PLM Data Tagging Is Getting Some Traction

October 3, 2013

tagging-plm-data

Tagging is one of the most popular ways to classify information. Tagging became a mainstream way to classify information in almost every web application these days. Initially introduced on photo sharing websites, tagging expanded almost everywhere. Tagging is an important feature of every "Web 2.0" solution. You can read more on wikipedia here. Here is snippet of definition.

Labeling and tagging are carried out to perform functions such as aiding in classification, marking ownership, noting boundaries, and indicating online identity. They may take the form of words, images, or other identifying marks. An analogous example of tags in the physical world is museum object tagging. In the organization of information and objects, the use of textual keywords as part of identification and classification long predates computers. However, computer based searching made the use of keywords a rapid way of exploring records.

I can divide tagging solution into two separate groups – automatic (machine) tagging and user-driven or collaborative tagging. The second one became popular on the web and called "folksonomy". Opposite of predefined classification (taxonomy), folksonomy is a collaborative way to classify information mostly in social and web applications.

A folksonomy is a system of classification derived from the practice and method of collaboratively creating and managing tags to annotate and categorize content;[1][2] this practice is also known ascollaborative tagging,[3] social classification, social indexing, and social tagging…. [S]ome of the characteristics of folksonomies by identifying two types: broad and narrow. A broad folksonomy is one in which multiple users tag particular content with a variety of terms from a variety of vocabularies, thus creating a greater amount of metadata for that content. A narrow folksonomy, on the other hand, occurs when a few users, primarily the content creator, tag an object with a limited number of terms.

Classification is an important element of every data management and information solution. PLM/PDM systems are (obviously) included. In my view, tagging can reduce the complexity of information search and discovery. I’ve been pitching "Tagging" as an innovative way to simplify data access in PLM systems. Navigate to my historical blog from 2009 – How Tagging can prevent PLM from a Compulsive Obsessive Disorder Problem?

Until now, I haven’t heard about any implementation of tagging in PLM systems. Earlier today, I was reading CIMdata update about Dassault Enovia products – ENOVIA Product Update: A CIMdata Highlight. One of the snippet of this publication referenced to a new solution produced by Dassault – IFWE Compass. Here is a passage speaking about "automatic tagging solution":

The IFWE Compass user interface—This new face of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform was shown briefly at the June Industry Analyst event, but this daylong session allowed us to see it support many more use cases. The automatic tagging and indexing of all managed information (called 6W) should provide significant benefits downstream. This tagging approach is not seen in offerings from other PLM solution providers.

What is my conclusion? Despite visible simplicity, tagging is hard task to accomplish. It required significant amount of data processing, computational power and sophisticated algorithms. It is hard to get it done automatically and it requires specific "collaborative" effort to apply it in a "folksonmical" way. My hunch Dassault acquired tagging technology from the acquisition of search vendor Exalead few years ago. The precision of tagging (especially when it done automatically) is a key. So, it would be very interesting to see implementation of this solution in a specific customer data corpus. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


Dassault IFWE and PLM Cloud Switch

August 2, 2013

As you know, cloud is one of the topics that near and dear to me already long time. I’ve been covering PLM vendors and their cloud strategies for few years now. Maybe you remember my very old post from 2009 speaking about How will PLM applications change when they move to a cloud? Today it is almost history. Couple of other historical posts related to different phases of CAD and PLM cloud development – PLM Vendors, IT and Cloud strategies, PLM Cloud: Differentiations and anti-cloud rant? and Will Enterprise PLM embrace hybrid cloud?

While I was taking few days off with my family on Cape Cod, I found the following announcement made by Dassault Systems quite significant. Navigate to the following link to read more. In a nutshell, Dasasult announced new cloud portfolio of products available on premise, public cloud and private cloud. Here is my favorite passage explaining what cloud means for Dassault:

…the cloud is more than infrastructure and a delivery mechanism. The cloud is a way of working. It is where consumers voice their needs, their ideas, their feedback. It is where innovation is fostered and ideas take hold.

