6 reasons Why Google Wave will Change PLM Collaboration

 It’s impossible to speak about collaboration these days, in my opinion,  without touching Google Wave. I analyzed multiple presentations, demos, videos, analyzes and would like to present my take on the 6 top reasons as to why Wave will change today’s PLM collaboration world.

 1.    Real Time

Everything happens at the same time. You are typing, uploading, searching. You can be absolutely synchronized with your colleagues and other people involved into this collaboration process. Real-time is important because in today’s life, many forms of asynchronous collaboration and/or communication create more problems rather than benefits – and this need to change. If you look at products like 3DLive,  you will see the initial appearance of online collaboration. But with the invention of GW, you will get additional performance and adaptation boost.

 2.    Online Content

Staying connected online and in real-time, actually, opens additional doors for people who are interested in online content – IP, documents, Bill of Materials. Since Wave facilitates storage of documents on the cloud, this is will be an important overall shift toward such technologies.

 3.    Embedded

Everything you are doing in GW can be embedded into the content with which Wave operates. So, from this standpoint, future PLM implementations will be able more easily to include 3D models and drawings and documents in your Collaborative Waves. Even though I still want to see how this will happen, in my opinion, it will still give an additional push for the development of technologies which will be able to merge the collaboration of one set of data with other sources of PLM data.  

 4.    Playback History

This is the killer function, in my view. The ability to play back everything you do will be the ultimate goal for all people in PLM dealing with the comparison of history (i.e. what WAS done) vs. the future (what is being proposed by the current user).

 5.    Federation

Wave will be unique and be able to run and be synchronized on multiple instances of Wave Servers. The only association that comes to my mind in this context is past SMTP implementation. I think that GW will provide a new communication model with distributed services. So, I will be able to host my GW server, let people work with this server, and collaborate with other servers.

 6.    Automation and Extensions

This is the golden age of everything. The ability to extend GW will bring many additional people and implementations so that end-users will gain even greater benefits.

 Please, note, there is no order of importance. The current order is absolutely not scientific and reflects my memory of Google Wave stuff, and not the memory of Google itself (whom I cannot compete withJ).

 So, even if GW is still not available for a wider audience, I think we can already learn a bit about how collaboration will occur in the future.

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  • Oleg,
    I wonder how much Google Wave will be directly applicable to PLM, versus setting a new paradigm that will be adopted by PLM. Do you think:

    – Google will bring something to market?
    – PLM vendors will leverage GW directly?
    – PLM vendors will implement similar capabilities to GW?
    – All of the above

    I would have to guess that Google won’t do it on their own because the addressable market is too small (for Google). I don’t know how easy it is to work with Google as an architecture provider to leverage something like this in your solutions. Is it possible? Is that part of the business model? If not, then I think we end up with the last option. PLM providers learn from the new paradigm and implement using their own (or some other architecture provider’s) capabilities.

    I am curious what you or your readers think. I had a comment on my last blog (comment from Ed here http://snurl.com/jz5al)that suggested Google as an example of blurred lines between applications and collaboration. They are clearly a different animal (Google), but I wonder how much they care about addressing a complex and vertically-oriented market like PLM.

    [Oleg] Jim, I think we don’t know yet what will happen. My main point is that, sometime, fundamental change need to be done. Who will do it – Google, Microsoft, current PLM vendors or new company(ies) is not clear. But GW is something that have potential for shift things, in my view. This is still need to be more mature in order to replace today’s technology come for such small vertical place as PLM, but it will happen for sure.

  • PS – I forgot to mention, that was a nice and informative post.

    [Oleg] Jim, thanks!

  • solidsmack

    ok, I’m glad you guys ‘get it’ first of all. I agree that it has potential to change how we collaborate, but even more for how we work in general. The expectation automatically changes from ‘then’ to ‘now’ and with better ways to distribute large data-sets of information across the web, this is going to play a direct role into how we function within a CAD/PLM environment.

    I don’t think this will be just a tool (like email, word processing) that we’ll use to make decision faster, I think it will directly influence development of the vert market apps we play with and there’s certainly the idea of tying them together within a corporate framework (lookout sharepoint), but completely in the cloud with no need for server setup/maintenance.

    Further, imagine Google applying the same tech to any of it’s other applications (Google Apps, Picasa, Sketchup)

    So, I think developers need to be aware of how Wave works, see how it’s going to be used (just as Email took on a mind of it’s own, Wave could) and realize the technology trend toward a real-time environment.

    Awesome, awesOME post Oleg

  • Jovan

    Oleg > I think some (if not all) PLM vemdors should ask the same question as Google did for Wave… What PLM would look like if it was invented now?
    I agree 100% on what you describe on your post.
    Jim > I don’t think google cares about PLM (the ROI is too long for them), but google cares about being at the center of everything. I see those two options:
    – PLM vendors will create plug ins/add-on to integrate with their data management system, I see GW as a community portal that manage some document and a PLM DB for all engineering content and business processes. Honestly, I have been dreaming of that for a loooonnng time now!
    – PLM vendors will try to copy it, but I think they will not succeed. Why? just try to compare UI simplicty of usage of PLM systems. You will realize that for all of them, the approach is close to a thick client. It’s PLM 0.5. For all of them. It begins to change, but we’re not here yet.
    That’s why I think that at some stage, we should reinvent the PLM, and given the comments I see here and other blogs, there are lot’s of people that would be ready to do so.

    > solidsmack
    Imagine this kind of collaboration on CATIA, Pro/E or Soldworks model… Working on the same big part at the same time, the dream of many designers (might be a big mess though at 1st, but the idea is seductive..) !!

