S'pore clean tech firms offered help to expedite design phase

Autodesk offers substantial software discount in new initiative, targeted at Singapore's clean technology startups, which aims to help these companies more rapidly design prototypes, says company exec.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Local entrepreneurs and startups in clean technology are being offered a substantial discount Autodesk's prototyping software, as part of a program the software company has introduced here to help speed up their design phase.

Targeted at local startups and entrepreneurs specializing in the clean tech industry, the program allows the software company's clean tech partners to purchase up to five licenses for five of its software--Autodesk Product Design Suite Ultimate, Autodesk Vault Professional, Autodesk Simulation Mechanical, Autodesk Inventor Publisher and AutoCAD Revit Architecture Suite--at US$50. These products have a total market value of US$150,000, said Susan Gladwin, senior global program manager.

Speaking to ZDNet Asia in an interview Thursday, the Autodesk executive was in town to launch the company's Clean Tech Partner Program here, making the island-state the second Asia-Pacific market after Japan to be involved in the initiative. The program was launched in the United States in July 2009.

The software available under the program focus on the digital prototyping process. "The idea is to enable startups to innovate, and save time and money right away," Gladwin said.

She noted that 80 percent of a product's impact is determined in its design phase so "more thoughtful designs will lead to a much better change".

Joachim Layes, Asia-Pacific head of clean tech business development at Autodesk, added that startups usually do not have software tools so they rely on outsourcing partners to produce physical prototypes. Sometimes, these companies would need to take "10 to 15 prototypes" before they can get it right, Layes added.

Thus, prototyping in a virtual environment is significantly more efficient and saves time and material costs, he said.

One early local partner, Greenlots, shared how it benefited from such software. Oliver Risse, managing director for the Singapore-based company which builds charging systems for green vehicles, said: "Before we met with Autodesk, we did everything by hand--cutting paper and talking to third-party vendor [to build prototypes]--which was a lot of pain."

Under the Clean Tech program, Risse said Greenlots now has access to professional design tools which it previously could not afford. The software allowed the company to do rapid prototyping as well as communicate better by presenting visualization of prototypes, he said.

"If you create something new, you have to show people what it is [through visualization]. Nobody believes only words," said Risse.

Editorial standards