Dassault released the following video previewing IFWE Compass presenting the cloud portfolio in interconnected way. Take a look – the video is inspiring and provides compelling messages. I’d be very interested to see products when they will become available.

Dassault announcement made me think about PLM cloud switch. Looking on a perspective of cloud technologies and PLM trajectories for the last 4-5 years, I can confirm that PLM cloud switch actually happened. Practically all leading CAD/PLM companies confirmed in a certain way their commitment to have cloud strategy. Aras cloud, Autodesk cloud, Dassault cloud, Siemens PLM TeamCenter cloud. It would be interesting to see potential future announcement coming from PTC about their cloud strategies sooner than later.

What is my conclusion? PLM Cloud Switch happened. The devil is in details now. PLM comes to the phase when cloud/no-cloud won’t be a decision point anymore. Customers will have to explore the differentiation of cloud strategies, functions, implementations and make a decision. Functionality will be important, but implementation speed will make a difference as well. In the past, PLM implementations took long time. It was bad, but on the other side it locked down many customers from migrating to another (sometimes competitive) solution. It is interesting to see how new cloud switch strategies will make a difference now. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


Will IBM return to PLM software business?

March 4, 2013

It is almost 2 years since Dassault Systems completed the transaction to acquire and integrate IBM PLM operations into DS. The historical IBM/DS press release is here. At the same time, IBM is continue to focus on product innovation. Navigate here and may learn about IBM product development innovation, system engineering and lifecycle support. In parallel, the adoption of PLM software is growing. More companies in the world are implementing PLM and requires more products, systems, solutions and services in PLM. For the last 3-5 years we can see how IBM is pumping infrastructure software companies… Does it mean we will see again IBM services and services solving manufacturing and product development problems? I’ve been reading Seeking Alpha’s article “So What Does IBM Mean When It Says It’s In The Solutions Business?” explains what type of solutions IBM will be providing in the future:

“It is not individual packaged products per se, but groups of related software products, services, and systems. And we know at very high level where IBM is going to focus its solutions efforts. IBM has always been about software, services, and systems – although in recent years the first two have taken front stage. The flip side is that some of these solutions areas are overly broad. Smarter Analytics is a catch-all covering the familiar areas of business intelligence and performance management, predictive analytics and analytical decision management, and analytic applications.”

I found the following video about IBM usage of system engineering to streamline smarter product development quite interesting.

During the last PI Congress in Berlin 3 weeks ago, CIMdata was talking about the need of integration between configuration management, PLM and system engineering. Peter Bilello of CIMdata mentioned such integration as an absolutely needed element of future of product innovation.

cimdata-plm-se-pi-congress.jpg

What is my conclusion? Business intelligence, decision support, system engineering and integration. These functions are quite desired by manufacturing companies to solve prod development problems. Large companies these days are looking how to streamline product development processes. Enterprise PLM business seems to be impossible without system services and integration support. IBM is collecting a significant software stacks that can be used for this purposes. Maybe we see IBM renaissance in PLM soon? Just a thought…

Best, Oleg


Why PLM Experience is a bad idea?

November 26, 2012

Experience. This word is getting into our lexicon and we start using it often. It is a nice word. We like it. It reminds us success of Apple, flawless way to find information using Google maps, slick Macbook Air and many other things that we started to call “experience” now. I took few days off blogging. If you follow my social channels, you noticed my Florida experience. Navigate here to take a look on my Everglades experience as well as mobile photo stream experience with kids. During this vacation break, I continued my experiments with two photographic experiences – iPhone and Canon EOS. I made it first couple of months ago during my Israel trip. My initial conclusion about the experience was mostly about the picture quality tradeoff. However, last week, most of my experiments were about expanding experience scope to the overall process of photo capturing, processing and sharing. Here is my conclusion in a single word – connected. Canon experience was mostly disconnected. At the same, iPhone experience was connected and social. Speaking in business terms, I had low cost and fast ROI with iPhone solution – decent quality pictures were uploaded and shared almost in real time. Most of my Canon EOS pictures are still somewhere between flash cards and computer discs.

