1 Feb 2010: Started the day in the main tent. Shockingly, attendance was up by 20% over last year. In several discussions with others in the CAD/PLM community, it appears business was hot during the last quarter and appears to be holding up. Good news for 2010. SW weathered the storm with no layoffs and an increased R&D investment.
For the first time at a SW event, Dassault Systemes CEO, Bernard Charles spoke about his vision for the company and the tightening of the relationship between DS and SW. This became evident in the technology preview introduced by SW CEO, Jeff Ray. Basically, SW previewed their PDM software and their CAD software operating in the cloud, on almost any platform, including MAC’s, and using browsers. My guess is it was a standard browser.
It appears as if the first items to migrate to the cloud will be both PDM apps, which will use ENOVIA V6 as the cloud storage. My opinion – good riddance to local PDM apps, their servers, and the technology and personnel to install and maintain them. No pricing or migration plans were discussed. Expect to see some cloud apps available late this year!
The speaker, James McLurkin, one of the leading robotics researchers in the US, spoke about robotic swarms, his research interest. He investigates how robot algorithms work by building small limited function robots that communicate among themselves to follow goals. Imagine that instead of two costly robots exploring Mars, that there were a hundred smaller ones with specialized skills, kind of like an ant colony.
Other tidbits during the day: A conversation with Richard Allen, PDM Product Manager at SW revealed that only 30% of their customers use PDM systems, a surprisingly (to me) low number. We discussed the state of Mechatronics with Shaun Murphy, and in our opinion, for managing and simulating electro mechanical control systems, SW is far ahead of their usual competitors. We spoke with Jeff Cope, CEO of Extensible CAD about their InspectionXpert and Office2CAD products, both integrated within SW. Inspection:Expert converts drawing inspection data into more useable measurement sheets for use during CMM inspections. Simple, but a real time saver. Cad2Office adds a tab to Office documents allowing direct saves into SW PDM vaults, another useful time saver. Both seem reasonable priced. KeytechPLM, a German based company, offers one of the most comprehensive, independent multiCAD PDM-PLM systems we have seen. Federated vault servers manage worldwide access. It’s a BMW system at Toyota pricing, with typical German engineering.