Develop3D LIVE: The stage for “cloud CAD” competition

March 27, 2015


I attended Develop 3D Live yesterday in Warwick UK. It is probably the only vendor independent event focusing on CAD, 3D, design and engineering. It was my first time at Develop 3D Live. I think number of attendees was about 1’500 – 2’000 people at its peak time. All major CAD vendors presented at the event – Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, PTC and Siemens PLM. It was also first time public appearance for Onshape. The event was live streamed to U.S. time zones and had good twitter coverage at #D3DLive. You can follow the history of twitter stream here. I’m sure Develop3D will make recording available too.

Future CAD – #1 topic on the list

The future of CAD was the #1 topic on the list. The theme was set clear – cloud CAD. The agenda included keynotes from all CAD vendors – Carl Bass (Autodesk), Jon Hircshticsk (Onshape), Dan Staples (Siemens PLM), Gian Paolo Bassi (Dassault / SolidWorks), Brian Thompson (PTC) and the panel discussion (Future CAD) with Jon Hirschtick, Mike Payne, Kevin Schneider, Gian Paolo Bassi and Nikola Bozinovic ( / aka Mainframe2). Presentation, panel, off line conversation made me think about this interesting “cloud moment” in engineering software. I’ve heard it from many people during the event – it is a time to shake CAD industry again.

A new history of cloud CAD

I think, the first time time, word “cloud” was mentioned out loud by one of major CAD vendors was SolidWorks World 2010. That was the time when SolidWorks introduced SolidWorks cloud prototype, which worked in browser and on Mac OS. Here is the passage I captured from Cadalyst article back in 2010.

Next came the buzz-worthy preview of SolidWorks on the cloud (aka software as a service, or SaaS), wherein software is hosted on powerful server farms and users access it using an Internet browser. “This is designed not for flash, but to solve problems and make your life easier,” Ray said, adding that the technology has been in development for three years. Cloud computing overcomes the challenges of software installation and maintenance and, according to the company, keeps data secure. It is multi-platform by its very nature, meaning it is accessible to users regardless of operating system, and it can accommodate touch-based modeling and finger and pen interaction — that is, any wireless-connected device from anywhere could link the user to the full functionality of the 3D software

The period of time between 2010 and 2015 is a good demonstration of the speed of changes in engineering industry domain. It took long five years, lot of debates, many technological changes and here you go – cloud CAD became mainstream topic in the conference agenda. It still doesn’t mean the majority of CAD users are moving to the cloud. But the trend is clear – people are exploring the opportunity and potential of cloud CAD today. The reality – we are just scratching the beginning of a much bigger change of what cloud CAD will do to engineering and manufacturing software. The fun time is ahead.

Business and licensing model changes

Cloud is a topic that often brings confusion between technology and licensing. Cloud based business models are taking their roots back into ASP business (Application Service Provider) and, lately, to SaaS (Software as a Service). SaaS is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. It is sometimes referred to as “on-demand software”. The “hosting” element of SaaS is not required and you can provide subscriptions for the software installed on a desktop too.

Subscription based licensing popularity is growing in engineering and manufacturing software. Many of CAD and PLM vendors are shifting their licensing into “subscription only” these days. Although, licensing is very important, it is not specifically related to “cloud CAD” discussion in my view. There are many examples of software that delivered as installed application, but sold on subscription basis.


The discussion is heating up when it comes to cloud CAD and technologies. I want to mention some of them – data management, graphic, geometry modeling, browser, security, virtualization.

Data management is one of the key components of cloud CAD. Some of you can be surprised, but cloud CAD is coming first to solve PDM problems related to poor data management of CAD files – accessibility, locations, references, copies, sharing, versions, collaboration. To make it happen, cloud CAD should come with solid data foundation capable to manage data using modern database and cloud storage technologies.

Graphic systems. The debates here are going around how rich CAD graphic can be available on different devices – laptops and mobile devices. Remember, original CAD high performance workstations had impressive performance characteristics. Very often, CAD systems worked with dedicated graphic cards and specific memory requirements. How is it going to change? Time will show that.

