One size doesn’t fit all. We know that. Engineers are using multiple tools. Shifting context is complex. For years, CAD and PLM companies have been trying to create a single UI, system or application. Despite all these efforts, to integrate multiple applications or tasks is remaining a very challenging requirements. Going back 15-20 years ago, integration between PDM and CAD systems was a big deal. Today to have integrated data management and design environment is almost natural.
Mobile environment is introducing new type of integration challenges between application. It started as a complete “single app” environment. Slowly, mobile OS made a progress towards running multiple applications, context switch and multiple tasks. In many situations to run multiple applications simultaneously can help to streamline processes and provide seamless user experience. The number of mobile application developers is increasing and it will drive the demand to run multiple applications and integrate them together.
There are some good technological news here. My attention caught Gigaom article – Why 2015 may be the year of multiple mobile apps on one screen. It speaks about few mobile devices enabling to run multiple mobile applications in a single screen. Apple fans won’t be disappointed too. According the the following article Apple is also working on how to bring multiple applications into single iPad screen in iOS8.
It made me think about how engineering software will be able to leverage this technological opportunity. There are few scenarios that I see here – 1/ share and collaborate on 3D/2D data; 2/ presenting metadata (for example, bill of material) alongside with 3D model; 3/ use communication software in a background (video, voice, chat). I’m sure there are many more.
What is my conclusion? Engineering software is complex and often requires presenting multiple information data sets together. Functionally, multiple applications from different vendors can be used for that. To shift a context is complex task. Users will be looking how to have a better user experience and application integration. To use multiple apps in a single screen is a step in a right direction to provide better mobile CAD and PLM user experience. Just my thoughts…