PLM: Mobile-Optimized Sites vs. Mobile Apps

January 24, 2012

For most non-technology-savvy people, the title of this post can sound like a joke. Mobile apps are trending today. App store, Android stores, Microsoft is planning to re-born Windows phone with future versions of Windows and mobile app. How it can die? Looking on this following graph from article (Apps user overtakes web) on Mashable last year, you can hardly predict something wrong may happen to mobile apps.

However, among technology people the discussion about apps vs. web is not unusual. Those of use, who stays long enough in the business, still remember multi-platform discussions of Unix vs. Windows. You can catch up on my previous post on this topic – PLM and Multi-platform development. I did catch the following picture on on the web polls (unfortunately lost the link). The context of the audience was development people. This is indeed important to mention. You can clearly see people are focusing the development on mobile-oriented sites.

Mobile-Optimized Sites vs. Mobile Apps

The development side of this story is simple. Mobile Apps is our back to multi-platform development. It cost additional money and requires more complicated development organization compared to mobile-optimized websites that can provide some pain relief. You can take a look on a good comparison of two strategies on devbridge blog. I believe, the discussion is on the way, and it is far from a final word. You certainly need to remember the right keyword for the future – HTML 5.You can read more about this on one of my older posts.

What is my conclusion? I’m going to make my conclusion specifically talking about PLM mobile apps. PLM vendors followed technological and consumer trends to develop mobile applications. It sounds as a very important strategy these days, which cause huge interest from companies, users, analysts and industry watchers. Taking into account the long development cycle of enterprise applications and speed of adoption in manufacturing domain, I think software companies better have been not only short – term, but some longer-term development strategy that will allow them to jump to the next trend when it comes. For the moment, let’s rock available PLM mobile apps on iTunes app store and Android Market. I’m certainly interested to hear what do you think. And if you’re developing PLM apps, I like to know what is your opinion. Speak your mind.

Best, Oleg

AU2011: New PLM Software Frontiers

November 30, 2011

Autodesk University 2011. Day 1. If you visited AU at least once you know how it looks like. Thousands people packed to talk about Autodesk software and beyond. When I’m still digesting Autodesk announcement about Nexus PLM, I wanted to share with you the my presentation during the AU Innovation forum: Everything Changes:

What is my conclusion? I don’t think Autodesk made a surprise by their decision to move into PLM business. Big announcements have a short lifecycle. I’m going to learn more about Autodesk Nexus PLM in coming days. I’m sure it will bring many new themes on my blog to discuss, and I’m looking forward to hearing your opinion.

Best, Oleg

PLM and Mobile Options

May 11, 2010

I think, mobile becomes more and more important every day. The amount of mobile devices surrounding us is growing. Today’s mobile devices are a powerful unit that can help us to handle many tasks when we are out of our desk. In my view, the decade of 2010s will change a lot in terms of mobile devices, environment, applications. I had chance to read a very summary by Lou Gallo about Mobile Engineering tools. Mobile revolution is going in two main directions – cool devices and services that available for multiple devices. I’m going to explore different options and opportunities, we have in this space.

Mobile Devices
You cannot be mobile without appropriated device. Recent introduction of Apple iPad is a game changer. Until now, mobile screen was a show stopper for many of us. I think it finally changed. I’m expecting new devices to come very soon. The connectivity, touch user interface and screen real estate will move innovation in this space.

Virtual Environments
It sounds like not completely related to “mobile” space. However, I see it an option to create my virtual environment and be connected to this virtual environment from every place. I see multiple directions of virtual environments. One of them is to replicate the overall environment you are running on your desktop to another desktop or mobile device. Another one is to make a granular access to the specific applications. The following video is an interesting demo of how possible to share multiple apps and use them remotely from iPad.

Cloud Applications
Cloud has a significant implication on the mobile option. Since application is not connected to the specific desktop environment, it opens the opportunity to use them everywhere. The simplest one is about sharing of your files and the content. I use the following two apps every day – Evernote and Dropbox. The idea is simple – you can use it every place and every device. Another example is the cloud application you can run on multiple devices. The best example is Google Apps or Microsoft Office apps online. The killer apps, in my view, for the engineering space will be Excel-like application.

PLM applications
I’m trying to figure out the right use cases for a mobile option in PLM. I think, granularity is a key here. In my view, we need to split our big systems into small pieces of services we can use when we need it. And mobility will be one of the drivers behind this process. I see multiple areas where PLM applications can be useful on different mobile devices – viewers, reporting applications, business process agents.

What is my conclusion today? Mobile options are growing. In my view, mobile is not about mobile phone or device. For me, the key point of a mobile option is about “deviceless”. We need to disconnect our applications from the particular devices and make it ubiquitous. The key problem I see with most of PLM modern PLM software is that granular access to the specific action actions and tasks is not always possible. We need to re-think our PLM apps in this dimension.

