Serious Joke – Why CAD needs to Tweet?

Serious Joke – Why CAD needs to Tweet?

Well, finally it happened 🙂 (April 1 SpaceClaim Twitter AddIn Prank) – the first CAD system to present integration with Twitter. So, is it April-1 joke or something positive happens?


I’d try to analyze the following product capabilities –  DS 3DLive support for IM, Vuuch Design Discussion, SpaceClaim with Twitter…  My conclusion – CADs are learning social language.





But let’s try to analyze it

 DS 3DLive introduced enablement for IM (Instant messaging and online video collaboration). This is a powerful capability, in my view, to allow designers and engineers working in a 3D environment where they need to communicate with peers and get in touch with experts. The capabilities of 3DLive allow full 3D collaboration including video, snapshots and synchronous redlining. These basically can eliminate the need of designers and engineers to use mails and other mainstream collaboration tools to transfer 3D models and drawings back and forth. Combined with MS OCS or IBM Lotus, 3DLive is a collaboration tool. But where is the social network?  This is not straightforward– collaboration tools like MS OCS /SharePoint of IBM Lotus actually supporting social networking, can connect designers and engineers to their peers inside of the companies and outside.

 From the preview of which I got the chance to see at SolidWorks World 2009 this year, my impression was that Vuuch is trying to focus on the productivity of designers and engineers by eliminating having to use email for collaboration. The Vuuch collaboration server (hope this is the right name J) allows users to manage all discussions thread and connect them to design models, drawings in the CAD environment, and in the regular portal user experience.

Although it’s not clear what SpaceClaim users will do with tweets, this is an opportunity to have a shortcut to Twitter based communities  in their working environment. This is a step in productivity improvements.

 So, I want to ask why CADs need to tweet? What are benefits? I can see a main trend in the willingness of designers and engineers to improve collaborative capabilities they have in CAD environment as well as stay connected to their social peers. These social peers can be co-workers, potential customers, suppliers and other people that can help them in their daily work. I think is too early to say if this is the future of Web 2.0 and CAD in creating something together, another flavor of PLM 2.0, or something else, but something is definitely happening there… 




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  • Oleg,
    You ask a series of good questions. I think the SpaceClaim video was absolutely hysterical (and poked fun at a lot of those I know on Twitter to boot). On the serious side, it points out some of the downside of social networking – distraction.

    What really needs to happen is a thorough review of what/where/when/how Twitter (and other social computing capabilities) can provide real business value. Like any technology, it is all in how it will be utilized. I don’t believe there is one single advantage to a “Twitter-like” capability in CAD/PLM – I think it will provide different value to Marketing than it does to Engineering than it does to Manufacturing. And, it will vary by industry and even company. I think it is up to us to help shed some light on how the capabilities might be used – and then up to the manufacturers to map it into their business strategy. Simply adding the technology will not create new business value, and has the potential to disrupt it.

    So joking aside, it’s time for us to explore this technology to improve product innovation, product development, and engineering. It will be very interesting to watch it develop.

    Look for more on later this week, this has prompted a blog idea that I will explore later this week. Or, just watch for me to post it on Twitter. 🙂

  • Jim, thanks for your comments! I think CAD is yelling on strangers (this is my view of SpaceClaim demo joke) fundamentally confirms fact that designers are looking for better way to collaborate. I will come with these ideas in following blogs… Keep twittering :)…

  • I’m a social media guy but lets forget that for now and look at twitter as a tool. Why add it to your existing toolbox of email, RSS feeds, and CAD newsgroups? Here are my reasons:

    1.) Discovery – Who are the CAD folks out there? What do they do? Where is the good information? (BTW, thanks Jim for this point )

    2.) Realtime news – Earthquake, plane crash – it will be on twitter first. If something in the CAD world happens, you will see it on twitter first too.

    3.) Search Ranking – Useful information, good blogs, interesting news will get retweeted. Questions can get answered in real time. Sure, google is nice but its not as nice as real people “ranking” the content and answering questions.

    Do you need twitter to be a better drafter? Probably not. IMHO, the more you depend on others to be successful, the more useful it becomes.

  • Mark, great perspective! I think realtime news and earthquake is really important. This is part of social media we can leverage in general. There is nothing specific here that related to CAD (or just design /engineering space). But, I think, online media and tools (like twitter) open new page in collaboration and therefore designers are looking for new ways to collaborate. -Oleg.

  • Sorry for the delay, but I wanted to share some additional thoughts on Oleg’s post. I thought that the SpaceClaim joke presents a great opportunity to discuss what social computing in PLM should not be. I think their spoof says a lot, and I am attempting to continue the discussion here:
    What I Learned: Why Social Networking in PLM is a (Really) Bad Idea

  • Jim,
    I think you presented very balanced point by saying social networking as well as technology behind products such as twitter, yammer etc. need to become part of solid PLM strategy. My view on this, as well as on other emerging technological trends, is that they normally appear as result of big dissatisfaction, user pain and need to improve something. Even if we will consider SpaceClaim Twitter joke as really bad, it presents today’s dissatisfaction of people with level collaboration they have in enterprise systems. And this is additional reason why we will see Enterprise 2.0 make bigger steps forward even in today’s economical situation.


  • What was funny to me is how MORE intrusive the message was when it was in my application versus my tool bar. When it pops up in my tool bar i just ignore it, but when it pops up in my application I need to do something! I hope this was a joke…

  • Chris, in this context I just can only add “telephone experience”. For many people “phone call” is attention break. Whatever you are doing, you are answering… The same is here. If app you are working IN is sending you message -you got attention. -Oleg

  • Yes but with the phone you can ignore it. With what they did with Twitter you actually need to do something in order to ignore it… This is a very big differance. That said you are right that we are trained to answer the phone when it rings.

  • we just need to train ourselves how to close tweetdesk :)…

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  • Done properly, a Twitter advertising campaign can have a massive effect on customers and sales whether your business is online or offline. |If you are utilizing Twitter for the internet marketing, you would be aware of the importance of the followers, It is a fact that there is no use in Twitter if you cannot get the other users to follow you.

  • Tweet Adder, thanks for your comment! You are right – followers are the key in twitter-community… Best, Oleg