Secured PLM dropbox with EMC?

May 25, 2012

Speak about the "cloud" in a business community and you have a chance to be slammed by "security folks". Their primary concern is security and, sometimes, I have a feeling whatever you talk to them about, will leave them skeptical anyway. This is probably the type of people that are buying their first cell phone these days. Sort of people that according to the definition of a Roger Bell Curve will not buy "digital phone" until it is possible to buy "analog phone". Nevertheless, some companies are taking cloud serious these days. I was reading GIGAOM article –EMC buys Syncplicity to serve as Dropbox for business.

Cloud-based storage — Dropbox, especially — has become the primary villain in the move toward BYOD (bring your own device) workplaces, but is also an area of strong growth for providers such as that can support business needs. With those concerns in mind, this acquisition makes a lot of sense for EMC… Already, BYOD is wreaking havoc on unprepared companies, including companies like IBM that should know better. Employees want to use their personal iPhones, iPads and Android phones that to work from anywhere, but employers worry that sensitive corporate documents stored in the cloud on service

BYOD trend influence

BOYD (Bring Your Own Device) trend has a clear influence to the story of business dropbox development. According to the latest research the amount of employees supporting BYOD ideas is growing:

According to a recent British Telecom report, known as "Rethink the Risk", 60 per cent of employees are already using their personal devices when they head to work, while 82 per cent of companies surveyed said they either currently sanction BYOD or plan to do so within the next two years. Almost half — or 46 per cent — of employees working in organizations that don’t support BYOD say they’d like to be able to hook up their own devices while they’re on the job.

What is my conclusion? I think the combination of BYOD and business dropbox can have a significant influence on some areas PLM today is focusing on. Supply chain, global design and manufacturing – all these implementations require efficient data-sharing capabilities. Secured PLM dropbox can do it. The competition is clear in place. Fun time… Just my thoughts.

Best, Oleg

Picture courtesy GIGAOM article.

Google+, PLM and the Product Data Sharing Models

July 7, 2011

Social is trending. It was specially true this weekend. The social hype taking individuals, organizations and social vendors. Personally, I want to write off, I’m not a very social person. I urge other people to be social by writing blog and distributing the content on multiple social networks. However, when it comes to consuming, I rather prefer something that will help me to consume social channels in a most efficient way.

Google is coming with Google+. I found the excitement about Google+ interesting. I had no chance to try out Google+. My social channels didn’t bring me the invitation to Google+. So, I cannot join the club of social geeks trying out Circles and other elements of Google+. At the same time, I read quite many articles shared by top geeks writing non-stop about Google+. Navigate your browser to the following article – Google+ Is a Marketing Sensation and you will get a taste of what I’m talking about.

Google+ made me think about model of information and social channels. Navigate to the following article on TechCrunch – Zuckerberg not so subtle dig at Google Circles. The interesting thing there is related to the analyzes of social groups and sharing models – symmetric and asymmetric. Facebook is supporting completely symmetric sharing model. You need to get your fried confirmation to establish connection and share information. At the same time, Google+ followed Twitter and created completely asymmetric social channels in Google+ Circles.

Asymmetric vs. Symmetric Sharing Model

There are two fundamental sharing model – asymmetric and symmetric. Google+ has an “asymmetric sharing” model where you can share one-way with people, but they don’t have to share back. Facebook has a “symmetric sharing” model where two people mutually confirm that they are friends, and then can start sharing stuf with each other privately or publicly. Twitter has an “asymmetric follow” model where people Tweet out publicly and anyone can follow what they are broadcasting without that person necessarily following back. It’s one-way.

PLM and Product Data Sharing 

It made me think about PLM and the importance of the future data sharing models. One of the fundamental needs of product development is to be able to share information with the right people at the right moment of time. Sounds simple? Yes. You can tell me now – this is what PDM/PLM Collaboration is all about! Last 20 years of development of various “data management and collaboration system” ended with a complete win of email and Excel spreadsheets when it comes to the point where an organization needs to decide how to share information. Data sharing is still a huge problem in every product development organization. To solve it, organization needs to focus on creation of a model to support efficient product data sharing. Should we create a symmetric model (similar to Facebook) or to allow people to be connected to the right content at the right point of time (asymmetric circles or twitter lists)?

What is my conclusion? For the last 10-15 years, PLM vendors invested a significant effort in the development of systems that can control data. However, not much was done in the area of data sharing and data consuming. This is something PLM can learn from Google+ and Facebook. Efficient product data sharing is a key for PLM to become a mainstream tool to support product development in many manufacturing organizations. Unfortunately, most of the PLM systems are not there yet. Right place to innovate. Just my thoughts..

