3D/PLM and iPad: Future or Baloney?

January 29, 2011

I just discovered one interesting fact. Exactly, a year ago, on Jan 28th, I published my first blog post about iPad – Who can generate 3D/PLM content for iPad? A year passed since that time. In addition, earlier this week I wrote about SolidWorks n!Fuze. n!Fuze is a new collaborative cloud application from Dassault SolidWorks Corp. An update from SolidWorks World 3rd day- SolidWorks is planning to make n!Fuze iPad application available later this year.

iPad Apps Gold Rush

The number of mobile and specifically iPad apps is growing. Below I put few links on videos presenting some of the most notable applications I had a chance to see for the last months. Autodesk and Dassault made iPad apps part of their portfolios. Siemens PLM relies on the partner to provide iPad app. PTC announced the mobile version of PTC Arbotext. Aras also worked with partner Porchys to provide a mobile version of Aras Innovator. However, I haven’t seen iPad apps on their list. In addition, I wanted to specially noted CADFaster collaborative app for iPad. I’m sure this list of iPad apps is not exhaustive. Send me links to 3D/PLM iPad apps as well as other iPad apps that relevant in the context of engineering and manufacturing.

AutoCAD WS

DS 3DVia Mobile

Autodesk Inventor Publisher

SolidWorks n!Fuze

SolidWorks n!Fuze iPad app first look from Solidsmack on Vimeo.

Arbotext Service Information Solution

TeamCenter on iPad

CADFaster

Mobile Becomes a New Laptop

A decade ago, laptops provided a first step in the mobility. Today laptops are displacing desktops not only on engineering desks, but also for kids and everyday home computer. I bought my last desktop 4 years ago. Today, laptops become too heavy to hold and carry. iPad is a proper size, and most of the people prefer iPad-size-like-device or even smaller iPhone or Android device. According to numbers of iPass Mobile Workforce Report 2010, 27.4% of people think iPad can replace laptop for general business use. The same report predicts rise of mobilocracy with corporates globally.

What is my conclusion? iPad and “new tablets” are creating a new device niche. New iPad apps provide us capabilities and user experience we have never seen before. It will take few more years until iPad gold rush will be transformed into valuable business apps, but I definitely can see some of them becomes a reality in Engineering and Manufacturing world. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


3D, Games and Product Development

January 27, 2011

Almost two years ago, I published the following post – Virtual World: Where is the boarder between game and PLM software? Gaming technology is developing very fast. Today’s games open lots of opportunities to improve existing design and engineering software, as well as to develop a new class of application. This week, during SolidWorks World 2011 in San Antonio, Dassault and SolidWorks presented a new product – Post3D, part of 3DVia brand portfolio.

The idea of this application is to allow multiple users to participate in a product review in a virtual way. You can take a brief look on what Dassault means by that on the following video:

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Virtual Collaboration – Community and Game

I found the idea of Post3D inspiring. There are few straightforward issues with Post3D – the ability to load 3D models and review them. My hunch, there is something beyond that. The main point is the ability to communicate in a different way. In addition such type of software can release product from 3D CAD boundaries. By using game-like technologies, in the future, you’ll be able to share and use 3D data beyond the point of creation in CAD system. The ability to interact in 3D is one of the key aspects in a vision of Dassault’s CEO Bernard Charles. In the next longer video, you can see Dassault’s Charles personally demonstrating the new virtual showroom together with his colleagues during SolidWorks world.

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What is my conclusion? I can see Game Technologies as a clear trend in a future of design and product development. Games develop a new way to interact. When I watch my kids playing Kinect, I can see a huge potential Gaming technology will bring later into PLM space. However, the learning curve can be tough for non-GenY folks. It will be interesting to see the adoption curve of such visionary tools. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


SolidWorks n!Fuze: The Cloud Remake of PLM Collaboration?

January 26, 2011

This week SolidWorks presents the new product SolidWorks n!Fuze. The actual presentation didn’t happen yet. Today is the 3rd day of SolidWorks World. The 3rd dayGeneral Session is usually devoted to Product presentations. After that, I’m going to join the press conference with executive management of DS SolidWorks Corp. So, I hope to learn more about SolidWorks n!Fuze. What I learned so far was from SolidWorks Blog, my conversation with Rich Allen of SolidWorks and demo I’ve seen in the exhibition hall.

n!Fuze- First Impression

SolidWorks n!Fuze is a product that helps engineers to share SolidWorks data. What I specially like is the simplicity of user experience as well as the integration inside of the main user interface of SolidWorks. It means an engineer don’t need to leave SolidWorks to share data with somebody else. The core principle of n!Fuze data sharing relies on the ability to create Workspace and share data inside of this workspace. You can upload and download files from the Workspace. Basic revision mechanism allows you to provide an update to file in a workspace. Changes will be tracked using some characteristics. SolidWorks people in the exhibition hall explained me that n!Fuze can use multiple criteria, including last save date to manage versions. Earlier, I learned that version mechanism planned in n!Fuze will be very simple and not supposed to cover all possible options available in Enterprise PDM. The interesting functionality I noted in n!Fuze is the ability to leave comments about files and read the full chain of comments. This functionality reminded me DS 3DLive chat and some elements of Windchill SocialLink. If I’d use modern slang, it can be considered as “social feature”.

