- Supplying no software solution and relying on the market to solve the problem for the end User
- Pointing end users to an approved third-party software vendor
- Offering a white-label software solution along with their machine
- Building a custom application based on an OEM platform
- Creating an entirely custom software solution
While all of these approaches are valid, there are pitfalls to each. In all cases, partnering with Spatial, the leading vendor of 3D modeling software development toolkits, will give you access to robust solutions tested by millions of end users over the past 30 years, plus access to higher revenues and greater end customer satisfaction. This blog explores each of these scenarios and explores how Spatial SDKs can play an important role in the solution.
1. AM OEMs Relying on the Market to Solve the ProblemSome AM OEMs focus on building the best machine they can, hoping to carve out a niche. They believe that the end user will pair the best machine on the market (theirs) with the software that best meets the user’s needs. While this sounds like a good strategy, the issue arises when the end user (or even prospect) has selected a software solution that does not take advantage of the key features of your machine, or worse, takes advantages of features your competitor has.
The risk of relying on the market to solve the problem is that the available software solutions may not be to your advantage. Differentiation is key to success in the marketplace. Moreover, a hardware-only product without software to bolster the differentiation ultimately results in lower hardware sales revenue. The solution then is to develop your own software front-end, which implies developing a 3D modeling kernel. While developing a custom modeling kernel provides the ultimate control, it does imply large development costs along with ongoing support costs. Moreover, companies may not have access to the required 3D modeling expertise in-house and may face challenges in trying to hire fast enough to keep up in today’s competitive market. But why reinvent the wheel when you can partner with Spatial and gain access to an industry-leading modeling kernel and world-class interoperability?
Spatial modeling technologies power some of the most advanced 3D applications in industry today. Based on the continuous advancement of capabilities provided by Spatial, our partners stay ahead of their competition by focusing their software development on unique rather than common features. Using Spatial SDKs will allow your new development team to focus on your value-add and leveraging your offering’s unique capabilities while knowing you can deliver a best-in-class software solution. Our partners can command market premiums by demonstrating increased end-user efficiency and better results.
2. AM OEMs Referring End Users to ThirdParty Independent Software VendorIn this scenario, an AM OEM refers end-users to a (possibly trusted) third-party independent software vendor (ISV). This scenario, while an improvement over letting the end user select whatever software they desire, has two major drawbacks:
- The ISV operates according to its own set of priorities and marketing goals. For example, while it may be willing to support a new differentiating feature in your machine, you cannot control when the feature will be released, resulting in delayed availability of software to support new machine features.
- The risk that a new software feature needed to support a special capability for your machine may enable a similar capability in a competitor’s machine.
While the prospects of starting your own software development are daunting, it does provide true differentiation by offering unique functionality, fully accessing all the capabilities of your equipment. However, it adds to management and development costs. Leveraging the offering of a toolkit, the vendor can remove risk from the schedule as well as allowing your software team to focus on the user interface and connectivity to the tool — areas that can benefit greatly from their expertise.
As a vendor of software development toolkits, Spatial delivers robust solutions tested on thousands of datasets from hundreds of OEMs and ISVs. Taking advantage of Spatial’s offering can help your team come up to speed quickly. Your solution benefits from Spatial engineering team’s years of experience in dealing with CAD data from the widest variety of sources. As a result, from a support perspective, your team does not have to deal with the usual maturation issues that come with rolling out
3. Offering a White-Label Software Solution Along with Their MachineIn a white-label/private-label software solution, an AM OEM decides to partner with a software vendor to resell their software solution under their branding, possibly with some customization
- The ISV operates according to its own set of priorities and marketing goals.
- The risk that a new software feature will eventually be available to a competitor offering.
- Reduced staffing requirements. The new engineering team can focus on customization rather than on developing a modeling kernel and translation routines.
- Shorten development time. Because the solution is built using Spatial components, development time only needs to encompass application customizations.
- More robust solution. The end application benefits from Spatial’s experience as the foundation of hundreds of 3D CAD applications. Gone
are worriesabout the issues that come with an immature solution.
4. Building a Custom Application Using an Application PlatformA viable approach for an AM OEM is to build a custom application that meets their needs through customizations to a third-party end-user application. This approach gets an OEM closer to achieving a custom solution for less development cost than for a full custom approach. While this approach is a step up from a white-label offering, it only provides for customization around the edges of an existing application. Customizing a third-party end-user application does provide some control over the feature set; however, this approach:
- Suffers from providing low software margins. The platform vendor reaps the majority of the software revenue.
- Has limited flexibility to create differentiating software or an outstanding end-user experience due to the low number of APIs available for the OEM’s customization.
May behampered by lack of access to world-class software routines. Quality of results is key in 3D modeling.
- Lack of solution robustness due to the limited user base, leading to higher support costs.
Recasting the solution to use Spatial software development tools rather than a pre-built platform provides several benefits:
- Higher software margins due to the lower licensing costs of Spatial SDKs.
- The ability to focus on your value-add by leaving the heavy lifting of 3D data translation, 3D modeling, and visualization to the experts at Spatial.
- More robust solution due to the large Spatial user base and experience.
- Shortened time to market due to the reduced development effort.
5. Creating an Entirely Custom Software SolutionDeveloping a custom software solution from the ground up does provide the ultimate control
- Cost and difficulty associated with hiring and retaining a large and capable development team. The experience and competency of the development team can outweigh all of the other variables affecting the development and deployment of 3D applications.
- Protracted development cycles due to the top-to-bottom scope of a custom solution.
- Reduced (or no) interoperability due to the amount of effort required to develop, test and maintain translators to/from third-party formats.
- Restricted capabilities due to the limitations of a custom modeling kernel.
- Increased support costs when rolling out a new application due to the limited user base (more users lead to a more robust solution).