The AEC Lens
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.
HP’s Latest CADCentric Technology – an interview with Tom Salomone
December 20th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
I recently had an opportunity to interview Tom Salomone, MCAD & AEC Worldwide Segment Manager at HP at the Autodesk University, 2011 in Las Vegas. This is a transcript of the interview.
Sanjay: How has the show been going for you?
Tom: The show has been going awesome for us. We’ve got a lot of traffic going through out our booth. We’re showing out our workstations. So we have five desktop workstations and three mobile workstations that we are showing.
So we even have a small form factor work station that is sixty five percent smaller than our other work stations. This is for those in the auto-CAD space that are looking for something inexpensive and who are moving into the line. We have our higher end workstations for those people who are looking at 3dS Max. We have an ideal work station for Revit that we have here today as well. So we really have the full spectrum of work stations for auto-CAD.
With our mobile workstations, we have a fourteen inch, a fifteen inch, and a seventeen inch. So if you want light, you can get the fourteen inch. If you want power you can get the seventeen inch. If you want to compromise, you can get the fifteen inch. We have our tool-less chassis, not just with our desktops, but, also with our mobiles. So you can actually take apart the bottom of our mobile workstations and access the components the same as you can with our desktop workstations.
So, we really have a lot of cool products that we are showing. We also have some brand new technologies that we are showing at this year’s Autodesk. For the first time ever we are showing our new touch panels, our new touch monitor with Autodesk. So people can see that and see how they can really use the new technology. You can do ten fingers touch on the wall; you can do one hundred and fifty, one hundred and eighty finger touch. It’s very, very powerful.
The other thing that we are showing that is new since September is that we have our workstation cluster technology. You can actually cluster work stations together to maximize your power for things like analysis, things like rendering. So you can get a whole lot more power applied to those problems locally, just by leveraging unused cores that are available on your workstation.
So we have a lot of really cool things. We have our new printers. We are talking about E-print and share. It’s a free software where people can sign up for it, where you can print anywhere on the web. So you can be here in Los Vegas, and you can print back home if you wanted to. It’s really cool.
Sanjay: That’s a lot of information. If you don’t mind, let’s walk it one by one. Let’s start with the desktops. You said you have five different desktops, from low end to high end. If you can just give me some details and what is special about these products?
Tom: We have five desktops, The Z-210 small form factor, the Z-210 itself, which is a standard desktop tower. We have the Z-400, the Z-600, and the Z-800.
Depending on the power you need, you can scale up. At the high end, the Z-800, you can get two Intel Xeon processors, and up to a hundred and ninety two gigabytes of memory if you need that much. You can get up to a terabyte of storage if you need that much. So you can scale way up on these systems.
Or you can start very low, very inexpensive. The Z-210 small form factor is $600. So you can start at a very low price point if you are just doing standard auto-CAD 2d for instance. You can start at a low price point and get a certified system, all of our systems are tested with autodesk software. They’re certified. So you get a solution that will really work, and they all come with our tools.
The other thing, now in November, is that our remote graphic software, which allows people to access their workstation anywhere in the world and get the same performance that they might get in their desktop normally, that now comes free with all of our workstations. So we just announced that.
Now they also come with HP-performance advisor, which helps them set up their workstation correctly, and then monitors the application. You can monitor memory, you can monitor disk, you can monitor the network, you can monitor the processor, you can monitor the graphics. You can see if you have any bottlenecks. Two years from now you can check and see if you will have any bottlenecks and then improve upon it.
Sanjay: And this software is available both on the desktops and mobile workstations?
Tom: Right, and it’s free. Its part of what we ship.
Sanjay: So, now tell us about the mobile workstations.
Tom: So the mobile workstations are really awesome. So our mobile workstations, we test them to the new standard testing. So we do thirty drop tests from waist high. They have to run every time, and still run after we drop test them. Then we test them, by operating at twenty degrees Fahrenheit, and then up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. So you can be in freezing cold weather or out in the desert somewhere operating these things and they still will run.
We test them at much greater than that for non-operating. Then we put them through a very serious vibration and shakes. You can see this when you look at our design, you can see the strong hinges, the strong latches.
For the disk drive, we have a software that allows it to shutdown as soon as it senses some motion in any direction. It actually shuts off to protect the disc drive, so you don’t lose your disc drive.
This is a great advance, especially for architects, that just strides into a truck and runs out into a field somewhere. So it’s a great advance. We’re also showing our options on power: Our ten hour batteries, our very small power cords and power bricks that you can use for traveling instead of the big one that you usually need for a mobile work station. So we have a lot of options for people that we are showing.
Sanjay: That’s pretty nice, because I do have a HP laptop, and those are big power adapters. I would love to have a smaller power adapter.
Tom: Yeah, you should stop by, we have them there and you can see which ones you like and make sure that they would work for you.
Sanjay: You also mentioned that the mobile workstations can now be opened much more easily, and all the components are more easily accessible?
Tom: Yeah. So a really cool thing with our mobile work stations is if you were to flip it over to the back side; without any tools you could slide off the entire back. So you can access memory, you can access your desk drives, for instance. So if you wanted to replace something, it’s very easy to do.
So if you’re an IT professional it’s very simple to work on ours. You don’t have to send them out. You can just open them up and then replace things if you need to, or if you want to upgrade for instance, it’s very easy to do.
Sanjay: Now you also mentioned large format printers. So are these 36-inch? 42-inch?
Tom: Yeah, they are 42-inch, color, design jets. We’re showing our new design jets. We’re showing our dream color, which matches the screen to the printer. You know, perfect matching. You can calibrate and get exact matching. So anywhere in the world you can see it either on your print or on your monitor. So that is a technology we now have.
Sanjay: That is the True Color technology, correct?
Tom: The True Color Technology, yes.
Sanjay: For that you need a special monitor, right?
Tom: You need a dream color monitor. You can get that on a laptop, or you can get that on a regular monitor.
Sanjay: You mentioned you got all these multi-touch screens. Are they also true color, also tell us more about the multi-touch functionality.
Tom: Yeah. They’re multi-color. They’re multi touch. That’s the real difference there. It’s the touch technology that we all know and love with our tablets and our phones. We don’t use mice and it’s very easy to navigate. So now we are doing that on a 27 inch monitor for professionals; that you can use for designs and that you can use to manage. It’s much easier, you don’t need to go look for the mouse anymore, you can go right to the piece and move it. It’s a huge productivity change.
It would help with the large panels that people have in their offices. They do work with customers, so these very large panels can show multiple things. You can tie them together and have a storyboard approach to presentations. Or you can have multiple people working on the design on a single board. A lot of options are available to people.
Sanjay: Is the E-print share something new?
Tom: The E-print share is relatively new. We announced it earlier this year. We are showing it at autodesk for the first time. Once you sign up you have an account, which you load your prints to the cloud, excuse me, you can print them anywhere.
Sanjay: Is this available on all printers, or on only some of the printers?
Tom: Yeah, it’s available on all of our large-format printers.
Sanjay: So if I had one of these printers at home I could print something at home from here?
Tom: Yeah, we have that on the consumer side as well. You would need to have one of these printers at home. At home the printer would look for an e-mail address that you give it, and it would print.
You can take your Christmas pictures with your parents, and then print it out at your house.
Sanjay: That’s pretty awesome. How can people find out more about all of these new products, new workstations, new mobile workstations, and new printers?
Tom: So if you go to our website, www.hp.com/go/workstations. You can get right to our workstation page, and then you can find out a lot more about our workstations. It’s similar with our printers, www.hp.com/go/printers. You can get to our large-format printers.