Geometry modeling is important for CAD and in defines critical foundation characteristics. Interesting enough, this technology is not much in focus for the moment. I didn’t capture many discussions about that. It looks like CAD vendors are going to leverage existing geometrical kernels and will focus on geometric modeling later. Although, I can see some interesting potential to simplify migration from existing CAD systems to new cloud products using same geometric modelers. The most interesting one here is SolidWorks and SolidEdge to Onshape migration (all systems are sharing Parasolid kernel).

Browser. This is an important technological component to deliver cloud CAD. The debates “cloud vs. browser” are heating up. The ability of browser to run full CAD system is an interesting opportunity that cannot be underestimated. If browser will be capable to deliver full CAD functionality, it can become a big deal in removing entry barrier for customers. It is also connected to the discussion about “offline” use. Internet is still unreliable in some places and we are going to hear many debates how to get advantage of cloud CAD without internet access.

Security. This is “red herring” discussion. The topic of security is important, but it is equally important for non-CAD domains. Each group of customers will take their own path and speed in cloud adoption and security requirements will follow these groups.

Virtualization. This is an interesting technological topic. Especially, when it comes to the desktop. The potential to virtualize desktop and run all Windows applications “as is” on the cloud is inspiring many companies. It brings many other questions. One of them – do we really want to bring messy desktop experience to the cloud? I’d prefer to leave all file and data management problems behind and not to move it to the cloud. However, virtualization can be a greatest short term opportunity for cloud and CAD.

Cloud CAD: products and differentiations

I assume all CAD vendors are recognizing cloud as a trend, opportunity and change that is coming to the industry. Their strategies and reactions are different. Some of them are using cloud as a jump start to shake up the industry. On the conservative side, vendors accept cloud as a technology for new type of delivery models. Below, I put a short summary capturing position and reaction of CAD vendors on cloud CAD future as it was discussed during Develop3D Live.

Autodesk: Cloud is strategic direction for Autodesk. According to Autodesk, cloud is not a future, but reality Autodesk is living for the last five years. Autodesk developed many cloud products. Autodesk Fusion360 is a central part of cloud CAD offering. The focus of Fusion360 to provide support for design, engineering and manufacturing workflows by leveraging data and social collaboration.


Dassault Systems / SolidWorks: Cloud is a delivery technology for SolidWorks and Dassault. SolidWorks Industrial Design is a new cloud product for conceptual design. Cloud is part of a broader vision of 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which support a diverse set of design, engineering and manufacturing workflows.


Onshape: As a newcomer company, Onshape is laser focused on technological differentiators – pure browser and no installation required. PDM functions are included in core Onshape product and provide support for versions, branches, undo/redo and collaboration.


PTC: Unfortunately, I missed PTC session at Develop3D Live. In my view, PTC is slowly moving towards cloud. One of their last announcements was about new “cloud PLM” offerings. I also think, PTC was the last CAD vendor that said “cloud” word in public. I haven’t heard about anything related to “cloud CAD” from PTC. But maybe PTC is baking something for coming PTC Live conference .

Siemens PLM / SolidEdge: Cloud is clearly a delivery technology for SolidEdge. Recently announced cloud trial version of SolidEdge delivered using virtualization layer and it is complimentary to their cloud PLM IaaS strategies.


What is my conclusion? It is a time to shake CAD industry with cloud. I’ve heard this statement many times from attendees of Develop3D Live. It will be interesting to see the development of products and technologies for the next few years. For new vendors like Onshape (and maybe few others in stealth mode) it will be a race towards traction and customer adoption. Established CAD vendors can clearly leverage their existing customer base. It is much easier to preserve existing customers rather than sell to new ones. I’m sure we will see many interesting turns and new opportunities discovered on the road to cloud CAD. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Idea go at

Develop3D Live agenda: Cloud CAD, 3D printing and more

March 25, 2015


I’m in Warwick today getting prepared for Develop3D Live conference, which will be tomorrow. The full conference agenda is here. Develop3D will be live streaming main stage of the event to US – there registration link is here and information about scheduling.

The number of the bags and main stage session hall can give some indication about potential size of the event. Numbers will be tomorrow… I was reading through the conference agenda and decided to share some of my thoughts.