In addition, to the n!Fuze functionality embedded in SolidWorks, there is a separate web application. This application allows you to navigate, comment and download files. It surprised me that I cannot upload files directly from web interface, and I need to have the SolidWorks Application to load files into n!Fuze.

SolidWorks n!Fuze and Enovia V6

The important thing you learn is that n!Fuze is the first SolidWorks product using Enovia V6 functionality. Enovia foundation or server is hosted (I assume somewhere on the cloud) and support everything n!Fuze is doing. My hunch we’ll see more SolidWorks data management application using the Enovia V6 infrastructure. On the last year SolidWorks World I learned that future PDM products such as Enterprise PDM will be shifted to use Enovia V6 platform as well. You can see another sign of shared Dassault infrastructure on n!Fuze web application – swym.3ds.com beta 2011 sign on the bottom of the slide.

n!Fuze and SolidWorks Labs

SolidWorks Labs activity was a bit slow during the last year. However, I notices the use of SolidWorks Labs TreeHouse 2application embedded into the functionality of n!Fuze. This is a good confirmation of a collaboration between Labs and SolidWorks R&D.

n!Fuze and Collaboration

In my view, n!Fuze is introducing a fresh look on PLM and collaboration. On one side, it does not create something significantly new. The concepts of file sharing remain the same for the last 10-15 years. I can see similar collaborative functionality is available in portfolios of other PLM vendors as well as in old portfolios of Dassault System’s PDM products. However, slick user interface, integration into SolidWorks and social features like discussion give a new trajectory to this type of application.

What is my conclusion? The collaboration topic in PLM is still a place where we will see lots of innovations. The attempt to remake some old concepts to a new reality is a good sign in my view. I can see “cloud” concepts, focus on usability and introducing of social elements as right steps toward converting n!Fuze into something useful. However, I have to note that some functionality of n!Fuze will create an overlap with existing Enterprise PDM features. Users have a tendency to push the limits of product can do from the functional standpoint, and I can see people can use n!Fuze as a basic PDM on the cloud. Just my thought…

Best, Oleg


CAD, PLM and End of Microsoft Dominance

January 25, 2011

Last week, during PLM Innovation Congress in London, I talked about future trends in PLM and engineering software. If you missed my presentation there, navigate your browser to the following link to see my presentation. One of the trends I mentioned is the end of Microsoft’s dominance.

This week, on SolidWorks World 2011, I’ve got additional confirmations about future decline in Microsoft dominance and return to multi-platform realities. I decided to pull few examples of recent news and companies announcements related to that and confirming this trend. This is, of course, not a exhaustive list of examples, and I can see many others in this space. I will continue to follow them and share with you in the future.

SolidWorks

A year ago, SolidWorks introduced the strategy of multi-platforms. The demo made last year on SolidWorks world presented some technological development that will position future SolidWorks products to be delivered not only on Wintop, but also on Mac, multiple browsers as well as mobile devices. Yesterday, on SolidWorks World 2011, new SolidWorks CEO, Bertrand Sicot, confirmed the vision by re-assuring SolidWorks availability on multiple platforms.

At the same time, Bertrand confirmed that desktop version of SolidWorks will remain available practically forever. In this context, I’d like also to quote SolidWorks co-founder, Jon Hirschtick that mentioned yesterday in one of his interviews: “The shift to Windows is nothing compared to the shift that we are going through now.”

PTC Creo

The development PTC is doing around the new Creo Applications, and platforms raised multiple questions about availability of Creo Apps for platforms different from Windows. Just to remind you, PTC started in 1980s as CAD system on Unix workstations and only later in 1990s, after huge SolidWorks success, followed Wintop strategy by introducing Pro-E on Windows platform. I found a short video. Mike Campbell of PTC is talking about availability of Creo Apps on non-Microsoft platforms.

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According to Campbell, there are going to be specific Creo Apps that will be tailored to Mac users.

Autodesk

Autodesk historically has a record of AutoCAD availability on non Mac. However, in late 1990s and beginning of 2000s, Autodesk discontinued the product availability on Mac. Recently, Autodesk made a significant investment in the introduction of new products on Mac and iOS mobile platforms.

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What is my conclusion? The development of multi-platform application is a tough work that requires additional resources of vendors. However, time is about to change and vendors are responding to the reality of the software and hardware platforms. I think, we are going to see growing appearance of CAD and PLM software on non-Microsoft platforms soon. I will be a very interesting change, in my view. Just my thoughts, of course….

Best, Oleg


SolidWorks: From Files To PLM?

January 24, 2011

SolidWorks World 2011 is about to start, and I’m preparing to learn about what SolidWorks and partners are up to this year. I will take a special look this year on different aspects of SolidWorks data management – from Files to PDM / PLM solutions.

What is presented?

