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iPad

Mobile is fascinating these days. The growth rates are amazing. Learning from publicly available sources, the growth of mobile internet usage will outperform regular desktop and laptop traffic. So, we are clearly moving towards a mobile future. What does it mean for CAD and PLM vendors? They clearly don’t want to stay outside of the mobile excitement and join the party. The amount of mobile applications is growing. You can hardly find CAD / PDM / PLM vendor that didn’t join iPhone / iPad story these days. However, is it so simple to become mobile? I had a chance to post about it earlier – Mobile PLM gold-rush. Did vendors miss the point? The main conclusion I’ve made was simple: mobile won’t work “old fashion way”. To come a say – we have product “A”, but now we have a product “A-Mobile” doesn’t work. Vendors need to stop and think about specific apps that can improve productivity of people by using mobile devices in specific situation and scenarios.

Today, I want to talk about mobile and touch user experience. In my view, it is very related to the productivity. For the last 5 years, we’ve seen how touch UX revolution changed the whole mobile industry. One of the most lessons is about how to make an efficient user experience.  Bad user experience can make mobile and touch story pretty much useless. This is what makes a difference. It is cool to say – yes we do touch and mobile. Most of the companies can say that these days. However, to make it practical and useful is another important step.

The following article caught my attention last week – Excerpt From The New Book “The Mobile Frontier” by Rachel Hinman. Navigate your browser to this article and have a read. Actually, I bought a book and find it very useful. I found some very interesting examples about how to design efficient touch user interfaces. The following passage outline the main problem developers can face when creating an efficient touch interface:

One of the key challenges of creating touch interfaces is ensuring they are… well, touchable. While touch interfaces enable more intuitive and direct manipulation of information, there are three important design considerations to take into account when creating a mobile touch UI: (1) Optimize for generous touch targets, (2) Map the screen for touch, (3) Lead with the content, not the interface.

Few pictures below from the article show you how sensitive can be optimization of user interface elements and touch interaction optimizations. It related to the screen size, positioning of controls and content. It is also different for smaller devices (like iPhone) and larger devices such as tablet computers (eg. iPad).

Another example (Flipboard) shows how important is the right choice of control placements.

What is my conclusion? Most of the vendors already made a first step by saying – yes, we can do mobile and touch applications. However, some of these apps can make customers quite disappointing. It is not an easy task to make people performance efficient when work on a touch device. This is a right time to move from “enabling” to “efficiency” for touch PLM. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Pictures credit to “The Mobile Frontier” book article.

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For the last couple of years, I’ve been following iPad application appearance in the space of engineering and manufacturing. I expected this application to come much earlier. So, I wanted to say the same word Ricky Jordan said in his blog. Finally! SolidWorks (or how it is named now 3DS SolidWorks) just made a release of e-Drawing iPAD application. It is available on the App Store. I installed it on my iPad just few hours ago. It looks very nice. Email integration is supported. In addition, it is capable of viewing other formats (you may note licensing terms going to TechSoft3D, Open Design Alliance and few others) in about section.

Home screen, menus, controls – everything looks familiar to somebody who is using iPad. Side bar is nice and allows you to navigate inside of assembly. I didn’t find support for views, measurement, and other useful functions. I believe SolidWorks keeps it for future versions.

Below you can see a video SolidWorks released with a short demo.

How to buy?

The price is $1.99. The Apple iTunes policy is complicated when it comes to corporate purchasing. Does e-Drawing iPad app worth $1.99? My answer is yes. Will engineers buy e-Drawing iPad for $1.99? A good question. I’d be very interested to see the number of uploads within few weeks and months.

What is my conclusion? Later is better than never. I think, many of SolidWorks users will appreciate e-Drawing iPad app. I’m going to experiment how easy to use e-Drawing as a viewer on my iPad in addition to other mobile apps I already have from Autodesk and other vendors. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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One year ago, I posted – PLM and Post-PC era. It is interesting to read back and think about the same topics again. Mobile revolution. We are living in this now. Our personal life became much more mobile in the last 2-3 years. Post-PC era and revolution made by table computers changed the way we consume data and use it in our everyday life. CAD/PLM companies are on the run to create “mobile” and “tablet” applications for everything. However, I want to stop for a moment and think. Are we on the right track? Do we need to make “everything mobile” and “everything tablet”. At the end of the day, I didn’t stop using my laptop since I started to use my iPad.