Cloud CAD is a main topic on the agenda

I got a feeling that cloud and more specifically “cloud CAD” will become the key topic for the conference. Keynotes from Carl Bass of Autodesk and Jon Hirschtick of Onshape in the morning is a clear indication about what will set a stage for Develop3D Live conference. Another two sessions from new SolidWorks CEO Jean-Paolo Bassi “What is next?” and “Trends, challenges and opportunities” in design and engineering by Dan Staples of Siemens PLM just an additional confirmation – CAD is the topic on the agenda. Frame (the new name Mainframe2) is also presentation on the same topic – Why CAD in the cloud is closer than you think?

Start-up business

It is unusual to see a whole track of agenda dedicated to building engineering and manufacturing startups. It includes presentation by Rob Misslebrook of Mylor Ventures about funding of projects and visionary sessions about new industrial revolution by Autodesk and Protoabs UK presenting about how to support manufacturing start-ups with manufacturing resources and advisory.

3D printing is around us

If your interest in 3D printing, you can spend a whole day on 3D printing / make track. It includes industry sessions, visionary and examples of companies using 3D printing in their business

What is my conclusion? No conclusion yet. Look forward to the event. The final session of the event – panel discussion about future of CAD. That should be interested. It is not clear yet who will attend that session. Stay tuned and follow #D3DLive on twitter tomorrow.

Best, Oleg

Few photos from Warwick this morning.






Is public cloud reshaping PLM landscape? Time to re-check…

March 6, 2015


The question how to implement PLM cloud is one of the most confusing when it comes to the decision about choosing one of available PLM solutions on the market today. The time when PLM vendors used "cloud" as a differentiation is over. Most of PLM vendors are comfortable with "cloud" word and the number of companies considering cloud as part of their PLM strategy is growing. How to decide what is the right cloud strategy for you? The dilemma of public vs private cloud is one of the most challenging for many companies.

My attention was caught by ReadWrite web article – You Think Private Clouds Are More Stable And Agile Than Public? Think Again. The article provides a set of good arguments for public cloud option. Here is my favorite passage:

Of course, your CIO’s job is only truly threatened by the public cloud if she chooses to fight it, or mindlessly continues to believe she can build a better cloud than Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. For 99.999% of enterprises, building your own cloud or data center may be a comforting way to stick with old habits, but it’s generally going to be the wrong decision. While there are certainly workloads that will perform better or need to be secured within the four walls of your firewall, the reality is that most infrastructure belongs in the cloud.

No, You Can’t. It’s a convenient fiction that public cloud is unreliable compared to private IT. But let’s be clear: it’s fiction, not fact. Here’s the reality on public cloud up-time: last year Amazon Web Services managed 99.9974% uptime despite hefty growth and unparalleled pressure on its infrastructure. Google was even better at 99.999% uptime. (Microsoft Azure performed a bit worse, though still quite well, according to the Cloud Harmony data.)

In lights of this article, I decided to make a check and see what cloud options are supported by different PLM vendors. Here is a short summary of my discovery (alphabetical order of vendors).

1- Aras PLM is supporting Azure public cloud and, in addition to that saying that Aras is capable to run on any cloud infrastructure (public and private). Here is the link to Aras website.

2- Arena Solutions is cloud solutions. There is no specific information on the website about public vs. private options. My assumption, Arena is public cloud.

3- Autodesk PLM360 is cloud only solution. There is no specific public vs. private information on PLM360 website. My assumption PLM360 is public cloud.

4- Dassault Systems announced to support all cloud options by 2015. See my blog about it. I cannot find a link to a specific cloud configuration available for the moment. The following link presents a list of ENOVIA on the cloud products.

5- Oracle Agile PLM is available via hosted environment. The link with more information is here via Oracle partners. I wasn’t able to find specific information about public vs. private cloud options. More information is here.

6- PTC PLM cloud is supporting both private and public cloud options as you can see it from PTC website. Here is the link, which presents PTC cloud portfolio stating private instance for both premium and enterprise cloud options.

7- SAP cloud applications website is not providing any link to PLM solutions. At the same time, SAP PLM website has zero references to cloud solutions.

8- Siemens PLM is supporting IaaS based cloud deployment. According to the information on the following link, TeamCenter is compatible with Amazon Web services and future support is planned for IBM and Microsoft clouds.

