Benefits of RIA for Product Lifecycle Management

riaI’d like to discuss RIA today. RIA – Rich Internet Applications are web applications that have most of the characteristics of desktop applications, typically delivered by way of standards based web browser plug-ins or independently via sandboxes or virtual machines. Examples of RIA frameworks include Curl, GWT , Adobe Flash/Adobe Flex/AIR, Java/JavaFX, uniPaaS, Mozilla’s XUL and Microsoft Silverlight.

Thinking about today’s modern technologies such as SOA, SaaS and development of PLM systems I see more and more advantages in complete encapsulation of user experience component from PLM business components. In such context, RIA can provide a good technological foundation to establish great user experience. And, in my view, user experience is one of the key factors for today’s PLM system user adoption.

So, what can be such benefits? I’d like to figure out top three and describe them in details.

1. Better data visualization.

A lot of information in PLM systems can be better understood in a graphical way (in comparison to normal boring web application). Spatial information, geo locations, 3D models, process visualization- this is the only short list of data that can be presented graphically to the user. RIA can be an excellent choice to improve UI in such cases.

2. Integration of data across multiple systems

The nature of PLM is to deal in multiple domains of data - requirements, design, engineering, support, customers. PLM systems today can provide a federated layer to manage information in other systems. However, it creates visualization challenges. Usage of RIA can simplify a way PLM will present information coming from different domains.

3. Mobile Access to Information

The nature of PLM is to deal in multiple domains of data - requirements, design, engineering, support, customers. PLM systems today can provide a federated layer to manage information in other systems. However, it creates visualization challenges. Usage of RIA can simplify a way PLM will present information coming from different domains.Today’s life is very dynamic and customer demand is to be able to access product-related information everywhere. Since RIA can seamlessly make data available on mobile devices, PLM can leverage it and expand PLM system usage and deployment in the organization for many additional tasks.

In addition, PLM deployment is heavily relying on services and customization. This is, in my view, additional reason why RIA is not in mainstream for PLM. RIA development is complicated and not always can be acceptable to service providers. PLM system can gain a significant advantage from the ability to support RIA and provide toolboxes for PLM system customization based on these tools.

Have you made any initial investment in RIA system learning? Do you plan to do it? Do you see any benefits?

Best, Oleg

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2 Responses to Benefits of RIA for Product Lifecycle Management

  1. Rick says:

    Great post, Oleg. One of the biggest barriers of adoption that I hear from design teams is the additional burden in having to have multiple tools with multiple UI’s. Typically, these tools don’t “work and play well with each other” (stealing a phrase from my old report cards as a child). A couple of decades ago, browsers were touted as a new way to accessing data from different sources from a single interface. Great idea. But it’s one that is now considered a bottleneck to designers. They want something better. They don’t want their tools and information in separate interfaces…they want an immersive environment where they don’t know where one tool ends and the next one begins. RIA can be that vehicle. I’ve seen some nice applications built in Eclipse RCE where CAD tools and browser information are combined. Very cool stuff.

  2. Rick, thanks for your comment. Back 10-15 years ago PDM integration with CAD (now we call it immersive integration) made revolution in the way designers work with data. Looks like we need to find something better now. RIA is one of the possible technologies to use. Best, Oleg

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