Well, finally it happened 🙂 (April 1 SpaceClaim Twitter AddIn Prank) – the first CAD system to present integration with Twitter. So, is it April-1 joke or something positive happens?
I’d try to analyze the following product capabilities – DS 3DLive support for IM, Vuuch Design Discussion, SpaceClaim with Twitter… My conclusion – CADs are learning social language.
But let’s try to analyze it…
DS 3DLive introduced enablement for IM (Instant messaging and online video collaboration). This is a powerful capability, in my view, to allow designers and engineers working in a 3D environment where they need to communicate with peers and get in touch with experts. The capabilities of 3DLive allow full 3D collaboration including video, snapshots and synchronous redlining. These basically can eliminate the need of designers and engineers to use mails and other mainstream collaboration tools to transfer 3D models and drawings back and forth. Combined with MS OCS or IBM Lotus, 3DLive is a collaboration tool. But where is the social network? This is not straightforward– collaboration tools like MS OCS /SharePoint of IBM Lotus actually supporting social networking, can connect designers and engineers to their peers inside of the companies and outside.
From the preview of Vuuch.com which I got the chance to see at SolidWorks World 2009 this year, my impression was that Vuuch is trying to focus on the productivity of designers and engineers by eliminating having to use email for collaboration. The Vuuch collaboration server (hope this is the right name J) allows users to manage all discussions thread and connect them to design models, drawings in the CAD environment, and in the regular portal user experience.
Although it’s not clear what SpaceClaim users will do with tweets, this is an opportunity to have a shortcut to Twitter based communities in their working environment. This is a step in productivity improvements.
So, I want to ask why CADs need to tweet? What are benefits? I can see a main trend in the willingness of designers and engineers to improve collaborative capabilities they have in CAD environment as well as stay connected to their social peers. These social peers can be co-workers, potential customers, suppliers and other people that can help them in their daily work. I think is too early to say if this is the future of Web 2.0 and CAD in creating something together, another flavor of PLM 2.0, or something else, but something is definitely happening there…
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