commentary: CATIA V5 version 12 to Feature ImpactXoft?s Functional Modeling Technology

by Ira Breskin

By this fall, Dassault Systemes plans to fill the last remaining hole in its PLM product line.

That’s when Dassault is scheduled to release version 12 of CATIA V5, its pivotal 3D CAD tool. It will feature ImpactXoft’s Functional Modeling software, said Dassault Systemes spokesperson, Keith Pillow.

Bundling this advanced design collaborative and functional modeling software will allow CATIA to more effectively compete head-to-head with Web-based collaborative design tools offered by Agile Software Corp., MatrixOne Inc. and Parametric Technology Corp.

Collaborative product design/functional modeling software helps users boost design productivity by fostering faster iterations, design sharing, and simultaneous reconciliation.

Meanwhile, Dassault is scheduled on April 29, 2003 to roll out its latest CATIA V5 release, version 11, Pillow said. Dassault continually incorporates many new features in CATIA, many acquired through acquisition.

The ImpactXoft integration would come about a year after Dassault quietly agreed last September to incorporate ImpactXoft’s software. “This alliance allows us to take our functional modeling and collaboration technology from the incubator stage to become part of a full enterprise solution," said Attilio Rimoldi, ImpactXoft president and CEO.

As part of that deal, Dassault invested $10 million in privately held ImpactXoft, in exchange for a 15 percent equity stake. Moreover, Dassault has agreed to resell ImpactXoft software worldwide, except in Asia.

The reason: ImpactXoft developed its technology in conjunction with Toyota Caelum Inc., its sales agent there. In that region, the product is called Caelum Xxen.

Toyota Caelum is the Toyota Motor Corp. subsidiary that develops and sells CAD, CAM and CAE tools. Dassault’s decision to bundle ImpactXoft software also has strategic benefits given that the Paris-based company in March 2002 won a major contract to provide Toyota with next-generation design tools.

For additional information about Dassault Systemes, see www.3ds.com.

Ira Breskin, a freelance editor/writer specializing in business and technology issues, is a frequent contributor to Business Week, Newsday, and the New York Times. He holds a B.A. from Columbia University and a Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism, Columbia University Business School. He may be reached at Email Contact.

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