I’m looking forward to you sharing your mobile options and examples of PLM and engineering applications.
Best, Oleg


Who Can Generate 3D/PLM Content For Apple iPad?

January 28, 2010



Well, it happened. Apple stretched up iPhone in size, removed camera and phone features. So, we have iPad now. What does it mean for people that live design and manufacturing word? Below are some of my thoughts about that. Since, I haven’t had chance to keep it in my hands yet, I cannot say for sure. But it looks cool. Technical characteristics seem reasonable for device you don’t know exactly how to use. When all my work is on cloud/server/laptop, I don’t know what will be justification to have up to 64GB flash.

Let think about what is the possible implication for 3D/PLM world. This device is not for design. Absence of a camera creates some limitation for the application like 3DVIA Mobile and all other applications that want to merge physical and virtual life. This device is probably too expensive to be used on the shop-floor and manufacturing. Potentially, I can see iPad can be used instead of slim laptops, for reviews and by mobile users.

So, do you think iPad life in PLM will be limited? No, I don’t think so. The opportunity will come when we will start generating content that can be easy consumed by iPad. Today, most of the content in design and manufacturing is tuned for desktop computers – CAD and other design systems are desktop oriented, data management and process oriented systems are, for the best case web oriented. What should be done to make this change and make a content to be consumable on iPad?

Think Content
Let’s start thinking about content around us. Design, Simulations, Bill of Materials, Project reviews, Change requests. How to get this content on such a cool device like iPad? Content will be the major driver for people to start using it.

Think Cloud
Today most of the information is somehow located in our desktop applications. Even when we have the data management system (EDM, PDM…), these systems bring information to your desktop and this is becoming a place where we can consume it. We need to re-think it and move to the cloud (public, private… It doesn’t matter- just go away from desktop). In this case, we will start thinking about how to consume it on different devices according to our needs.

Think Mobile
The main benefit to be in the office is to speak with people – not to be connected to the network. You need to be able to connect to network anywhere and get content you are looking for.

So, what is my conclusion? There is a long way to go, but I think PLM needs to think about content. It will allow long life for IP, we generate with multiple devices. Devices will come and die, but content will be forever with companies that create it.

Just my thoughts.
Best, Oleg


What Will Be The Role of Mobile Applications in PLM?

January 20, 2010

Mobile is growing. For the last few years we had chance to see massive introduction of mobile user experience. In the place where before we’ve seen only mobile mails and messages, new mobile devices (especially iPhones) are leading to the complete experience and capabilities. I decided to share my thought about why, I think, new mobile experience will give a new opportunity to PLM?

What is the most problematic side of PLM? I think, this is mainstream user adoption in the organization. PLM perceived as a complex, not usable and mostly required for engineering organization. However, there are many opportunities that can be discovered by PLM if the decision will be to move it to be mobile.

Process Monitoring
Most of the process monitoring is going via email or alternative process management applications. In this context, the information that needs to be presented and/or reviewed is relatively simple and list oriented sets of data (list of the approval, dependencies, open ECOs, issues, etc.). To have an ability to monitor these activities via the mobile device can speed up processing and operation of engineering and manufacturing organization.

This is hugely undervalued activity by PLM applications, in my view. To have an ability to report, BOMs, ECOs, Drawings and other information are highly valuable. To have it handy on your mobile device, in my view, will be a great benefit.

This is a growing opportunity in my view. I’m sure you had chance to see 3DVIA Mobile. I think it opens an opportunity for new user experience that can be realized in both enterprise and consumer space. I already can image how digital imaging can be used to resolve some manufacturing shop floor situations as well as consumer experience with new products buying, customer support and some others.

Marketing and Sales
Last, but definitely not least. Mobile applications can provide an opportunity to present product features, promote some interesting product usages, provide guidance and troubleshooting.

What is my conclusion? The main point for tomorrow organization – it will become dynamic and mobile. You shouldn’t be on  your desk to need information and make a decision. So, PLM needs to think how to embrace mobile and improve PLM acceptance in the organization on this way.

Best, Oleg

PLM Prompt: Will PLM come to Android?

August 3, 2009

My short prompt for today. Two crossing messages

1- Google Inc plans to include support for business users in its Android operating system as soon as this year, pitting it against BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, a senior executive said [for more details here].

2-  Google CEO Eric Schmidt is resigning from Apple’s board of directors as the Internet search leader increasingly develops products that compete with Apple’s core businesses, including the popular iPhone.

My opinion we are going to see more Androids for enterprise and may be for PLM too? What is your view on this?


PLM Prompt: RIM vs. iPhone for PLM – where to go?

July 6, 2009

Short prompt. Reading interesting announcement – SAP and RIM Usher In a New Era for Enterprise Mobility. I think mobile is very promising. I had chance to mention it in few of previous posts.

Complexity Kills or Three Ways to Improve PLM Adoption

Connect Physical and Virtual World on iPhone?

SolidWorks eDrawings on iPhone

So, interesting question – what is the future of PLM for mobile devices from your standpoint?


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