Creativity in the Cloud

by Rana Gujral | Apr 18, 2014

When Cricut began the process of reinventing its software experience, we had an important choice to make. Should we develop a desktop-based solution? Or should we build a new, cloud-based experience that would allow users to design from anywhere in the world before cutting with their Cricut?

 

We chose to host the all-new Cricut Design Space in the cloud, and here’s why:

 

  1. Cricut Design Space provides us the speed and agility to respond to feedback and new requests from our passionate consumers. A cloud-based deployment of new software updates allows us to take over the customer’s burden of software installation, integration, and storage planning. We can deliver new experiences quickly and efficiently. This means that every time you visit Cricut Design Space the latest version is simply there for you! No new CD to buy! A cloud-based system ensures that Cricut Design Space stays modern and up-to-date with our consumer’s demands.

  2. Our consumers strongly value their content. They want easy access to their content from multiple devices, including mobile-friendly devices such as a laptop, tablet, smart phone or any other mobile innovation that might exist in the future. Security is actually increased when using cloud solutions. Cricut believes in and enforces strict data security standards to keep all of our consumer’s entitlements in a safe place where they are accessible at any time, from any device. No more worrying about lost laptops and lost entitlements. Natural disasters, property damage, or loss from theft don’t affect your investment with digital copies on Cricut’s servers. The cloud protects your Cricut purchases and, most importantly, what you create with them. Additionally, you can access your files from any device using the internet. This means you can show your niece, on her laptop, the original file you used to create her the perfect birthday card.

  3. The revolutionary pay-as-you-go subscription-based cloud implementation of Cricut Design Space requires a low initial investment and it provides an “easy-out” if our consumers find themselves desiring another option for Cricut content delivery.  Think of it like the Netflix for cutting files: you immediately have new content delivered for your use and enjoyment.

 

To use a cloud-based system, you must download active web-based browser plugins. These plugins need to be updated in order to access exciting new features as well as to allow the software to communicate with your physical machine. While the software will always be improving without you needing to do anything, we will occasionally prompt you to update the plugin. Thankfully, plugin updates are super easy! That is the best benefit we could think of for our valued Cricut consumers.

 

For these reasons and others, a cloud-based solution is the right choice for Cricut Design Space users. Creativity doesn’t wait! With the cloud, you can feel free to be as creative as you want with any image you need. With all of your Cricut files at your fingertips, with everything accessible in one place, you’ll never need to look through multiple handbooks or rely on a specific computer again. This is the creative freedom offered by Cricut Design Space!

22 Comments

  1. 1 Gloria Bennett 01 Oct
    I am considering a Explore for purchase in the near future. So far, it is not looking as promising as I'd hoped from reading all the comments. What I want to do is design my own designs and it seems from everyone here that it can't be done. Is this correct? Am I limited to just the designs from Circut?  If so, that is not a good thing.  I will appreciate hearing what I can do if I go ahead and spend the money for this machine.
  2. 2 Robert Fort 24 May
    I absolutely am in love with the Explore!  With that being said, I'm also growing bored of the older cartridges and the seemingly non-stop release of Anna Griffin carts that seem to all be the same.  I am wondering when there will be full cartridges with lots of images and when will we see some new licensed cartridges?  Thanks!
  3. 3 Abby Smudricks 19 May
    I am completely disappointed that I can only use my Cricut Explore while being connected to the internet!!I I completely agree with Claudia Henderson and Kristy GD "s comments earlier. I just tried for the second time this week to cut out cards which I need TOMORROW and now receive an "Application Failed to Start" error message.  I am seriously considering returning my Cricut as I do many projects and need availability of the software at ALL times.  FYI - it took me 3 tries to submit my comment due to issues with the webpage!!!!
    I too would like to see a software version so I can use my Cricut at anytime, without having to have an internet connection as this major inconvenience is a real deal breaker.
  4. 4 Tammy 30 Apr
    I agree with others that there needs to be a non-wifi solution for those times a wifi internet connection is not possible. My other comment is it took me a whole scrapbooking weekend to figure out how to use the Cricut Explore. It was very frustrating and I really could have used a step-by-step instruction manual. Now that I've figured out the basics I absolutely LOVE it but still pray that I will never have any wifi connection problems (especially on a scrapbooking weekend away from home) because that would be devastating.
  5. 5 Seth 23 Apr
    Provo Craft,

    Please listen to Kristy GD. These are all valid concerns from current and potential customers!

