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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has almost 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the design … More »

In Search of the 3DEXPERIENCE

November 13th, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

We just returned from Dassault Systemes 3DEXPERIENCE Forum North America in Las Vegas this week. Truth be told, Las Vegas is not one of my favorite destinations, but I was intrigued by what I might discover about Dassault’s elusive 3DEXPERIENCE, something I’ve always had difficulty getting my head wrapped around. I came to Las Vegas hoping to finally understand what the 3DEXPERIENCE platform was about, also hoping the Forum would provide that opportunity.

After learning all I could at the Forum, I now realize that the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a comprehensive engineering and business platform, each dependent on the other and not mutually exclusive.

On many different levels and in many different contexts, the Forum was all about experience, experience, and experience. Design and engineering definitely took a back seat at this event. This is a departure from competing engineering software companies where it’s all about products and subscriptions. Keep in mind, though, that the Forum was geared primarily toward big companies with current and prospective customers at the CxO level. This being the case, most of the presentations were high level and emphasized business potential over technology implementation. Technology was presented in the context of strategy, experience, and culture; not as an end in itself.

Dassault Systemes’ 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

Until this Forum, I reacquainted myself  to the fact that Dassault Systemes (DS) is involved in 12 major market segments/industries that include:

  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Architecture, Engineering, & Construction (AEC)
  • Consumer Goods & Retail
  • Consumer Packaged Goods & Retail
  • Energy, Process & Utilities
  • Financial and Business Services
  • Life Sciences
  • High-Tech (ECAD)
  • Industrial Equipment
  • Transportation and Mobility
  • Marine and Offshore
  • Natural Resources

That’s quite a broad range of markets that are served, and DS has strategically entered these markets through organic in-house development, as well as through acquisitions.

Below is the 3DEXPERIENCE compass with brief descriptions of its various points of reference and components.


The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform Compass

In DS’s view, consumers do not just buy products anymore, but rather, experiences. During the Forum, DS used Apple as an analogy to reinforce this thought on customer experience. Apple sells both products and supporting services that equate to an overall experience for customers – Macs, iPhones, iPads, iTunes, Genius Bar, etc. It seems like DS aspires to do the same.

A term new to me, experience management, is the key to design experiences, not just products, and is much more complex. With this proclamation, I think it’s safe to say that DS is in the process of switching from being a strictly PLM oriented company to experience lifecycle management (ELM)? As a big part of this, DS wants to move far beyond discrete manufacturing, and this is one of the primary goals of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Simply put, according to DS, products by themselves are no longer enough, it’s all about experience, because experience is what ultimately drives value.

The company is very intent on connecting disciplines that have not been connected before, and DS wants to be the catalyst to make this happen because disciplines need help in understanding each other with the ability to communicate in a more “human way.” Again, we’ll explore what this means in coming weeks.

DS is also very interested in new materials, processes, and connections between them – especially in life/bio (with the BIOVIA brand) and geo sciences (with the GEOVIA brand). More about these in the near future.

Finally, when asked about “the cloud” and the Internet of Things (IoT), DS spokespersons said the company is addressing them, but is not really ready to discuss yet, but might be soon. We’ll follow up on this in the near future.

So, in looking for a better understanding and appreciation of Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE this week, I think I found it at the Forum.

Editor’s Note: Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we’ll detail some of the most interesting presentations we witnessed at the Dassault Systemes 3DEXPERIENCE Forum North America. We’ll also cover two of DS’s newest brand offerings – BIOVIA and 3DXCITE.

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