I want to switch to PLM now. Nowadays, PLM vendors are also thinking about Experience. You can think about the experience like a fashion. To check about fashion you go to Paris. Maybe it is just a coincidence, but Dassault Systemes was the first PLM company officially re-branded their PLM into 3DExperience. Coming late after all CAD/PLM bloggers already posted about DS 3DExperience, I made my first check with blog posts. Deelip posted What Exactly is 3DEXPERIENCE? couple of days ago. Here is my favorite passage from his post:

Simply put, 3DEXPERIENCE is the term that Dassault Systemes is using to describe the tools and infrastructure that it offers its customers to help differentiate themselves and their products/services from their competition. Basically, Dassault Systemes is offering their customers ways to offer their customers downstream a better experience while using their products thereby enhancing the value of their products a great deal. 3DEXPERIENCE is really as simple as that.

Another blog by Jos Voskuil – My take on 3DExperience provides an additional insight how 3DExperience can be explained and compared with PLM. Here is the explanation I captured:

I see the 3DExperience strategy from DS in this light. The classical scope of PLM tools and practices does not provide a base for the current and future markets. The solution is bigger than tools, it is the focus on the total experience (I could not find another name either). Dassault Systemes new 3DExperiences is understandable as a way to introduce a bigger picture than PLM alone. If every company needs THE EXPERIENCE approach has to be seen. In addition I believe DS still needs to work on more understandable examples where the 3DE approach is a differentiator. For sure there is PLM inside.

PLM and “Other Experience” Observation

I want to dig a bit in the definition of word “experience”. Navigate to the following link in Merriam-Webster dictionary. Here is one of the definitions – experience is practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular activity. Another link to Wikipedia. Experience as a general concept comprises knowledge of or skill of some thing or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event.[1] The history of the word experiencealigns it closely with the concept of experiment. For example, the word experience could be used in a statement like: “I have experience in fishing”.

Here are few examples of “experience” in our everyday consumer life. Google Experience – you type, search, got results in the way of accessing website, weather information, flight status, maps, directions,etc. Mac computer experience – you buy a computer, experience your personal interaction including unpacking, installing, transferring data and and getting everything you need to start your work. iPhone experience – you get your phone combining all important everyday tasks in a mobile way – phone calls, emails, internet access and digital camera. Facebook experience – you register, connect to people and share photos with your friends and family.

I tried to compare my consumer experience examples with the definition of 3DExperience captured from Jos’ blog: 3DExperience – “a way to introduce a bigger picture than PLM alone” or Deelip’s blog – Dassault Systemes is offering their customers ways to offer their customers downstream a better experience while using their products thereby enhancing the value of their products a great deal. None of these definitions gave me something that I can “experience” similar to iPhone, Google, Facebook.

PLM – Agents vs. Users

Here is my hypothesis about PLM experience. I think, in many aspects, overall, PLM has no direct experience with users. PLM, as a business software, sold to companies. In most of the cases, IT and other people responsible for PLM in an organization are taking the decisions based on zillions of factors – functions, cost, usability, openness, etc. However, IT is not making any real activities with PLM software. IT doesn’t design, manage data, exchange information, etc. IT plays a role of “agents” to purchase PLM for a company. At the same time, in most of the cases, real users are disconnected from the process of decision making. In best situations, end users are responsible for evaluating of software during the test drive.

PLM Agents (IT) can clearly speak about “PLM buying experience”. They can speak about PLM business value, ROI, cost. At the same time, IT agents have no clue about what end-users are experiencing when they face actual software.

What is my conclusion? You need to use a device or software to learn the experience. PLM is not different. However, I can see multiple aspects of experience. There is no “single PLM experience”. It is probably good for marketing brochures. You need a different resolution to build a good experience. The experience is good in details. In consumer software, one click can kill you. In business software, you need to differentiate between user experience, business experience, company experience, reseller experience. One size doesn’t fit all. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PLM Wrappers and Motor City 1970s

November 21, 2012

Are you familiar with PLM platform diagrams? You can see lots of them in presentations, marketing materials, websites and conferences. Last year, during one of my presentations about PLM technological alternatives, I pulled bunch of these diagrams together. You can see them on the slide below. Usually, vendors call them “PLM platform” or “PLM architecture” diagrams.