What is my conclusion? Most of PLM vendors are supporting public cloud. It is a real change and it just happened over the past 2-3 years. However, devil is in details. A specific architecture of cloud solution can make a difference. In the past, I put several articles discussing details of cloud technologies. The following link can be a good starting point to discuss definition of true cloud PLM solution. In a nutshell it comes to 4 things – available on demand, hosted, elastic, global access. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of ddpavumba at

Google Maps, Knowledge Graph and high-end PLM user experience

May 28, 2014

To present product information visually is not a simple tasks. It combines multiple domains of information – 3D model, design specification, material characteristics, simulation, etc. This is one of the most critical places to innovate for major CAD and PLM companies.

Few years ago I was writing about PLM visual reporting in CAD and PLM. I specifically mentioned two applications – Siemens HD-3D/PLM and Dassault 3D Live. I’m not sure if Siemens and Dassault marketing are still keeping the same names, but I can see both vendors are continuously developing the idea of information representation in HD-PLM and 3DEXPERIENCE. Recent announcement about Dassault 3DEXPERIENCE platform to stop using files and "link to data" is another confirmation about future merge of 3D CAD and other related data in a single environment using the same screen real estate.

Dassault Systems V6/3D Experience


Siemens PLM (HD-PLM)


My attention was caught by the information about Google Knowledge Graph (GKG) support by Google Maps. If you follow my blog, you probably had a chance to read about Google Knowledge Graph – Why PLM need to learn about Google Knowledge Graph?; PLM, Google Knowledge Graph and Future Decision Support and How PLM can join semantic enterprise graph?

On few screenshots below, you can see how GKG information about different objects can be accessed from Google Maps.

Object meta data on the map



Actionable data on the map (book hotel room & rate)


Additional contextual information about the object on the map


I found this information extremely interesting. Here is the thing. In my view, Google Map is one of the best applications on the web combining graphical map data with other information. The data is interconnected. Google Knowledge Graph information connected with Map information is presenting a very interesting experience when Map plays a role of contextual navigation tool to other data. At the same time, GKG info panels can provide an access to other information.

What is my conclusion? It is hard to visualize complex contextual information. I found lots of similarities between how Map and GKG data can be mixed together and the way 2D/3D information can be mixed with other product information (metadata, simulation, etc.) To use proven visualization paradigm can help to get fast user adoption. It will be interesting to see how high-end PLM user experience will evolve within time. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

What comes after PLM?

September 18, 2012

One of the questions, that was very popular in my childhood was about "life on Mars". Nowadays, thanks for NASA and Curiosity, this question became practically obsolete. Let me speak now about PLM. What if all questions about what is PLM, how companies can implement PLM and many others disappeared. Hard to believe, but let’s dream about it this situation :). Obviously, my next question is the following – "what comes after PLM?". You may think people are not asking this question. Actually, they do and I found few interesting opinions about what comes "after PLM".

Dassault and 3D Experience

According to Dassault System CEO and President, Bernard Charles, sees 3D experience as the next horizon that comes after PLM. Navigate to the following link to read “3D Experience is the next horizon after PLM”. Dassault is thinking about cloud computing, social networking, virtual reality and search-based analytics as a foundation of life after PLM. I found the following passage very interesting:

An iPhone is a winner because it provides a great experience that’s about more than a product. It’s about how you take advantage of any physical good and its contribution to how you run your business or conduct your life. 3D Experience is about doing that. It’s the next horizon after PLM. The fundamental value is about how we can offer our customers the ability to put the consumer or their customers at the center of the product creation pipeline in a holistic sense including design, engineering, simulation and production.

Interesting enough is how Charles defines the combination of social tools with a significant focus on cloud and user experience.

Supply Chain Execution

Another example is coming actually from a complete different space. NGC groups publish the report – Report from NGC:After PLM, What Comes Next? Perfecting Supply Chain Execution. Navigate to the following link to get a copy of the report (note – registration is required). The report includes case studies on VF Corp. and Landau Uniform; analyst insight from WhichPLM‘s Mark Harrop and Leslie Hand, Research Director, IDC Retail Insights; and a Q&A with Mark Burstein, president of sales, marketing and R&D, NGC Software. The main point of the report is that efficient SCM (Supply Chain Management system) provides the most logical step after PLM implementation. Here is my favorite passage:

PLM is a very important enterprise system, but its main focus is on product line planning and the subsequent development of the line until it is adopted. Global sourcing/SCM tools track and manage the movement of the physical product until it is delivered. SCM begins with distribution of the initial purchase order to the selected vendor, and then continues with tracking materials procurement, production work- in-process, quality audits and shipment logistics until the finished goods are received at the final destination.

