PLM Downstream – Sent from my iPad?

I had a chance to read “Sent from my iPad”  on VEKTORRM last week. Dave Angelotti discussed an option to use iPad as a field device. It seems interesting. It made me think about lots of un-realized options for PLM innovation in downstream. Last year, I wrote – PLM content downstream usage, Googlenomic and Futuristic Search. Looking now on this post it seems to me much less futuristic. iPad experience helps… I decided to put few “downstream scenarios” and hope to get more ideas from you.

PLM Downstream Scenarios

(1) Sales. I can see many scenarios where sales-people will be able to have an access to configured catalog of products to facilitate sales. This is a dumb simple scenario. However, the complexity of the scenario is to have it well integrated with other systems.

(2) Manufacturing Shopfloor. In my view, there is an opportunity to use it to replace printed documents on the shopfloor. Do you think it may work? I talked to few people about this option last week. They told that iPad screen size is probably too small. Or maybe we need to wait for iBoard (you can take a look on the following joke about iPhone-iPad-iBoard-iMat)?

(3) Maintenance Operation. This is another similar to manufacturing shopfloor situation. The accessibility of the device may play a key role in getting an access to the right information during maintenance procedures.

The Missing Part of Puzzle?

Do you think device is important? My bet is yes. Sometime, innovative ideas have a very long path to people. To make them possible the unique combination of events needs to happen. It might be cost of components, environment or just device or available technology. The ultimate goal is to get rid of paper from downstream. This is a real innovative goal, in my view. It makes a lot of sense from various standpoints – information access, ecology, etc. Don’t you think iPad is the missing part of Puzzle to make it happen?

What is my conclusion? From my experience, the following three iPad characteristics ultimately help to iPad proliferation in downstream – (1) Lightweight; (2) Connectivity; (3) Power consumption. I think iPad creates a significant option for PLM (and BIM) innovation in the downstream applications- sales, manufacturing facilities, field operations, etc. What I like in iPad is an ability to create a platform for lots of powerful and focused applications. Not a big PLM show, focus matters!

Best, Oleg


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  • Willem

    If its one way communication, Kindle is cheaper and less likely to get stolen/carried off site.

    For pads in and out of peoples hands, the bigger the screen, the softer it will have to be. The cost of cracked iPad screens could be prohibitive. Screens in hands need to be able to bend (at least a bit)

  • Kindle is definitely iPad competitors in such a type of apps. Cost is a good factor to compete. However, Apple coolness is another factor you need to take into account. In my view, it was a reason why many companies moved to iPhones. Best, Oleg

  • Srividhya VS

    For the differently abled, this is an easier equipment to handle to be able to express and work with the rest of the world.

  • Srividhya, thanks for your comment. I agree, in many situations handling iPad is much more easier than a laptop. Especially when you collaborate with other people. Best, Oleg