How We Can Move Design and Engineering Content to Web?

design-on-the-cloudWeb is coming to every place. I think in retrospective and see web as a next big change in the space we call today CAD/CAM/PDM/PLM. How to re-use power of web for global product development and manufacturing? I see multiple initiatives cloud services, collaborative spaces, social networks etc.. However, I think, when we are coming to practical implementations, there are multiple factors that preventing companies from wider web adoption. So, what are those factors?

Security and IP protection
No doubts, this is top rated concern. Companies are considering Design and Engineering content as their IP and not running fast to upload information on web servers. How it can be resolved? I think, in order to crush ice in IP protection, companies need to focus on the areas where web usage can be really beneficial for the business standpoint. A huge potential here, in my view, is in Supply Chain and IP trading. These two areas are, by definition, exposed outside the company. Introducing new services that able to sell IP as well as optimize global supply chain, can be very interesting. Just to make some parallel with newspaper and books business, which is more active this time in comparison to B2B relationship. Google just announced that they will develop micropayments system to allow limited content availability online. Such services can become a foundation of IP trading for manufacturing companies too.

Content Granularity
This is an important enabler, in my view. You cannot trade something that not granular enough. You need to be able to break your IP into selling pieces, something that can be re-used. In most of today’s systems you need to work hard even to send it to your supplier. Systems nature and IP protection are the main reasons why it happens. CAD and PLM companies need to think how to change this status-quo and becomes more open and less protective.

Accessibility and Change Management
So, you have your content, but how you can access it online? Even more, how you can manage changes of this content. Sounds like an internal problem you have today in the organization. However, moving to web, it will become a global problem in a global IP trading and supply chain. In order to change this situation we need to develo online systems to work on online content. You need to stop focus on file transfer. You will just access your online system to work on everything you have.

Well, sounds too futuristic? Maybe, but bear in mind, web is moving very fast. I think the lesson learned by publishing, news and other media companies need to be learned by CAD/PLM community in order to gain power for the future engineering and manufacturing systems.

Best, Oleg


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  • I see a disconnect relative to IP. Our target customer monetize IP by selling physical product, not by trading in their knowledge or electronic definition of product.

  • I am amazed by how many people have a concern with cloud based design solutions yet the same person uses online banking and feels totally safe attaching a model or drawing to an email.

  • Semiconductor is an example of an industry that sells IP as more of a virtual product. In chip design, companies like ARM sell their IP (microprocessors) as design blocks rather than hard, packaged product. The IP is granular, as you can access full or partial deliverables in many type of semiconductor IP. There are certainly a lot of IP exchange forums, but a challenge is in how companies bring that IP back into their design teams. Another is tracking all of the agreements and restrictions that go with the IP. But semiconductor IP seems like it goes along with your thoughts, Oleg.

  • Rick do they sell silicon or do they just sell the design for someone else to fab?

  • Chris, agree, IP is not the only thing to sell, but your design have value probably independently of physical product. And you want to re-use, re-sell… make sense? Oleg

  • Chris, this is overall perception. Banks, e-commerce are considered as safe. However, drawing on cloud is not. Gmail is an interesting paradox. Not all people understood that Gmail account is practically 10GB Cloud saving account :)… Oleg

  • Rick, I think Rosetta Net is a good example of exchange processes and information in this industry. Not IP trading yet, of course. What is your view on what RN does? Thanks, Oleg

  • Of course a design has value. The product is just the physical representation of the design and this is what is sold. I do not think you can mix reuse and sell together, they have nothing in common. Most IP theft is not done through high tech means, bribes and dumpster diving is more effective. Besides there is not much differance between a disk in the cloud and a disk in your center – if some one wants the data they will find a way to get it. What portions of illusion, perception and reality make up security?

  • Chris, I’m sure there are many reliable ways for IP theft (even if product design is NOT on the cloud). The perception is different and this is a combination of knowledge level, IT practices and overall illusion about what is secured and what is not.

  • Oleg,I see this as an opportunity for PLM vendors to introduce IP Security products to the market or have a tie up with Network Security vendors to beef up the security of IP.When software companies are able to protect their IP(Source code) with some security measures then having Design and Engineering Content on the Web shouldn’t be an issue or a concern.

  • Ajit, Thanks for your comment! I agree. PLM vendors need to think about data protection and security beyond firewall. The issue is very critical, in my view, for supply chain and will become even more critical in the future as soon as additional data distribution mechanisms will be introduced. Security and protection need to be “content-oriented” and not “system-oriented”. Best, Oleg

  • Hi all, I’ve just found this blog/site and the postings and comments are really interesting. In terms of security outside the firewall. I’m not sure I can comment on everything in your posting but there are already PLM services in the cloud where your IP is stored ‘out there’, however this does not deal with some of the issues raised. In terms of an IP protection system for CAD models, have readers seen this? This is a solution that we currently provide to our customers and the feedback has been positive.

  • Hello Gavin, Thanks for your comment and reference to PTC. Looking on PTC RMS information, I see pre-req for Adobe LiveCycle ES System. Do you know, if PTC functionality is based Adobe LC server? Regards, Oleg