One of the observations, I’ve made is that all these diagrams are using similar words and categories to explain what it does. Different colors, styles, pictures, growing number of boxes, but these platforms are essentially repeating themselves from year to year. Interesting enough, if you remove identity of companies, you can hardly lose the orientation – most of the diagrams are in indistinguishable.

I call this effect PLM wrappers. It reflects the interest of vendors to develop and package different vertical solutions and add-ins. Recent Dassault conference introduced a new name – “experience”. Read the following post by Jim Brown providing a good summary of what “experience” is. This is my favorite passage:

You will hear the new term floating “3D Experiences” around a lot from Dassault. Actually their are two more terms you may hear, “Social Industry Experiences” and “Engineered Business Experiences” but I took away that they are effectively different names for the same thing. Dassault teams are looking at specific business processes across their product lines (or “Brands” as DS likes to call them) to focus on what their customers in specific vertical markets need to do in order to get a job done. The best definition I heard came via twitter from Monica Schnitger quoting DS VP Stéphane Declée:

It made me think about American car manufacturers assembly lines back in 1970s. Remember how car manufacturers produced different car options? To change production line was too complex. The cost of changing assembly lines was too high. Ford, GM and other companies operated them “as is”. The difference between car models came in a form of body panels, chrome parts and options. Under all these options, the cars were essentially the same old vehicle.

What is my conclusion? The cost of re-engineering of PLM platforms is too high. PLM vendors are playing “catch-up” strategies by trying to achieve a completeness of their solutions and platforms. The number of boxes on PLM diagrams is growing. Will it make PLM solutions better? I doubt. The key question about flexibility and cost of change remains not answered. Automotive manufacturing history is well know. You can learn about it from Wikipedia. What will happen with PLM City in 10 years? A good question to ask. Detroit is not my favorite place on the planet these days. YMMV (your mileage may vary) is the standard disclaimers used by car manufacturers in Motor City. Just my thoughts and opinion…

Best, Oleg


Why PLM is more complicated than Google?

November 16, 2012

Integration is a tough job. Especially when it comes to the enterprise software. The typical manufacturing company landscape is siloed it contains many systems – office application, email, content management, CAD, CAM, CAE, PDM, PLM, etc. Beyond that set of systems, every company has ERP and few additional enterprise systems. In my view, the demand of people these days is to have integrated environment. In PLM, the discussion about “integrated vs. best of breed environment” can get very hot. As an example you navigate to the following Tech4PD video debates by Jim Brown and Chad Jackson – Granularity vs. Integration: Suites vs. Best-in-class PLM.

Interesting enough, I found the web environment these days has near the same level of integration as enterprise environment. Google’s environment very often provides an appealing use case too. Think about Gmail, Calendar, Google Drive, Web and some additional Google systems. How to help people to have integrated and seamless environment? Integrated search is one of the ways to solve the problem. Google is trying to solve the problem by providing integrated Google personal search that capability to reach outside of Gmail and collect information from other Google applications. I submitted to evaluate this feature using my personal gmail account and hope to share my feedback with you later.

PLM vendors are experimenting with integrated search user experience too. You can see them in the different examples of technological and product announcements as well as acquisitions PLM companies made during past 2 years – Dassault Systemes Exalead, Autodesk Inforbix, Siemens PLM Active Workspace, Aras Enterprise search and some others.

However, integrated search is a complicated problem. Even Google – the absolute technological leader in a search domain is confirming the complexity of search beyond the web. Navigate to the following article to read more – Google Amps Up Personal Search to Combine Gmail, Calendar, Drive and More published by All Things D last month.

To me, the most notable passage in this article is related to the complexity of the integration and integrated search.

Back in August, Google noted its Gmail index is as large or larger than its Web corpus, but with much higher and more complicated privacy requirements. All of these personal search experiments are available only in English and for personal Gmail accounts.

