Fortunately, even with blizzard conditions serving as the backdrop for the conference, most of these speakers were able to at least attend 'virtually' thanks to the help of 'modern technology. Armed with speaker phones, powerpoint slides, and in the case of IBM/Dassault's Bernard Charles' - a previously recorded videotape; the presentations went on, for the most part, without a lot of fuss. In a few instances, companies opted to have the 'second-in-command' stand in for the missing speaker, but either way, it was basically business as usual.
There were a few amusing moments. One of the most humorous occurred when Charles Foundyller, CEO of Daratech admitted that speaking to an empty chair during the Q&A sessions made him feel a bit like he was dealing with his very own Harvey (the invisible rabbit made popular by the film of the same name starring Jimmy Stewart), but once everyone adjusted to the live 'link' in place of the live person, it all went pretty smoothly. Apart from a bit of trouble with the audio at times, most of the glitches were minor and I think the majority of the attendees walked away with much the same level of understanding of the strategy and the vision of the companies presenting as they would have received otherwise.
The good news is that many more made it than didn't, and for at least some of us, being 'trapped' in New York in the midst of a winter wonderland with literally no traffic to speak of for several days - will be something that we will remember for many years to come. What many will also remember, I'm afraid, is that the event was simply not that well-attended, particularly with respect to customers. And while poor attendance overall could be blamed on the weather, the likelihood is that simply fewer CAD/CAM, CAE and PLM industry executives and professionals are traveling these days. Having said that, there were still some extremely valuable discussions during the conference, and these will be highlighted in upcoming issues of the MCAD Daily News and MCAD Weekly Review.
For starters, I had a chance to sit down and speak with Richard Riff, Director, Advanced Engineering Center, Ford Motor Company, who offered some keen insights regarding both the company's future plans and its recently announced deals with IBM/Dassault Systemes and EDS PLM Solutions. (Specific details concerning these discussions will appear in an upcoming issue of the MCAD Daily News.) Interestingly, in spite of the all the hype surrounding these recently announced deals, the subject of Ford Motor Company's engineering and manufacturing IT expenditures was given little, if any, attention during the general presentations.
There were, however, a number of other key developments announced at the conference, including an agreement between IBM/Dassault Systemes and ESI Group to deliver virtual prototyping and manufacturing solutions within CATIA V5; and a cross-licensing agreement between LMS International and ANSYS, Inc. to further extend the interface between each of the company's respective flagship products, LMS Virtual.Lab and ANSYS Workbench®. PTC also officially unveiled Pro/E Wildfire and its emphasis on a 'ProductFirst' approach (underscoring this commitment with the appointment of Jim Heppelmann to Chief Product Officer, a new role that PTC hopes will take hold throughout the industry), and EDS PLM Solutions launched I-deas 10 NX Series, and SolidEdge Version 14, featuring new advanced shape creation technology. (For additional details concerning these and other major announcements made last week, please refer to the Top Stories section included below in this week's edition of MCAD Weekly Review.)
Overall, the primary focus of the conference this year was PLM (Product Lifecycle Management). According to Daratech CEO, Charles Foundyller, "PLM has the potential to completely revolutionize the discrete manufacturing industry." How? To a large extent, the answer to that question seems to be by not only changing the way that organizations manage product information, but by changing the actual underlying processes by which products are designed, developed, manufactured, and distributed. More to the point, PLM seems to be as much about process as it is about having a well-connected, interoperable, highly integrated set of enterprise-wide software tools and technologies.
Still not completely clear on what PLM can and can't do for your organization? Don't worry - again, you're not alone. There is still a great deal of confusion surrounding PLM, not the least of which is how companies can 'start small' and scale up in this area.
So stay tuned. We'll do our best to attempt to bring some clarity to this subject, as well as to other related topics in upcoming issues of MCAD Weekly Review.
Comments? Feedback? Email Contact to tell us what you think about this topic or if you have additional information you'd like to share on this subject!
Amy Rowell is the managing editor of MCADCafe, and the editor of MCAD Weekly Review.
- Dassault Systemes and ESI Group Join Forces to Deliver Next-Generation Virtual Prototyping and Manufacturing Solutions within V5 [18 Feb 2003]
- EDS and Avatech Solutions to Expand Reach of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Solutions to Small and Medium Sized Manufacturers [17 Feb 2003]
- EDS Launches I-deas(R) 10 NX Series [17 Feb 2003]
- EDS PLM Solutions Announces New Rapid Blue Complex Shape Creation Technology with Solid Edge. Version 14 [19 Feb 2003]
- ENAER to Implement World-Class Aeronautical Design Solutions With PLM Technologies From IBM and Dassault Systemes [18 Feb 2003]
- ESI Group Announces PAM-CRASH 2G [18 Feb 2003]
- ESI Group Strengthens North American Presence With Appointment of Two Former Vibro-Acoustic Sciences Executives [18 Feb 2003]
- LMS International and ANSYS Inc. Expand Alliance [17 Feb 2003]
- MSC.Software Reports 27% Fourth Quarter Revenue Growth [19 Feb 2003]
- PTC Defines Chief Product Officer Role; Jim Heppelmann Fills Strategic Post [17 Feb 2003]
- Stratasys Announces Record 2002 Revenue & Operating Profit [20 Feb 2003]
- 3D Systems to Reschedule Conference Call [18 Feb 2003]
- A Fresh New Idea for Tier I & II Plastics Manufacturers! [16 Feb 2003]
- Blue Ridge Numerics Showcases the Power of MCAD Integration at NDES [20 Feb 2003]
- CFdesign v6.0 for Solid Edge to Debut at Solid Edge Summit [16 Feb 2003]
- Cimatron E 4.2 Release Provides Robust 5-Axis Capabilities for Tooling Customers [19 Feb 2003]
- Computer Aided Technology, Inc. (CATI) to Resell Capvidia's FaceWorks [18 Feb 2003]
- Delphi's Horizontally Structured Modeling Available for Licensing Brings Significant Savings to 3D CAD/CAM Users [19 Feb 2003]
- Electrovaya And Alias/Wavefront Announce Joint Program To Promote The Scribbler Tablet PC And Alias SketchBook Software [20 Feb 2003]
- Gartner Dataquest Says Security is Top IT Priority for Manufacturing Industry in 2003 [18 Feb 2003]
- ICEM announces the latest version of its flagship software suite; [17 Feb 2003]
- Informative Graphics Corp. and Router Solutions Inc. Announce Strategic Partnership [20 Feb 2003]
- Informative Graphics' Free ModelPress Publisher 3.0 Released With Support for Inventor R6 and SolidWorks 2003 [17 Feb 2003]
- MSC.Software Goes Worldwide with Niku 6; Enables Work in Fully Auditable Environment [18 Feb 2003]
- New Oce Print Exec Pro Software for CATIA V5 Simplifies Printing for CATIA Users [18 Feb 2003]
- PTC Says Securities Class Action Lawsuit Without Merit [18 Feb 2003]
- The PLM Marketing Firm -- Matrix Marketing Group Appoints Vice President of Strategic Development [20 Feb 2003]