As part of my preparation for SolidWorks World, I counted about 22 sessions in the section of Data Management. The sub-sections are Enterprise Data Management, Personal File Management and Team Management. The large number of sessions are focusing on different aspects deployment, implementations and functions of SolidWorks Enterprise PDM. This is clearly the mainstream system for SolidWorks today. In addition to that, I found few interesting sessions presenting new solutions and approaches coming from SolidWorks – Experience Web-Based Data Sharing by Dan Burmenko and Data Management on the Cloud by Rich Allen. I hope to join these sessions and share my thoughts about what I learned.

Partners Pavilion?

There are 15 companies demonstration solution on SolidWorks World related to management of SolidWorks files and different aspects of data management. Navigate your browser on the following link. There are two categories of companies – Data Management and PDM/PLM. The differentiation is not clear to me. I can see companies in Data Management categories as service providers (Razorleaf and Zero-Wait State). On the other side companies like Infor and360 Enterprise Software are providing wider scope of enterprise solutions – from PDM/PLM to ERP. Separate section about PDM/PLM is presenting 11 companies (including Dassault Systems and Dassault SolidWorks Corp.) providing different data management solutions for SolidWorks customers. Most of the names are well known in this list – Softech Inc., MechWorks, KeyTech. Cideon is coming with the solution oriented on SAP customers. Synergis presents their Adept system. Aras presents Enterprise Open Source PLM, which is according to their booth "compliment and extend Enterprise PDM". I hope to learn about this "complimenting EPDM" later today during my one-to-one meeting with Aras’ CEO Peter Schroer.

SolidWorks and Enovia V6

I didn’t find any mentioning of Enovia V6 in presentations. Dassault Systems is presented by separate booth where I found demos of Enovia V6 and examples of how Enovia manages SolidWorks data. It will be interesting to see how Enovia solutions and technologies will evolve to provide broader support to the future of SolidWorks data management products.

What is my conclusion? The most important question, in my view, is where SolidWorks / Dassault will be going from the current status quo towards the V6 based systems. Current systems, such as Enterprise PDM and some others are very mature and well developed from the standpoint of user experience and customer needs. Future Dassault and SolidWorks decisions will influence all other players providing solutions for File Management, PDM and PLM in the future. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PLM: Share Data or Die

January 22, 2011

I’m still digesting a huge amount of information I learned from PLM Innovation Congress earlier this week in London. However, there is one trend that I can identify that struck me as a major one coming across all presentations and talks. I can call it “integrate and share” trend. The problem of integration and share of data is not new in manufacturing organization. The need for integration of various elements of data for product development, manufacturing and supply chain is clear. Software vendors and customers are working for on this for years. However, something new happens now that allow me to have a fresh look on this.

Integration Processes

The sound of integration needs is very loud, and you are able to see it in presentations. I put few examples of pictures I made during the event to show how customers explain their critical business issues related to integration of data and processes in organizations. In a nutshell, inability to provide smooth integration prevents streamlining of organizational processes. It appears in communication between engineering and manufacturing, sales and production, support and sales.

Share Data

The need to share data is obvious. However, data sharing was never realized in an easy way. There are multiple reasons for that. Some of them are including the nature of people (keep my data close to me), company organization (departments, hierarchy, etc.) and competition between vendors (lock-in data inside of proprietary formats and data structures). At the same the value of data sharing is obvious. Organizations are losing money, projects are going out of schedules just because of that. PLM aimed to solve this problem during the past decade. I have to note a significant success in multiple implementations I had a chance to see. I personally participated in some of them. However, the ability to share data efficiently is still more science that ordinary process.

What is my conclusion? The need to integrate and share data is urgent. However, the way organizations are doing it, reminds me space shuttle programs. There is a need to downgrade and simplify these integration efforts to become more similar to transatlantic flights or even car trips. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PLM Innovaton 2011: Short Summary and Hashtag Album

January 21, 2011

During last two days I’ve been busy attending PLM Innovation Congress 2011 in London. This is a short statistic of the event: 200+ attendees, two full days of presentations and networking, about 25 sessions and presentations about about PLM and beyond. Take a look on the actual program of the congress.

There are few things that made me feel excited during these days. First and most important – the majority of presentations on the even were delivered by customers and not vendors. I’d like to note excellent use cases that exposed positive elements of implementations and mentioned real pain points customers experienced during PLM implementations. The second – I found this event very balanced in terms of proportion of presentations and networking. Multiple long networking sessions allowed to attendees to spend time in discussing presentations and other topics.

I had a chance to experiment with live twittering from this event. I hope you had a chance to listen to PLM Innovation tweet stream on #plminnovation2011. I found a very interesting website hashalbum, which allows to aggregate photos coming from a particular hashtag. So you can enjoy collections of twitted photos from PLM Innovation event. Navigate you browser on the following link to view them.

What is my conclusion? If I’d like to think about single message provided by event attendees, I’d like to say – PLM: Simple and Easy. However, at the same time, I haven’t heard a specific recipes how to do it. Some people mentioned Excel as a vehicle to this success. My take on this – in 2010s, PLM probably will looks different compared to the previous decade. Just my opinion…

Best, Oleg


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