February 27, 2012
SolidWorks World 2012: The Road Ahead To The Next Platform
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on MCADcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
| by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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SolidWork’s annual user/reseller/partner conference is always an event we enjoy attending because of the people we reconnect with, as well as the news and information that we gather. This year’s edition in San Diego was no exception.
This year’s event marked SolidWorks 2012 as the twentieth version of SolidWorks, with over 5,600 from 33 countries in attendance.
Before any of the “official” events started, we got a chance to sit down and speak with Bertrand Sicot, SolidWorks’ CEO.
MC: How did 2011 treat SolidWorks?
“We had a good year. This tells us that the CAD industry is coming back and our customers are investing in our products to develop new projects. The engineering departments that we deal with are good indicators, because they provide information of what will be happening 6-12 months into the future from a company-wide perspective. We enjoyed strong growth worldwide in 2011, except for Europe, because of its economic difficulties.”
MC: Do you have a theme for 2012?
“The main theme would be to continue our success and to do that we need to maintain the culture that has been created over the years at SolidWorks. By that I mean we need to continue to work together encouraging teamwork, and continue to be user-driven with a focus on the user experience. Maintaining a positive corporate culture is tougher than the technology side, but just as vital for continued success.”
“Another theme for 2012 will be our continued promotion and commitment to the SolidWorks user community. We strive to make it even more multi-faceted and everything that the SolidWorks user is looking for – not just raw information, but a resource for connecting with and exchanging ideas with others in the SolidWorks community.”
“Beyond 2012, you will hear us talk more about what is beyond PLM – 3D experience. More to come on that later.”
MC: What are your thoughts on cloud computing and mobile platforms?
“We [SolidWorks and Dassault Systemes] don’t consider the cloud dead, but it is not our focus because too many of our customers are concerned about IP security issues. We don’t want to go that direction just because some competitors are doing so for the ‘me too’ factor. However, we are seriously considering online solutions for mobility and collaboration purposes. We have big plans in the works for mobile apps in the future. We learned a lot from the mistakes made with nFuze and will re-launch it, as well. ”
“We may be taking more time with our mobile apps, but we want to get it right. Mobile apps are not just a checklist item for us just to say we have some. We would rather be a little late to market than come out with something that is wrong and needs to be fixed.”
MC: How is SolidWorks fitting into the Dassault Systemes family along with CATIA, ENOVIA, SIMULIA, etc?
“We continue to be better integrated in Dassult with each release, but the biggest change will come with the V6 release [of SolidWorks]. Keep in mind, though, that SolidWorks as a brand accounts for approximately 20% of Dassault Systemes’ overall revenue.”
MC: How much competition is there between a potential (high end) SolidWorks customer and a potential (low end) CATIA customer?
“Looking back, in 1997, Dassault Systemes did not just buy SolidWorks as a product. Rather, Dassault bought SolidWorks’ indirect sales channel and a way to go to market. SolidWorks appeals to a mass market and we are comfortable with that market and our price points.”
“SolidWorks, which is design centric, and CATIA, which is more process centric, have specific customers. We see only about a 5% competitive cross-over between the two technologies. This minimal cross-over is the primary reason for not having a native CATIA interface and data exchange with SolidWorks.”
MC: What about SolidWorks and PLM
“It is not my dream. I want SolidWorks to continue to be known as the company that changed the way people design in 3D. We will continue to do what we do best. It’s both exciting and scary as we start to transition to our next-generation CAD platform.”
Some of the more interesting things we saw and heard during the course of SolidWorks World 2012 included:
SolidWorks has certified over 50,000 of its users at three levels – CSWA, CSWP, and CSWE.
There is a difference between efficiency and effectiveness.
We are striving to make 3D a universal language.
“The best ideas come from the living room, not the boardroom. Make invention accessible.” – Ben Kaufman,
“Solidworks 2013 will have the Parasolid geometric kernel, that will not change.” –Fielder Hiss
DraftSight, SolidWorks’ 2D tool, has had more than 2,000,000 downloads.
“Collaborative design is all about community + technology = expert team.”
There is a huge difference between imitation and innovation.
“We have 500,000 commercial licenses out of a total addressable market that we estimate to be 4.5 million, so we still have a lot to do with this huge opportunity” – Bertrand Sicot
Total number of SolidWorks users is 1.7 million – the same number of users as match.com.
“When you build a team, treat everyone equally.”
“Social capabilities are key aspects of SolidWorks going forward.”
“Design by committee does not work” – Tony Fadell,
The cool new Nest thermostat is more like a smart phone than an on/off switch, and is designed for consumers, not contractors.
“The SolidWorks space is between blue collar and white collar, with a willingness to get dirty while using brain and hands” – Mike Rowe
“We ALL invent.”
SolidWorks 2013 was briefly introduced with some incremental feature upgrades and additions, but only incremental, not too much that we considered monumental. However, they will make life easier for everyday users. The change that did catch our attention, though, was compatibility between versions. Granted, compatibility will only go from SolidWorks 2012 SP5 to 2013, but it is a start, and it won’t force you to upgrade if you don’t want or need to. So, you better have a current maintenance agreement to take advantage of it.