    Why not give your customers the best of both worlds? What do you have to lose?

  6. 6 Alisha 22 Apr
    Only bad thing if your computer crashes and you can't afford a new computer then your SOL! The other way you could still cut out with the cricut until you could get a new one.would be nice if it did both and you could  sync it with the computer every so often
  7. 7 Becky D 22 Apr
    When will the wifi adapter be available to purchase? I bought my explorer not knowing the wifi adapter wasn't available yet. I don't have a laptop and would like to be able to use my iPad with it when I'm away from home at a crop. 
  8. 8 Claudia Henderson 22 Apr
    I completely agree with Kristy GD "s comment from earlier. There are many things I like about the new Cricut Explore, but the internet connection only option for operating is a big draw back. Like mentioned before, not always is a internet connection available and I still would like to use my Cricut. Also, what happens when your server is down? Or you are doing work on the server? In any of these events I will not be able to use my Cricut because even so I have internet the server can't be reached. Since we all work on our projects on different days and times during a day it will make it sure difficult for you to provide 24/7 server access for every one. This simply means, if the server is out (for what ever reason) I can't work on my projects! You might say that the server will always run etc, but we all know how technology can fail once in a while. 
    I would like to see a software version so I can use my Cricut at anytime, without having to have an internet connection, just my computer. I sure hope you will come up with a software version so we can use the Cricut Explore without the internet at anytime.

     
  9. 9 Chiquita 21 Apr
    I am quite disappointed with the cloud-only software.  

    to offer a better and competitive experience, we should have ability to download software and have it sync'ed with cloud to avoid the inconveniece that web based limitations will cause and limit portability when wifi is not available or dependable.

    I give 9/10 on machine features like dual cartridges but a 4/10 on software choice.
  10. 10 Kristy GD 21 Apr
    I understand that there are benefits to having the cloud based software, but I feel that overall, the draw backs out weigh those benefits.  

    Of course, the major problem with needing to be always connected is that you are severely limiting your audience.  There are a large number of people that don't have access to the internet on a consistent basis (see Karen Lewis above), not to mention that users might be interested in using the Explore when at a crop meet up, on vacation, or one of many times when internet connection isn't a given.  Maybe even at a hotel during a conference to whip up some business cards!  (Not all hotels have free wifi.)

    You could also gain many of the benefits stated above without requiring a constant broadband connection to use the machine.  For me, that need for a constant connection is the number one problem.  I do own one, and there are things I love about it, so this isn't just coming from a theoretical place.  I'd like to respond to you point by point, if you will so allow, to provide a contrasting view point.

    1.  I feel like you're creating a problem where there isn't one here.  The plugin still needs to be installed and updated.  True, you can do smaller updates without bothering the user, but the need to update is still there.  And if the software is written properly, the install shouldn't really impact the user.  I can imagine that writing something which is browser compatible instead of software compatible might create fewer compatibility issues that you have to deal with, but I'm not certain about that.  At the very least, your tech support would know exactly which version the user is using (since it's impossible that they would have any other version).  However, there are times when I prefer to be using a previous version, such as stability.

    2.  As a user who strongly values my content, I also value the ability to make my own backups and access that content anywhere (including when I don't have internet).  I almost feel as if you're telling me that you don't trust me to take care of my things, and so you will do it for me.

    Why not offer a service like OneDrive instead?  The folder is synced online, so the security and backup is there, and it's associated with the program.  So, when I save a word document, it's saved and backed up online, but I can also back it up on a separate hard drive if I wanted. 

