SAN DIEGO – Two years after it was teased at a series of worldwide seminars with key customers and media, Altium’s cloud platform for PCB design has begun to reach the potential the ECAD company promised.

The latest update to Altium 365 now allows collaboration among PCB designers, mechanical designers, part suppliers and manufacturers. And Altium 365 provides a built-in co-designer capability that provides native integration with a trio of MCAD platforms: PTC Creo, Dassault SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor.

According to Leigh Gawne, chief software architect, 365 provides a “full-on collaboration in that actual PCBs and components can be changed. The MCAD user can place and move an electrical part, define the PCB, and push the (update) to the PCB engineer.”

“ECAD has really been confined to a desktop. With Altium 365, we are taking it off the desktop. Anyone with a web browser is now able to view and interact and collaborate on these designs. For those who want to open a schematic and cross-probe to a net on a PCB or a component in a 3-D rendering of the board, it doesn’t require this heavyweight software to be installed. For people who want to consume and inspect and interact, this is possible anywhere, on any device, just through a browser.”

The latest rev leverages one of the great advantages of the cloud: ease of widespread access to a common file. It allows sharing, visualizing, and mark-ups of printed circuit board designs across a wide number of users. The latest version is known as Altium 365 Standard and is available to all subscribers. 

What does this mean for the Concord Pro release -- Altium’s component management environment -- from last October? That will become known as Altium 365 Pro, according to Gawne, and subscribers can upgrade from 365 Standard at any time.  The distinction is that 365 Standard supports collaboration and sharing, while 365 Pro accesses component data in real-time including lifecycle status from IHS Markit and pricing and availability from the Altium subsidiary Octopart. The data include “where used” for components, component templates, and parts alternatives. 

Altium 365 Pro will be synonymous with Concord Pro, Gawne said.

Another advantage, Gawne says, is accessibility: Designs can now be viewed via any internet-enabled device, such as a phone, expediting snap reviews where launching a PC might be cumbersome.

Altium 365 is functional with the latest version of Altium’s PCB design tool, Designer 20, and the previous rev, Designer 19. Valid Altium Designer subscribers have access to the range of features for Altium 365. There is no charge to view a design through the 365 browser, however.

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