Vendors Alter Plans and Policies to Support CAD Community During COVID-19 Crisis

2 Jun, 2020 By: Cadalyst Staff

The companies that supply designers and engineers are changing license terms to support working from home, and taking in-person gatherings online to help keep attendees safe.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on March 31, and was most recently updated on June 2, 2020.

In just a few short months, the world has changed dramatically. Everyone has been affected in some way as COVID-19 marches around the globe, and the CAD community is no exception.

Here, we’ve collected updates on some of the many event modifications and software licensing policy changes that can help CAD professionals who have experienced disruptions including layoffs, travel restrictions, and transitions to home offices. Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and many plans and policies are in flux right now. Check with your vendor or reseller for the latest information.

In-Person Is Out

Many industry conferences have been canceled, rescheduled, or transformed into online-only virtual gatherings. These include:

  • The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has canceled the AIA Conference on Architecture 2020, which had been planned for May 14–16 in Los Angeles; it will not be rescheduled. Instead, AIA is working to develop a virtual event and additional continuing education offerings. 
  • The Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) postponed its annual conference until next year. The 2021 meeting will be held in Chicago, March 14–18. 
  • Autodesk has decided to host all upcoming Autodesk University conferences this year as “digital experiences,” including the Autodesk University conference in Las Vegas, as well as international AU events in the UK, India, Japan, China, and Germany. The company is also evaluating ways to digitize preconference events, including the Leadership Forum, Connect & Construct Summit, and Forge DevCon. Whether the digital events will require paid registration has not been decided.
  • The Conference on Advancing Analysis & Simulation in Engineering (CAASE20), originally planned as a live event in Indianapolis, will instead be presented as a virtual conference June 16–18, 2020. 
  • KeyShot World 2020 has been remade as a virtual event, which is free and open to all. Live-stream sessions are taking place through April 2, and the site offers recorded sessions and downloads of informational materials. 
  • NVIDIA opted to make its GPU Technology Conference (GTC) 2020, which was to be held March 22–26, into an online event. GTC Digital is free (apart from workshops and trainings from the NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute), and includes a library of talks, panels, research posters, and demos, plus the multipart keynote session. 
  • PTC’s LiveWorx 2020 has been relaunched as a complimentary virtual event on June 9. Site visitors can sign up to receive announcements as the details are worked out. PTC is planning a return to in-person LiveWorx events next year in Boston, on May 10–13, 2021.
  • The 2020 Vectorworks Design Summit, which was scheduled for April 22–24 in San Diego, California, has been canceled. A rescheduling decision has not yet been announced. 

Qualit Design/

Although in-person events are off the table for the time being, keep in mind that there are many online training opportunities available. For example, Computer Aided Technology has launched the innovate3D online event series for engineering and manufacturing professionals. The innovate3D webcasts comprise live hands-on training, presentations, and product demonstrations; topics include SOLIDWORKS, 3D printing, and more. 

Professionals Get Assistance with Working Remotely

To help smooth the transition, companies are offering discounts, temporary free access, trial extensions, and licensing changes intended to support the migration from office to home.

Autodesk is extending contract payment terms to 60 days for all customers and partners, for orders placed directly with Autodesk through August 7, 2020; extending the ability to purchase new multi-user subscription plans to August 7, 2020; and moving the retirement of those plans to August 7, 2021. For more details, visit the COVID-19 Autodesk Resource Center and see Robert Green's CAD Manager column, "Autodesk Delays Implementation of Named-User Licensing Approach." 

Bentley Systems has opened up its ProjectWise 365 cloud service, including waiving subscription fees through September 30, 2020, to help connect infrastructure project participants working from home. “As an ‘instant-on’ cloud service accessed through a web browser to simplify design review, transmittals, RFIs, information sharing, and issues resolution, ProjectWise 365 is perfectly suited for quick adoption while working from home,” according to Bentley Systems.

DotProduct, a provider of handheld 3D capture solutions, for mobile professionals, is offering free trial extensions to all interested parties. Users can obtain free trials of Dot3D Pro from the DotProduct website, and contact the company for trial extensions or reactivations. 

EMA Design Automation is offering free access to work-from-home licenses, including OrCAD PCB Designer Professional, PSpice, Ultra Librarian for OrCAD, and access to its entire online learning catalog. A letter from the CEO Manny Marcano provides more details about the program.  

Graebert is offering free access to ARES Kudo, its online CAD solution for DWG editing and viewing, until the end of June for all users. (In addition, any users who have tried ARES Kudo in the first half of 2020 will be offered a free license valid until the end of December 2020 if they join Graebert’s focus group.) To support the expected increase in home-based users working on the cloud, Graebert is also scaling up its cloud infrastructure by leveraging additional AWS resources.  

Building information modeling (BIM) software developer GRAPHISOFT is providing BIMcloud as a Service worldwide free for 60 days to ARCHICAD users. ARCHICAD users are invited to activate BIMcloud as a Service. For more information, please visit BIMcloud as a Service in the Help Center

Hexagon's Manufacturing Intelligence is offering a range of free offline licensing and remote access options designed to enable efficient home working for manufacturing professionals. Home working options will be provided for Hexagon’s production software and metrology software offerings, as well as the MSC Software range of CAE solutions, at least until June 30, 2020. Manufacturers running metrology equipment in factories can remotely monitor and analyze how key assets are performing for free with HxGN SFx | Asset Management. Users will also have access to additional online learning resources. Details on how to access the home working packages are available here.

To help organizations and employees collaborate on projects from home offices, IMAGINiT Technologies has gathered remote collaboration resources, including articles and videos, on its website. Topics include ways to work from home with Autodesk products, licensing and collaboration for AEC and manufacturing professionals, and more. 

For a limited time, Leica Geosystems is offering a new financing option on most Leica Geosystems solution purchases in the United States: $0 money down for the first 90 days, with flexible purchase options after the 90 days. 

NVIDIA has expanded its free virtual GPU software evaluation from 128 to 500 licenses for 90 days to help companies support remote workers with their existing GPU infrastructure. All three tiers of the company’s specialized vGPU software — NVIDIA GRID, Quadro Virtual Data Center, and Virtual Compute Server — are available through the expanded free licensing. 

Cloud engineering simulation platform provider OnScale will provide free cloud core-hours to customers “to promote customer safety and mitigate any productivity loss due to office shutdowns,” according to a press release. Customers are invited to reach out to with questions. 

Plexscape, the developer of Plex.Earth, an AutoCAD tool for the acceleration of AEC projects, is doubling its customers’ licenses at no extra cost for the next three months. This initiative aims to help Plex.Earth users transition to remote-work conditions by installing the software on their home computers or laptops.  All Plex.Earth customers are eligible; they can concact to upgrade their accounts.  

Radica Software is offering a 30% discount for its Electra Cloud electrical CAD software until April 22, 2020. The offer is applicable to purchases of Electra Cloud Standard or Professional licenses only, on its first annual billing cycle. In addition to the discount, the Company has also extended its trial period from 30 days to 60 days. 

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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