What is my conclusion? Search and data is a difficult problem. Enterprise and PLM environment clearly provides a more complicated case compared to public web in terms of search, content processing, permission and business logic. Brutal computing force helps, but it is not an ultimate solution for integrated environment. You need to have domain knowledge and probably apply some advanced engineering to solve this problem. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Picture credit newmediaandmarketing.com


PLM Cloud Interest and AAA PLM Players

October 29, 2012

The interest to cloud PLM is growing these days. At the beginning of this year, I discussed future PLM business model during the PLM Innovation conference in Munich. You can navigate to my historical post here. You can see lots of conversations about cloud these days. However, until now, only one from major PLM players – Dassault, was playing cloud game. As it was mentioned by Bernard Charles during DSCC 2011 event, Dassault invested 2B into building of the unique online cloud platform. This is not true any more. Earlier last week, Siemens PLM announced the availability of TeamCenter on the cloud. Navigate here to read Siemens PLM announcement. According to Siemens PLM:

Teamcenter on the cloud enables companies to move some, or all, of their computing infrastructure to a third-party cloud service provider versus investing in their own hardware. This gives customers cost effective access to enterprise grade IT infrastructure and resources without the need for capital expenditure. Siemens now supports Teamcenter on three of the leading cloud services, Microsoft Windows Azure, IBM SmartCloud™ Enterprise+ and Amazon Web Services. The company has completed a certification and enablement program for Teamcenter delivered on each of these service provider’s IaaS offerings.

I found an interesting writeup about TeamCenter on the cloud made by PJ of TEC. Navigate to this link to read -Siemens Teamcenter Going to the PLM Cloud. PJ is analyzing what is behind TeamCenter cloud announcement. This is an important passage, in my view, which explains that:

While the benefits such as faster time to value, dynamic scalability, and lower TCO are indisputable, this is just the typical first cloud-enabling step of moving the infrastructure to the cloud. Certainly, there is also the benefit from accessing the PLM system from the Internet, and at the analyst event, we also saw a demo of a mobile user interface (UI) in the cloud. But our understanding was that Siemens is not yet going to provide a subscription model or a multitenant cloud.

At the same time, PJ concludes that despite cloud announcement, TeamCenter is not adopting ‘cloud PLM’ business by moving towards subscription model. I didn’t find any mentioning of subscription prices as well as information about future announcement. Siemens PLM press release mentioned only “business flexibility”, as was mentioned by TeamCenter cheif Eric Sterling. Here is the quote:

“The key benefit of Teamcenter on the cloud is the business flexibility it provides,” said Eric Sterling, Senior Vice President, Lifecycle Collaboration Software, Siemens PLM Software. “In today’s ever changing global landscape, the flexibility to dynamically manage infrastructure on the cloud gives customers the ability to scale up computing resources with demand and more importantly, scale down costs if demand decreases. This enables organizations to effectively manage IT budgets as an operating expense versus capital expense which can improve profitability.

AAA PLM?

I learned an interesting term in PJ’s article – “Triple A” PLM players. As I mentioned in my earlier article, Open Source and subscription-based model used by cloud PLM apps are two major PLM business disruption forces. PJ summarized it by calling three vendors – Aras, Arena Solutions and Autodesk PLM (AAA):

Siemens acknowledged that its main interest is still the perpetual license play. The vendor admitted that the so-called Triple A PLM players—Arena Solutions, Aras Corp., and Autodesk 360 PLM— are disruptive forces in terms of PLM deployment and licensing. Siemens pledged to be responsive to the market—i.e., it is constantly reviewing its practices—but everything needs to be good for both the vendor and its customers. Term-based licenses and Siemens Finance Services were suggested as possible options in the meantime.

PLM cloud awareness

I usually do my “reality check” on Google trends. You can see that now “PLM cloud” is now a visible trend. At least, you can see it on Google’s trends, which confirms the growing cloud interest from players and customers in engineering and manufacturing space. Even it is not saying much to prove the adoption and customer experience with cloud PLM, it is a confirmation of the trend and strategic direction.

plm-cloud-google-trend.png

What about PTC / Windchill?