What is my conclusion? PLM doesn’t live in isolation. PLM becoms more visible and important in organizations these days. There is a simple reason for that. PLM serves as a core system helping engineers and everybody in the coming to run product development processes. Vertical integration is important, therefore, connecting and expanding PLM system towards the supply chain is a possible strategic direction. Supply chain might have different priorities depending on the company and type of operation. Speaking about user experience, I believe it becomes more important these days, since the demand of people is driven by consumer websites and mobile applications. Just my thoughts. What is your take?

Best, Oleg

From Design Collaboration to CAD Social Tools

August 15, 2012

Social is a magic word many people use nowadays. After social networks “grand-success”, many people in PLM industry are thinking how to apply the power of “social” to improve existing PDM and PLM. The topic that asked by most of the people is how to improve collaboration by applying some of know best practice developed by social networking.

AutoCAD Design Feed

I’ve been reading announcement made by Autodesk about AutoCAD WS Design Feed. Navigate to the following blog post to learn more. I found it quite interesting. Discussion feed became very popular tool in social collaboration. We can see examples of discussion threads in tools like Facebook and Twitter. Similar tools (but in the context of enterprise and business) are available in tools like Yammer and, etc.

The idea of Design Feed is exactly that. Here is how it explained in AutoCAD WS Blog: Using the Design Feed you can attach a post to a specific point or area in your drawing to draw attention to a feature of your design and encourage discussion.

What I especially like in this tool is the idea of “context”. You can select a point of interest in the drawing such as entity or space area. Context makes the conversation powerful.

Design Collaboration Origins

“Collaboration” word is a tricky in PDM / PLM business. Companies really overused the purpose and meaning of what collaboration does. To me, collaboration was always the ability of people to work together. One of the earlier examples of design collaboration was presented by Dassault Systems in 3DLive back in 2006. Watch the following video for more details.

Pay attention how different people can collaborate on the context of 3D model. You can find a lot of similarities with “social discussion” tools.

“Design discussion” Origins

Another interesting example from the earlier days of social tools for CAD designers related to Vuuch. One of the early ideas of Vuuch is so-called design discussions or Facebook for files allowed to engineers and other people to create a “discussion” in the context of a specific CAD file. View Vuuch video that was made couple of years ago presenting this feature.

What is my conclusion? The value of marketing flyers and buzzwords is decreasing these days. It less matter to people how you call the tool. How to get a job done? Engineers and other people in a company are trying to answer to this question. I can see how social paradigm plays in collaborative and social tools. To provide context driven simple user experience seems to me a key. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


Sunblock Cream and PLM Acceptance Problem

August 5, 2012

plm-sun-block-spf-70-300x278.jpgI’m spending this weekend on Cape Cod with my family. When hiding from active afternoon sun, I stumble on blog post by Jos Voskuil (aka virtualdutchman) – Our brain blocks PLM acceptance. I recommend you this read. I found it fascinating. Jos is getting into detail analyses of PLM flaws led to the fact PLM is still not as popular as iPhone, Google, Facebook and, for the worst-case, ERP software. The following flaw was my favorite:

Flaw 4: Anchoring. Anchoring can be dangerous—particularly when it is a question of becoming anchored to the past. PLM has been anchored with being complex and expensive. Autodesk (Autodesk PLM 360) is trying to change the anchoring. Other PLM-like companies stop talking about PLM due to the anchoring and name what they do different: 3DExperience, Business Process Automation…

Living engineering software world for the last 15-20 years, I was enjoying Jos getting into variety of reasons why PLM is not approaching the level of acceptance PLM marketing people and some of PLM vendors want. "Anchoring to the past"idea is actually one, I think, PLM vendors need to be specifically focused on. The behavior of some PLM implementers and vendors sometime reminded the following formular – "When Plan A doesn’t work, go to Plan A”.

What is my conclusion? When trying to hide from unusually active Cape Cod sun, I was looking for sunblock cream – simple combination of pain-value. In my view, this is how PLM vendors need to start to behave nowadays. To have a solution that can help to engineers and other people in a company to get a job done. Easy. Well, actually not. The simplicity is hard. Just my thoughts..

Best, Oleg



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