Best, Oleg

Autodesk, SolidWorks and Collaboration Renaissance

June 28, 2011

Brian Roepke of Autodesk brought my attention to Autodesk Nitrous Lab Project earlier this week. The context of this comment was about some Autodesk viewing technologies that don’t require any flash or plug-in. So, I decided to put my hands on Autodesk Project Nitrous this morning. When I’m still trying to figure out what is that viewer technology Autodesk is using there, Nitrous made me think about what is going with collaboration and cloud.

SolidWorks n!Fuze – PLM Collaboration Renaissance

Few months ago, I’ve posted about SolidWorks n!Fuze – a new cloud service coming from SolidWorks to help share and collaborate between engineers. I found interesting the way SolidWorks were planning to introduce this service. On the fundamental level, it is not introducing any particular new functions – you can load SolidWorks files and share them. So, what is new? The cloud storage based on Enovia V6 and completely new user experience.

SolidWorks n!Fuze was in Beta testing few months after SolidWorks World 2011. I had a chance to play with that. The user experience was good. The service is not available now. According to the information provided during SolidWorks World, it will be released later this year.

Autodesk Nitrous – a dropbox for CAD files?

Project Nitrous provides a very simple set of functions: upload files, upload new revisions, manage folders, preview, tag and comments. Take a look on few screenshots I made during my tests. The subscription to the service was easy and straightforward. You are getting 1GB of data when you register with Autodesk ID.

The home screen is simple. You can get to the list of file or folders, comment, sort, filter and tag.

Viewer is integrated into a web browser.

I found versioning function a bit strange. It wasn’t clear if it keeps separate copies of the file. When uploading a new version of file, I was alerted that name of the file was changed. The overall it gave me a history of versions in a separate screen.

Autodesk Nitrous is available as Labs product. You can register and use it now. Navigate to the following link to subscribe.

What is my conclusion? CAD and PLM vendors are thinking about the cloud. Looking on services like Dropboxand some others, SolidWorks, Autodesk and others are trying to create similar services adopted to the CAD content. In my view, these are just experiments by CAD companies about how to leverage cloud and relevant infrastructure. Will real customers end up by adopting these services? I’m not sure. Security is still the issue for most of them. At the same time, newcomers like GrabCAD are working on a bit different flavor of cloud libraries containing publicly shared CAD models. GrabCAD is helping engineers to sell their work and services online. A different aspect of collaboration maybe?

Just my thoughts..
Best, Oleg

What PLM technology can share CAD and engineering knowledge in organization? – Part 1.

March 13, 2009

One of the biggest PLM challenges is to play the role of connecting “organizational dots” such as Design to Manufacturing, Engineering To Order, Configuration To Order, Concept to Manufacturing. All of these terms are about creating a world where designers and engineers are connected with each other as well as with other players of product development – manufacturing, suppliers, and consumers. However, this connection is not straightforward – design and engineering data sometimes seem like a foreign language.  To some departments, communicating with another department is like tourists trying to speak a language they don’t even understand.

 The biggest problem I see today is that CAD and engineering knowledge remains in the Engineering Department language. A very small amount of people can speak this engineering language, not to mention knowing how to connect an engineering solution to solve a business problem.

 At the same time, everybody knows about this problem. As one of the examples, take a look at this Adobe blog which presents the challenge of enterprise data sharing. 


Out of the many different solutions that try to resolve this problem, I’d like to touch on a few them which I  think are quite successful:

 PDF and 3D PDF based tools are definitely leveraging the high PDF adoption rate by translating CAD and related engineering data to 3D PDF packages. You can use various offline and batch processing tools.

3D PDF Batch Processing Revisited

Address Cost Issues Now


In parallel, XVL technology from Lattice also provides an alternative to translate CAD data into an XVL format and share this information across the organization. 

Thinking Outside the 3D CAD System


3DVIA composer is also a translating tool – it allows you  to gather CAD and 3D data together with additional information related to technical publications, manufacturing and some others. After generating new 3DVIA composer files, you can share and reuse this information in the organization.

 3DVIA Composer



An alternative approach in DS is the 3DLive product that allows everybody to access 3D information online without translating this information into other formats.

DS 3DLive


I can bring additional references on the tools that take 3D and engineering data and allow reuse of this data into enterprise. But this is not the key.  For the past 20 years we succeeded in creating lots of tools that translate one data into another data – CAD to PDF, one CAD to another CAD (i.e. IGES, STEP), etc. My key point is that we are still missing the capability of connecting people working on different problems in the same organization:  people working on design, people working on various manufacturing and supply chain optimizations, sales and others. There is no technology that allows them to work together, share the same problems and see one solution. We have come a long way – from proprietary data storage, RDBMS, XML, various 3D proprietary formats, various “standard” formats etc. All this being said, we are  still missing something that can be used as a scalable foundation to represent CAD and engineering knowledge.

This technology has  still not been invented, in my opinion, and this is a big topic.  Since I’m sure I’ve missed references, examples and ideas. I’m planning to continue posts on this topic. I’d be glad to hear your voices and comments.


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