I’ve been reading CIO magazine yesterday. The article Why Mobile CRM are slow to take off? by David Taber caught my attention. Have a read and make you own conclusion. To me, it makes a lot of sense. The following reasons are why the enterprise mobile apps for CRM are not taking off quickly. Here is my favorite passage:

The Comprehensiveness Thing. Here’s a fine how-de-do: In the paragraphs above, I said the dedicated mobile CRM apps are too complicated for a small device. And now I’m going to say that the dedicated mobile CRM apps aren’t capable enough when used on a phone. If you need to look up something in the CRM, you’re likely to also need to look up something else or take some action in a related Enterprise app. Whether it’s accounting (Refund issued?), or ERP (inventory available to promise?), or an external logistics app (where is that FedEx tracking number?), users need to check systems that are outside the immediate purview of a CRM. So you’ll either need to have a hell of a lot of integration points (which would take a lot of custom coding inside some dedicated CRM mobile app) or you’ll need access to an internal portal. This all points to the need to use a multi-tabbed browser for access to multiple systems. So in most cases, the browser trumps dedicated CRM mobile apps.

This “comprehensiveness thing is very resonating with my thought about PLM and mobile. Most of the CAD/PLM vendors today create mobile and table applications that “kind-of identical” to their regular products. Windchill Mobile, TeamCenter Mobile, etc.

When it absolutely great that software can converge to mobile and tablet platforms, in my view it raises a concern – why people will move from large screens and comfortable keyboard to smaller tablet real estate. I think, a better idea for mobile and tablets is to think about applications that can be used to perform a specific task. I want to have ECO mobile app on my iPhone to make an approval when I’m on go. Alternatively, I can review my tasks list before working day or in the airport. Sales person or maintenance technician may have an app that can search for a particular drawing or visualization.

What is my conclusion? I think, vendors did miss the point in the overall mobile gold rush. To make “all tablet” won’t work for product development software. To stop and think about a specific productivity apps that can solve a particular problem is the right way to go. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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PLM and Multiplatform Development

December 28, 2011

Please welcome a new-old word – multiplatform. When did you hear about for the last time? For those of you counting 15+ years in the industry it reminds the time CAD was a place of heavy workstation with ***NIX operation systems, etc. For a very long period of time, CAD and PLM were a place […]

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PLM and The Future of Appification

December 6, 2011

Mobile is very important nowadays. More and more people these days discovering opportunities to use “mobile version of something“. It is interesting to see how the market of devices is affecting the development of products. To leverage the power of the device becomes absolutely important. I was reading TNW blog yesterday – Google Just Used […]

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PLM User Experience, Windows 8 and the End of Desktop

June 5, 2011

Some time ago, I wrote about future user experience – PUI: Not PLM UI. Future User experience. One of the fundamental elements of user experience for the last 20 years was the desktop. The organization of desktop didn’t change since first was invented together with file system and first versions of Windows. The Microsoft announcement […]

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PLM and Post-PC Era

April 5, 2011

I found an increased trend of conversation around the “post-PC” topic. I found the conversation fascinating. Are we going to replace our PCs, workstations, laptops with mobile table devices like iPad 2? I’m not sure it is going to happen soon. I’ve been reading Gartner’s prediction about PC market dynamics as well PC World article […]

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3D/PLM and iPad: Future or Baloney?

January 29, 2011

I just discovered one interesting fact. Exactly, a year ago, on Jan 28th, I published my first blog post about iPad – Who can generate 3D/PLM content for iPad? A year passed since that time. In addition, earlier this week I wrote about SolidWorks n!Fuze. n!Fuze is a new collaborative cloud application from Dassault SolidWorks […]

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PLM Downstream – Sent from my iPad?

August 6, 2010

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 […]

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iPad and Enterprise PLM

July 28, 2010

iPad sales are skyrocketing. I read “Global CIO: Top 10 Reasons Steve Jobs & Apple Are The Future Of IT”. Take a look and make your opinion. My first impression was – CIO readers are those who potentially can face the end of their carrier if future Apple’s movement into enterprise organization will be so […]

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