    And let's look at what's happened with places like Amazon, where books which have been purchased for the kindle have been removed from users' libraries.  Without the option to back up the files myself, I have no guarantee that you won't do that as well.  You might say you won't, and I might believe you, but then again, I believed Amazon when they said that.

    Finally on this point, what happens when the server is overloaded?  Let's look at the the EA SimCity debacle for this one.  When SimCity 5 debuted, it had an "always on" requirement to check that it was a valid licence.  However, the server couldn't handle the load and the company began shutting down portions of the game to try and alleviate the problem for the first few weeks.  EA has since decided to remove that requirement from their new release of Sims 4.  There are plenty of reasons a server might overload, and when you're talking about using a physical machine, the potential for this is troubling.  

    3.  I really don't have anything particularly negative to say here.  I think it's a good system, and the fact that you can also purchase designs individually works well for users who want to invest in different ways.  Bravo.

    While I appreciate that it would be a lot of work, I implore you to consider a two pronged approach, where you have an offline component as well as an online component.  The online component could be constantly improving, and then whenever there is a major update it could be deployed to the offline version.  This would alleviate the concerns of folk who have unreliable internet connections or simply want to use their machines at group crops or even bring them on a crafting vacation.

    As stated above, you could use a cloud system for storage that also works offline, providing the storage benefits you outline above while still allowing access to our files and designs offline.  Sure, you wouldn't have access to the store items you haven't purchased when you're offline, but that's a drawback for working offline that the user needs to accept.

    There are many things I love about the new Cricut Explore.  I sincerely hope that you continue to do great things with it, but also that you take into consideration some of the valid concerns that people have about the implementation of the web app.  Thank you for making a great product, explaining your reasoning, and listening to our concerns.
  11. 11 Beth 21 Apr
    Wow!  Awesome! I can now "show my niece, on her laptop, the original file I used to create her the perfect birthday card."  Well, even if my niece really cares about STEM, which I hope she does, I don't think she is going to care to see the original file so much to justify making this cloud based.  Especially when it means I can't take my niece to a crop night where the is no wifi and use the Cricut! Seriously.
  12. 12 Karen Lewis 21 Apr
    I own a Silhouette Cameo only because it was similar to the Stika machine I own and the software from Silhouette allowed me to see if it would be comparable to the Stika software.  That being said, a friend introduced me to her Cricut machine many years ago.  I had not realized that there was such a thing out there that was similar to what I was used to using so when I heard about the newest machine from you, and all the attention it was getting, I started  paying more attention to what you all were up to.  I am so sorry that you have decided to limit your software to the cloud.  I love using the cloud but what I cannot love is that being a person who lives in a hilly rural area, my internet service is sketchy at best therefore not enabling me to even begin to think of owning your new machine or contemplate making designs that might take hours to make and then lose them when trying to save them to the cloud.
    Sorry, but I'm out.
  13. 13 caliana 21 Apr
    I loved Cricut Craft Room.. It was easy to use.  I didn't like that I couldn't cut my own images and happy that the Cricut Design Studio allows us to do so.. but I'm having difficulty learning the new software and miss a lot of the features that were offered in CCR.  Especially the editing features.  I also have the Gypsy but I never use it because the screen is so small and my vision is so bad.  Even with glasses/contacts it gives me a head ache.  It was a large investment that is rarely used. I love working on the PC but unless you carry your own hotspot you don't always have access to internet on the road.  And a lot of places don't offer free internet.  I want to be able to work off line also.  PLEASE!!!!!
  14. 14 Cindy Hayes 21 Apr
    I have been with Cricut since day one.I have everything you have ever made. I like the search feature on DS. I DO NOT LIKE THAT I cannot use files from gypsy, ccr, or design studio. I hate that I am tied to internet and cannot cut with imagine cartridges. People ran from cricut to silhouette looking for freedom. Freedom to cut files without cartridges, without internet. Freedom to use other companies like SCAL with their software. PC has made some small advances with DS. We can use SVG and other files, but only with internet. We are chained to internet. All other PC devices are left out. 
  15. 15 Veronica 21 Apr
    I only own a Cricut Expression. Can I use the Cricut Design Space and cut what I create using my Expression?
  16. 16 Sherry Englebrecht 21 Apr
    I love my new Cricut Explore. I have just been a cricut user for 6 months before the new explore came out. My sister gifted her Cricut Expression to me. I did not like having to purchase cartridges in order to make things. I like being creative and designing my own stuff which I can now do with the explore. I would not have stayed with cricut had you not came out with the Explore. I am looking forward to the app for my Ipad so I can use it to design with. The gypsy was ok but is no where near what the app for the Ipad will be. Please hurry and release it. Thank You for my Explore
  17. 17 Amanda 21 Apr
    I'm excited for the new direction Cricut is taking! I didn't purchase a Cricut until about 2-3 years ago when I bought my E2 because I was not a fan of the idea of being limited to purchasing cartridges which were still $60-80 at the time. There were times that I was sad I didn't have the ability to cut whatever I wanted when other machines out there could. I also ended up purchasing a gypsy because changing the cartridges was an extra hassle and Craft Room never seemed to work very well (at least on my Mac). As time went on I found myself using my Cricut less and less because of stumbling over devices and interfaces.  When I heard a new machine was being released I was hesitant. In the past there had been a lot of promises without a lot of follow through. After reading many blogs and hearing how the company has changed (new CEO and all) I'm optimistic that they're headed in the right direction. Before I finally decided on purchasing an Explore, I also watched ALL the videos on Cricut's YouTube page about the machine and Design Studio. I also played around in DS and was BLOWN AWAY! It is leaps and bounds beyond what CCR and the Gypsy were ever capable of. I can't wait to get my hands on my new Explore and see what it and Cricut has in store for the future.
  18. 18 Phyllis Thomas 21 Apr

