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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 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 … More »

COFES 2015: Taking A Giant Step Backwards

April 2nd, 2015 by Jeff Rowe

If it’s April, it’s time for COFES (Congress On the Future of Engineering Software). This annual informal event, now in its 16th year, is the engineering software industry’s only think tank/industry summit event that brings executives from design, engineering, architectural, development, and technology companies together to understand the role engineering technology will play in the future survival and success of business customers who also attend.

COFES is well-known for hosting leading keynote visionaries that bring a new perspective to the future of the industry.

The central theme for COFES 2015 is that as engineers and software professionals we are good at focusing on the thing at hand – the design challenge; the need for a new tool; our competitive situation. However, rarely do we consider the bigger world in which these issues reside.

This year, COFES takes a giant step backwards for broadening our view. In other words, to think about thinking about the bigger picture. The nature of our work requires that we spend the majority of our time getting things done, tightly focused on executing our tasks and plans. And while we do that, we are continuously faced with choices, big and small, along the way. Too often, we make decisions in the narrow context of what we have in front of us, unless some outside force pushes a broader context into our consciousness.

A quick blast from the COFES past — In 2008 Gartner declared Augmented Reality (AR) one of the Top Ten Disruptive Technologies for the next few years. While AR has arrived on mobile devices and digital cameras, it remains imprecise and far from disruptive. Are there changes in the wind? Although the video below is a couple of years old, during his COFES 2011 presentation Joseph Juhnke reviews the strengths and weaknesses of various types of Augmented Reality (hardware and software) technologies.

Practical applications for augmented reality – Joseph Juhnke – COFES 2011 Keynote Presentation

Since its inception, COFES has been the place to lift our heads from the daily grind and consider our work in a broader context. But the broader context of our world is changing at an accelerated pace. Once a year is not enough – we need to continuously keep in mind how the context is evolving as we make day-to-day decisions. At COFES 2015, how we can step back and bring the rapidly changing broad context of the big picture into our day-to-day decisions will be explored.

COFES is a unique event in that although there are a number of software, hardware, and service vendors, there is no selling; just informal (and sometimes heated) discussions on the issues that affect all attendees.

Some of the highlights of COFES 2015 include:

  • Report from the Analysis, Simulation, and Systems Engineering Software Summit (ASSESS) a special summit that was held at the Santa Fe Institute in January 2015. The purpose of the Summit was to identify and resolve the issues that confront simulation software and the simulation software industry as we move beyond the recent economic crash and face new and complex challenges. At COFES 2015, the conversation will continue as an overview of the summit, the top seven items raised at ASSESS that will lead to a discussion of the issues.
  • Keynote speakers that include:
    • David Brin – “The murky road ahead: from an Internet of Things to human augmentation and AI … Looking beyond the five year ROI horizon
    • Mark Anderson – “Security, Risk, and Software: Protecting Crown Jewels from State-sponsored Theft
    • Bo Burlingham – “Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top”
  • Technology Suite Briefings that present briefings on technologies and research.
  • Analyst and User Briefings where industry analysts and experts lead working discussions on issues they view as critical.
  • Roundtable discussions with topics that include:
    • Geometric Modeling in Transition?
    • Heads Up! (Big Changes are Sneaking Up on Us)
    • It’s Not CAM Anymore
    • Analysis Before Geometry
    • Goldilocks and the Cloud
    • Business Model Disruption: What Am I Paying For?
    • Hacking the Internet of Things
    • Growing Design
  • CAD Society Awards for Community, Leadership, and lifetime Achievement. Yours truly will be presenting the awards as acting president of the CAD Society.

I will be attending COFES 2015 and throughout this year’s event I will be tweeting and blogging text and photos on significant sights and sounds that I am privy to in what promises to be another great and unique event!

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2 Responses to “COFES 2015: Taking A Giant Step Backwards”

  1. Dennis Nagy says:

    Good Blog on COFES, Jeff.

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