not? - [jun 20]

MacCAD news: VectorWorks LANDMARK is now officially shipping - [Jun 20]

MacCAD news: ArchiCAD to implement National CAD Standards - [Jun 20]

Mac3D news: 3D Nature intros Z-Buffer Compositor for LightWave 6.5 - [jun 19]

MacCAD news: Cigraph ships two new ArchiCAD plugins - [jun 19]

Graphisoft intros ArchiFM 7 WebServer in Europe - [Jun 19]

ArchiFM WebServer to be announced by Graphisoft - [jun 15]

Online Design Tools site counting Mac visitors - [Jun 15]

MacCAD news: EON to work with ArchiCAD/GDL - [Jun 15]

MacCAD news: new interactive 3D technology headed for OS X - [Jun 15]

Mac3D news: Get ElectricImage 2.9 for just $198 now - [jun 13]

Mac3D news: Hot new tools from Japan need US attention - [Jun 13]

Mac3D news: TGS/Eovia offer Amapi 3D v4.15 for free - [Jun 13]

Mac3D news: dvGarage intros new 3D Training Kit - [Jun 13]

Dr. Bott's DVIator for ADC-displays now shipping - [Jun 13]

Mac3D news: POV-Ray for Mac OS and OS X - [jun 12]

Macs ousted for CAD Lab at Sacramento High School - [jun 8]

Revit attacks Autocad market, actually good for Mac users? - [jun 8]

Q: Need for Macintosh CNC Milling Software - [jun 8]

MacCAD news: Interstudio announces DigiCAD 3D 6.0 - [jun 6]

Macintosh Facilities Management software options - [jun 6]

MacCAD news: Apple seminar on new ArchiCAD 7.0 - [jun 5]

Map Resources updates site with new map finding facilities - [Jun 1]

Microspot ships new MacDraft 5.0 CAD program - [Jun 1]

Q: Need for Mac Facility Management software - [Jun 1]

Mac3D: LightWave 6.5 presentation, Apple Market Center New York - [may 30]

Home automation software for Mac, useful to architects/builders - [may 30]

280+ Architecture Firms show support of Macintosh - [may 29]

Architosh's AIWUG updated: 300+ member firms and growing - [may 29]

Mac3D news: MCnurbs Creator 2, updated for VectorWorks 9 - [may 25]

Mac3D news: Cinema4D XL 7 offers new radiosity engine - [may 25]

Mac3D news: Strata ships new 'Strata 3DPlus' - [may 22]

Mac3D news: Strata updates Strata 3DPro to v.3.5 - [may 22]

Cool news coming out of WWDC-2001 - [may 22]

Summary of Apple Store Opening Action, Links - [may 19]

Mac3D News: Looks like Blender is coming soon! - [may 18]

Mac3D News: Running Radiance on OS X, instructions - [may 18]

Mac3D News: VRML on the Macintosh - [may 16]

Learning more about Mac OS X - [may 16]

Mac Aircraft design software - part 2 - [may 16]

Architosh is TenLinks.com 'Site of the Week' - [may 15]

Hot Door introduces 'Perspective' for Illustrator 8 & 9 - [may 15]

Mac3D: Aircraft design software and Object-Maker - [may 15]

StudioDESK: Is Autodesk looking at the Mac again? - [may 11]

Q&A: Any Mac software for designing aircraft? - [may 11]

Mac Architect: Apple to host free BOA CAD seminar - [may 10]

MacCAD News: VectorWorks and PowerBooks, map ancient cities - [may 9]

VectorWorks helps student win International competition - [may 9]

A Mac version of MECcheck in the works - [may 9]

MacCAD News: Autocad sales down, Mac CAD up? - [may 9]

Architosh Forums: Multi-Prize Giveaway - [may 9]

New Architosh Highlights:

Firm Profile: Of the Place Itself, A vernacular Modernism in Austin - [may 2] New!

Introducing our Architosh Digital Practice Guide - [may 2] New!

DPG: Finding Macintosh CAD/3D and AEC software - [may 2] New!

DPG: Our Macintosh Hardware Guide - [may 2] New!

DPG: Searching our DPG FAQ Guides - [may 2] New!

DPG - FAQ: What 3D Mac apps are there for industrial designers? - [may 2] New!

DPG - FAQ: What apps are available for managing building projects? - [may 2] New!

New Architosh Site Area Content!

New Digital Practice Guide - [may 2] New!

New Revised CAD/3D Forums - [may 2] New!

New Edutainment Site Area - [Jan 9] Architosh

New Feature: Communication, Design and the Internet - [Jan 9]

Mac OS X Page: Comparative Table - Win2000/Linux - [Jan 9]

Building a Macintosh CAD Workstation - [Jan 9]

Building an Apple Server Solution - [Jan 9]

New Find Facilities and Sherlock Tips - [Jan 9]


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