    PAx5f8f3I think it would be nice to have a handbook to explain procedures step by step for different usage. I have the Circuit original and Expression and find them must more convenient and easy to use than the Imagine. The Imagine has been a challenge for me.

     

  19. 19 Jennifer Ford 21 Apr
    And I some what agree with Debbie about you abandoning loyal customers with this "move forward" I cant use any of my current stuff with my new machine (other than upload to Design studio) and while I have a little netbook I CAN take with me what about places that DO NOT have internet wifi? some of us are croppers that take our machines with us. My iPad has 3g built in so Im not so out in the dark IF you come through on the app and bluetooth. But like that lady I love my Gypsy and the ability to use it on my machine instead of a computer.  I have had my machine for almost 4 years! why cut us loyals off?
  20. 20 Jennifer Ford 21 Apr
    Is there any kind of update for the bluetooth adapter? Or when the tablet based apps and connections will be available? I love my new explore and I havent even used it yet but i would love the ability to take my iPad instead of a laptop with my new cricut. Please update us on that aspect! Thanks!
  21. 21 Debbie Baker 21 Apr
    I'm sorry but I am not as excited about this change.  I currently own a Cricut original, Cricut Expression, Imagine, Gypsy and a couple hundred cartridges.  First I am upset that you have totally abandoned the Imagine.  No more new cartridges for that machine.  I have been a loyal customer from the beginning of time and feel that I have been kicked to the curb.  I love my Gypsy and it also allows me to work from where ever I am.  I don't like the fact that I would be tied to my computer with the new system.  When my internet connection goes down so does my machine.  Not the case with my machines now.  Anyway, just a few thoughts of the new progress Cricut is making.......not sure its progress in my opinion.  I think when my machines quit working including my Gypsy, I will find another machine that will serve my purposes and it will not be anything Cricut, sadly :(
  22. 22 Carol Sue Jones 20 Apr
    I'm excited to get started with my new monthly subscription to the many available designs! What a great idea to offer this on a monthly subscription. Thanks!

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