After TeamCenter cloud announcement, PTC Windchill is the only product (vendor) that didn’t refresh their interest in a cloud PLM play. Windchill has long time an agreement with IBM about hosting of Windchill on IBM servers. You can see this offering is available here, but I PTC didn’t provide any recent updates about that offering as well as a preview about future availability of Windchill on the cloud. You can only see IBM application on demand delivery model here.

What is my conclusion? In my view, customers are starting to recognize the value of the cloud technologies for PLM. It comes in multiple aspects – IT infrastructure optimization, business models allowing to pay for services as you need them, global access and many others. It would be interesting to see how cloud technologies and product offering will be developed by PLM vendors in coming years.

Best, Oleg


PLM Innovation: Who will provide PLM to Boeing in 2015?

October 25, 2012

I’m in Atlanta these days attending PLM Innovation Americas conference. Today is the first day, and I’m still expecting many things to come. Nevertheless, here is the thing that made me to blog. I’ve been attending first keynote made by Kevin Fowler or Boeing Commercial Airplanes . The name of the presentation – The sky’s the limit? Reaching for the value of PLM at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The presentation provided a very interesting retrospective on how PLM developed at BCA (Boeing Commercial Airplanes) for the last 20 years. In my view, Boeing is one of the companies that stands at the root of PLM development back 25 years. Boeing fundamentally influenced the way PLM tools were developed by vendors like Dassault Systems and Metaphase (now Siemens PLM).

Growth of PLM system was driven by the need to support development and manufacturing processes. The ultimate request was to provide additional features to product development processes. Boeing moved from spatial integration (777) to build integration (737-next-gen) and functional integration (787). It means more and more features. The following slides show a very interesting trend related to Boeing PLM Value.

As you can see, functionality is growing. However, total cost of ownership is growing too, which is not very good sign. The most disappointing factor is related to usability of PLM systems. The usability of PLM tools is going down, which confirms the fact PLM is struggling from complexity and user experience. The level of information complexity at Boeing is impressing – 1B (Billion) parts to manage during the release of aircraft, Boeing has 12000 aircrafts in service and operation, Boeing employees are sending 63M (Million) emails during the month. Boeing engineers need to use multiple tools during their working day.

However, the most important message I captured from Boeing presentation was related the future evolution of PLM system. According to the Boeing, all PLM systems Boeing is currently running are approaching their end of life. Take a look on the following slide presenting four generations of Boeing PLM systems. Actually, it represents only three generations. Boeing put a question mark on the generation of PLM tools that need to come in 2015.

What is my conclusion? It is very interesting to see how large companies are turning towards usability of PLM tools. In the past, usability wasn’t a big deal for enterprise companies. Nowadays, end users cannot tolerate bad user experience. According to Boeing, their users are opening about 19 user interfaces to get data. Future PLM systems need to come with a different level of usability and user experience. The expectation level will be set by iPhone, Google, Facebook and other consumer tools. PLM vendors need to make a note. Important. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PLM Think Tank – July Top 5

July 29, 2012

Usually, we expect some relaxation during summer time. Even we are still in end of July, this summer already provided lots of events, news and surprises. Last week was dominated by news about financial activities of Dassault Systems and PTC. Week before was marked by Autodesk acquiring SocialCam for 60 million dollars. I can see lots of activity and innovation happen in engineering and manufacturing software. One of these innovations is introduction of modern browser techniques to the space of CAD and Viewer collaborations. Companies like Sunglass.io and GrabCADannounced their viewing capabilities available. I will continue to monitor the industry from "beyond PLM" viewpoint and share this news with you. Now, let me move to the traditional top 5 stories.

What is the future of PLM databases?

Database technology is a fundamental part of everything in enterprise software. However, after 25 years I can see some changes demanded. The complexity of product lifecycle problems brings the need of new concepts in data modeling and data management. One of the main questions – how to break the boundary of a single database? This is a key question, in my view. It will solve the problem of logical scalability and provide a platform for future information discovery.