Finally, and again, we heard (from several impeccable sources) that the future platform for SolidWorks will indeed be called “SolidWorks V6,” and will consist of several products. Admittedly, and for obvious reasons, details on V6 are being closely held to the chest, but for our purposes, that’s when the real excitement begins.
In the near future we’ll discuss more product-specific things we learned at SolidWorks World, from both SolidWorks and some its partners, because that’s where the action is for us.
Also, check the MCADCafe.com site for videos we recorded at SolidWorks World 2012 of SolidWorks partners and direct employees.
SolidWorks 2013 will be held January 20-23, 2013 at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin.
Editor’s Disclosure: SolidWorks provided hotel, meal, and registration expenses for the event, but did not influence observations or comments.
The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
HP unveiled its all-in-one workstation with a 27-inch diagonal display.Built for CAD, digital media, and entertainment professionals, the HP Z1 provides blazingly fast rendering and performance. Highlights include:
Workstation performance. Features professional NVIDIA Quadro graphics, ECC memory, quad-core Intel Xeon processors, independent software vendor solutions and whisper-quiet acoustics.
Tool-less chassis. Users can easily add a hard drive, upgrade memory or access the graphics card by snapping open the chassis to swap out parts.
Workstation-class storage. Users can choose from a variety of storage types, including 7.2K and 10K SATA, SSD, optional RAID configurations, removable drives (AMO), a multiformat media card reader and optical drives including a slot-load Blu-ray Writer.
Professional display. The 27-inch white LED diagonal display supports more than a billion colors and features a wide, 178-degree viewing angle and an in-plane switching (IPS) panel.
HP Remote Graphics Software.
HP Performance Advisor.
The HP Z1 Workstation is expected to be available worldwide in April. Pricing starts at $1,899 (US).
Theorem Solutions announcedits latest visualization products helping resolve the issue of working with JT data for the CATIA community. Theorem's JT to 3DXML CADverter makes accurate JT data available to users of CATIA V5, 3DLive, 3DVIA Composer, Delmia, and Enovia.Dassault Systemes strategic XCAD and Siemens JT Open technology ensures full compatibility, delivers high quality data and business benefits with the latest version of Theorem’s JT to 3DXML CADverter.Theorem’s JT to 3DXML CADverter is easy to use, saves time and reduces costs through not having to re-work data, also removing the occurrence of manual errors.The JT to 3DXML product is available on Windows XP, Vista and 7,
32- and 64-bit platforms. Access to a licensed copy of CATIA V5 is required for operation.
Aras announced the latest release of Aras Enterprise PLM (Aras EPLM) for SolidWorks Enterprise PDM. New features include Redline Revision Comparison, Dynamic Team Collaboration Security, Enterprise Virtualization, and even better SolidWorks-style look and feel and more. Release highlights include:
SolidWorks Look and Feel - New SolidWorks EPDM screen design further simplifies use for SolidWorks designers.
Redline Revision Comparison - Makes it quick and easy to visually identify and compare changes to Bill of Materials (BOMs), suppliers, documents, and more.
Dynamic Team Collaboration Security - Enables the definition of collaboration teams on-the-fly for any item or group of items such as a BOM and related MCAD, EDA and software/firmware files for easy extended enterprise collaboration.
Enterprise Virtualization - Comprehensive support for data center virtualization enabling distributed deployment scenarios across physical server infrastructure resources.
Anark Corp. announced its new 3D MBE capability integrated into SolidWorks 2012, called Anark Core MBEWorks. Anark Core MBEWorks transforms SolidWorks 2012 parts and assemblies with 3D linear dimensions and tolerances, 3D GD&T, and other 3D notes into high-resolution 3D PDF and 3D HTML MBE documents. These open format documents contain manufacture-quality B-REP geometry, interactive associativity (between features and their 3D Dimensions and Tolerances per ASME Y14.41 "visual response"), and "machine readable" semantic definitions for each component part. With MBEWorks you can transform SolidWorks 3D Parts, Assemblies with 3D Dimension and Tolerance data into 3D MBE Technical Data
Packages (TDPs), Requests for Quotes, Digital Work Instructions, Inspection Documents and other 3D PDF and 3D HTML based manufacturing process documents.
Tech Soft 3D, the leading provider of 3D component technology to the engineering software industry, today announced that Kenesto, a business process automation system for manufacturing, will feature Tech Soft 3D technology. Kenesto will use Tech Soft 3D's HOOPS Exchange for 3D CAD conversion and HOOPS Visualize for visualization. Michael Payne, CEO of Kenesto, said, "The promise of the HOOPS technologies from the outset is to provide our customers with flexible development tools for deploying unique applications in a range of environments, and on a range of platforms," added Ron Fritz, CEO of Tech Soft 3D. "Our 350+ HOOPS customers demonstrate our long history of providing solutions
for desktop and mobile environments. With its exciting new approach, Kenesto is the perfect partner to demonstrate our ability to help developers deploy rich applications in cloud environments."
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of
MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
Email Contact or 719.221.1867.
SolidWorks World 2012: The Road Ahead
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.