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Australia chooses progeCAD as an AutoCAD alternative

CADDIT.net has been engaged by progeCAD since March 2007 to promote and support the progeSOFT product line in Australia and New Zealand.
Today Natalia Solotkova, progeSOFT’s press agent, was meeting Ben Decker, director of CADDIT.net, a distributor of progeCAD in Australia and New Zealand.

Well, Ben, by now you’ve been promoting progeCAD on the Australian market for about a year.  And I’m sure you could share your first impressions of the product you sell and your emotions from the fruits of hard labour already carried out. So, how do you find yourself with a new product to market in Australia?

I’m enthused! It really provides small and large Australian business a fully functional and locally supported alternative to costly AutoCAD software. AutoCAD costs 4500 EUR. progeCAD prices is around 150-300 EUR according with the version.

And what kind of reaction do you receive from the customer? Does he like the progeCAD software?

So far it’s been real good. There have been very few bug reports, and no real complaints from any of our existing progeCAD customers.

What are the customers that mostly buy progeCAD?

These customers currently include mostly architects and engineering firms, along with some builders and construction companies. At this point in time we have some larger opportunities that I can’t discuss… yet.

How do you find it working with the progeSOFT team?

Our relationship with the software manufacturer is better than ever. progeSOFT support is great and issues are resolved quickly.

What can you say about your distribution channel? Are you satisfied with the work of all the elements in the network?

CADDIT.net is now the exclusive sole region distributor for Australia and New Zealand (and we are also working on Vietnam and some other places). Right now, we do need more resellers… especially in Perth and Tasmania.

I’m in the know that you support actively and in every possible way the program “progeCAD to Schools”, don’t you?

Yes, we do. As progeSOFT states progeCAD is FREE TO SCHOOLS – and I can add to it from my part that progeSOFT intends the full meaning of the word “free” –  not free as in restricted by lots of hidden commitments. It is seriously free to all in educational institutions, teachers or students in whatever amount is required for them. Students can and teachers can take it home. It’s a truly great way for schools to teach and use CAD! We invite them to contact us directly through our website if they have more questions.

It has been also due to your contribution that now a lot of Australian Universities and colleges already work with our software!

Many universities, including TAFE, teach with AutoCAD versions six, sometimes eight years old because the school cannot afford AutoCAD upgrades. Again, this is a really alternative.

progeCAD is ten times cheaper than similar packages like AutoCAD. I wonder if your customers are enthusiastic over that fact or, on the contrary, as the proverb says “free cheese can be found only in a mouse-trap”, find it suspicious?

Well, rather often I come across the same type of question. Many rightfully ask: "if progeCAD is basically the same as Auto CAD, then why is it so cheap?" I always answer back: "progeCAD isn’t cheap. AutoCAD is simply overpriced."

How do you feel it is, that the CAD market has come to this point?

Most people equate CAD directly to AutoCAD. A large share of the general public is totally unaware that there are many other CAD programs, even many other *types* of CAD, as well as different CAD file formats and standards. Even fewer are aware that a code base exists which brings full AutoCAD functionality to the public at a much more reasonable price level. Some might even be suspicious of any alternative to a “de facto standard”. So we really invite users just to try it.

The first commercial CAD systems required specialized hardware and extensive administrative overhead to keep in operation. In 1982, a team of 15 released the first successful stand-alone CAD that worked on commodity PC hardware. It was based on a previous work by Mike Riddle called MicroCAD, and was originally planned to assist with "desktop automation" tasks. This new concept was called AutoCAD. It sold for $1000 USD.

AutoCAD introduced other concepts to the general public: the first open CAD format specification. This Data eXchange Format, or DXF, soon became a de facto 2D CAD standard, supported by virtually all platforms. This move ironically helped assure AutoCAD’s place as a market leader. The DXF specification was kept basic, only allowing translation of basic geometry necessary to communicate with downstream applications. Ownership of AutoCAD was still required to read the binary data which stored the complete drawing, including copious attributes and data.

Today, AutoCAD costs more than 4500 EUR, but little has changed in the basic deliverables of the software for several years. Some features, such as IGES support, which appeared in previous releases have actually been removed. AutoCAD uses two things to maintain market share:
1) It’s name. As mentioned earlier, many are unaware of working technical alternatives.
2) A proprietary binary encoded data format called DWG ("DraWinG") that forces those who used AutoCAD in the past to continue using it.

The key now is educating those people aren’t happy about this. We offer an easy alternative with progeCAD.

Ben, thank you for spending a bit of  your precious time with us. We are grateful for this interesting conversation and hope to see you soon in this picturesque town on the Lake of Como. Good luck and wishing you all the best with your further ventures in promoting our progeCAD software.

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