Why Engineers don’t like company private social networks?

In my view, Facebook IPO put some cold water on some ‘social heads’. I think, PLM companies are missing some points in the space of social networking for enterprise. Here is my list of suspects – complicated user experience created by social PLM pioneers, anti-social engineering nature, engineer’s focus on “cool stuff” and ignorance of corporate oriented tools.
Co-browsing and future of CAD design collaboration

Collaboration in design is endless topic for innovation. I think the idea of collaborative browsing can “hold the water”. How many times you worked with shared screen on your computer? I did it many times. To have multiple engineers working on the same design can be an interesting option in your future CAD application in the browser.

"Alte-Zachen" PLM and new business models

In my previous life, ‘Alte Zachen’ person was taking old stuff away. I never knew what happens to this stuff after. The same about “second hand” PLM software. What will be the value of re-selling and buying existing licenses? I can some interesting work for lawyers to be done in this space. The main personage of “Pretty Woman” movie was buying companies having financial troubles and sell them apart for a significant profit. Will future PLM innovators buy existing PLM alte zachen for their future profit? A good question to ask… Just my thoughts.

PLM Dress Code Factoids

The dress code of PLM events is different from CAD and consumer events. Few people in PLM industry are still dreaming about how to follow ERP success. PLM companies and event organizers are dreaming about how to bring more executives to their events. They are key players in PLM strategic decision making. Dress code is part of the agenda to make PLM event comfortable for execs. I guess CIOs and other corporate execs feel wrong sitting next to engineers in blue jeans. I also believe some country and location specifics can be considered too. I rarely see suits and ties during events in Israel and California. At the same time, it looks quite appropriate in Germany and some other places in Europe.

Best, Oleg

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


PLM, Mobile Devices and Capturing Input

July 25, 2012

Any mobile device these days is an extremely powerful capturing tool. With the latest development of front and back end cameras, the ability of the mobile device to perform as a scanner, image and video recorder becomes second to none. The ability to capture photo and video open lots of opportunities to innovate. One example – look on the statistics of camera usage on Flickr:

Another example. Just think about latest acquisition made by Autodesk – SocialCam, company focused on social video sharing. One of the fundamental capabilities on SocialCam app was to capture video by a mobile device (like iPhone or Android).

I can potentially imagine many other (fewer socially fancy scenarios) where using a camera can significantly change and even disrupt existing processing many manufacturing companies have in place these days. Think about maintenance, support, operation, manufacturing problem reports, field construction reports and many others. It also can be applied in analyses and other CAE tools. The most interesting "capturing capability" I’ve seen was in Autodesk ForceEffect application.

Another example of content capturing and merge is 3DVIA mobile app:

I think about two capabilities PLM/PDM systems lack today – ability to capture input from mobile devices and the ability to manage a significant amount of media content. Let me speak about them a bit more.

Capturing Media Input (Photo, Video)

It sounds like a simple task, but in fact, it lacks almost in all PLM tools (even those that claim they are HTML5 mobile browser compatible). Welcome to engineering reality. You can see applications running in the mobile browser, but it lack of proper support for camera and other capturing capabilities.

Content Management and Storage

Once captured, image and/or video needs to be handled and managed well. It starts from the initial storage and transmission. Then it goes to the ability of PDM/PLM system to manage this content, which can be significant in size, requires the ability to be sorted, search, applying meta-data, relating to other information sources and many others. You hardly can find these capabilities in most of the available PDM/PLM systems. They are not adjusted for such a type of content.

What is my conclusion? Most of CAD, PDM and PLM vendors today are claiming mobility and support for modern devices. However, in many cases, it is about taking "existing system" and saying – it is available on a mobile platform. I wrote about it in my post – PLM mobile gold rush. Did vendors miss the point? At the same time, not to miss small details becomes so important. This is something PLM vendors need to learn from mobile app developers in consumer space and web. Extra-click and bad user experience can destroy the future of your app. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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