  • Jovan,
    I am all for reinventing PLM. But who will do it? I believe we have come to a point in the market where we have very established players, with significant (and valuable) legacy applications. Are we prepared for a revolution? I think that most manufacturers will expect (and maybe even appreciate?) an evolution instead. So I see extensions to existing PLM solutions and rearchitected in place as the more natural path than pure reinvention. The PLM vendors will continue to make progress, and I believe adopt some of the new concepts like GW as third party architectural components. If not from Google, from whoever else builds the next generation of collaborative infrastructure and makes it:
    a) Easy to adopt as a part of the technology stack
    b) Open to customization by the PLM vendors to meet the unique needs of engineering and product development
    Maybe Microsoft? IBM? Or maybe Google themselves, I don’t know. But I agree that the PLM vendors would be hard-pressed to build it themselves. In fact, I think it would probably be a poor investment. That should come as part of the technology stack below the application level (in my opinion).

    Can somebody else innovate enough to displace existing PLM? Anyone that is motivated to do it? As you say, there are reasons that PLM is unattractive to companies like Google.

    Good conversation!

    [Oleg] Jim, Jovan, excellent questions. I don’t think we have answers today. Evolution is not always right way to do work. MS took over IBM because MS was less structured and moved faster. Google is much less structured company in the way they build their software. Think about today’s PLM and ERP vendors that play PLM game too. This is almost topic for next blog :)…. Oleg

  • What big differences or advantages do you see to products like Webex, or gotomypc? I know being free is a big one. But I have not had to much time to read in detail and do a comparison. I am just curious if you can think of a list of comparisons.

    [Oleg] Michael, I don’t think people need to compare. They do some simple steps in my view (1) read what other people are doing; (2) ask; (3) try. So, my is that not all people are doing researches and comparisons. There are some markets and geos where this is more appropriated way, but not ww, in my view. Best-Oleg

  • [Oleg] Jim, I think we don’t know yet what will happen. My main point is that, sometime, fundamental change need to be done. Who will do it – Google, Microsoft, current PLM vendors or new company(ies) is not clear. But GW is something that have potential for shift things, in my view. This is still need to be more mature in order to replace today’s technology come for such small vertical place as PLM, but it will happen for sure.

  • Josh, I agree- GW can show some fundamental shifts in collaboration, but it will not come as tool. It will come by applying multiple changes on how system behaves and how new technologies will change what today’s system just cannot do by definition. In my view some immature product/technologies/approaches will die and it will change overall landscape in CAD/PLM environment… Great discussion! Thanks for your comments! Oleg.

    solidsmack
    admin@solidsmack.com
    Submitted on 2009/06/12 at 1:27pm
    ok, I’m glad you guys ‘get it’ first of all. I agree that it has potential to change how we collaborate, but even more for how we work in general. The expectation automatically changes from ‘then’ to ‘now’ and with better ways to distribute large data-sets of information across the web, this is going to play a direct role into how we function within a CAD/PLM environment.

    I don’t think this will be just a tool (like email, word processing) that we’ll use to make decision faster, I think it will directly influence development of the vert market apps we play with and there’s certainly the idea of tying them together within a corporate framework (lookout sharepoint), but completely in the cloud with no need for server setup/maintenance.

    Further, imagine Google applying the same tech to any of it’s other applications (Google Apps, Picasa, Sketchup)

    So, I think developers need to be aware of how Wave works, see how it’s going to be used (just as Email took on a mind of it’s own, Wave could) and realize the technology trend toward a real-time environment.

    Awesome, awesOME post Oleg

  • Jovan, I agree, GW presents something big. And people in other industries, ISVs etc. need to analyze, ask all questions and see how it make sense. I don’t see Google these days is playing in enterprise verticals (like PLM), but I indeed see some potentials. And yes :)…idea is seductive!. Oleg.

  • Jovan

    > Jim

    I don’t think we have to reinvent the infrastructure. These kind of things need maturation. What needs to be reinvented is the way the user work and collaborate with a PLM.

    [Oleg] Short question: do you think way user work and collaboration are disconnected from technological /infrastructure level?

  • Jovan, do you think way user work and collaboration are disconnected from technological /infrastructure level?

  • Hello Oleg-

    I just signed up for the notification of when Wave goes live.

    A few worries:

    All my IP lives on Google’s servers? I’m nervous about that. What if it is hacked? What if IP spying is pervasive?

    Will Google become Big Brother and hold all the world’s data on their machines?

    Devon

  • Devon, In my view Google is pretending to organize all data… Also they behave very open. At the same time, today, there are places where we trust and believe this is ok to put data there (i.e. banks etc.). There are situation where we dependent on software even if we own physical files (i.e. CAD system). Most of World’s finance information is located on IBM mainframes… do you worry about it? -Oleg

  • Hi Oleg,

    When I looked at the GW presentation, it was immediately apparent that you had to separate the GW “application” from the GW “platform”. Sure…there were some cool features in the application and how they presented it (like you, loved the playback). But there are some things that weren’t exactly my cup of tea. On the other hand, the applications were made possible by the potential of the platform. That was the most exciting thing to me. I didn’t dig deeper into what goes on behind the curtain. Sure, in a demo everything goes fast and fairly smooth. But what does that mean in real life? I’m looking forward to hearing more about how it will handle large (and extremely large) data sets, such as the exchange of design data over the web. I’m exciting by the what I’ve seen so far.

  • Hi Rick,

    Agree, demo is always nice, but in my view there is big potential in core capability of GW platform related to Operational Transformation (OT) – http://blogs.gartner.com/ray_valdes/2009/05/31/the-secret-sauce-behind-google-wave/.

    I hope you had chance to see files uploading and ability to see files in parallel during uploading on second machine. This is shows significant portion of collaboration potential.

    So far, I share your excitement.

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