PLM and Mobile Options

I think, mobile becomes more and more important every day. The amount of mobile devices surrounding us is growing. Today’s mobile devices are a powerful unit that can help us to handle many tasks when we are out of our desk. In my view, the decade of 2010s will change a lot in terms of mobile devices, environment, applications. I had chance to read a very summary by Lou Gallo about Mobile Engineering tools. Mobile revolution is going in two main directions – cool devices and services that available for multiple devices. I’m going to explore different options and opportunities, we have in this space.

Mobile Devices
You cannot be mobile without appropriated device. Recent introduction of Apple iPad is a game changer. Until now, mobile screen was a show stopper for many of us. I think it finally changed. I’m expecting new devices to come very soon. The connectivity, touch user interface and screen real estate will move innovation in this space.

Virtual Environments
It sounds like not completely related to “mobile” space. However, I see it an option to create my virtual environment and be connected to this virtual environment from every place. I see multiple directions of virtual environments. One of them is to replicate the overall environment you are running on your desktop to another desktop or mobile device. Another one is to make a granular access to the specific applications. The following video is an interesting demo of how possible to share multiple apps and use them remotely from iPad.

Cloud Applications
Cloud has a significant implication on the mobile option. Since application is not connected to the specific desktop environment, it opens the opportunity to use them everywhere. The simplest one is about sharing of your files and the content. I use the following two apps every day – Evernote and Dropbox. The idea is simple – you can use it every place and every device. Another example is the cloud application you can run on multiple devices. The best example is Google Apps or Microsoft Office apps online. The killer apps, in my view, for the engineering space will be Excel-like application.

PLM applications
I’m trying to figure out the right use cases for a mobile option in PLM. I think, granularity is a key here. In my view, we need to split our big systems into small pieces of services we can use when we need it. And mobility will be one of the drivers behind this process. I see multiple areas where PLM applications can be useful on different mobile devices – viewers, reporting applications, business process agents.

What is my conclusion today? Mobile options are growing. In my view, mobile is not about mobile phone or device. For me, the key point of a mobile option is about “deviceless”. We need to disconnect our applications from the particular devices and make it ubiquitous. The key problem I see with most of PLM modern PLM software is that granular access to the specific action actions and tasks is not always possible. We need to re-think our PLM apps in this dimension.

I’m looking forward to you sharing your mobile options and examples of PLM and engineering applications.
Best, Oleg



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  • Evernote and Dropbox are very cool applications. I always wondered how you managed to retrieve all those articles, graphs and videos. Thanks Oleg.

  • Sudarshan Shubakar

    One of the use cases that I can think of for the use of Mobile devices in PLM is Services. Typically PLM systems have a export interface which exports BOM/Parts Metadata into an excel(or some other offline format) that the service rep carries on his laptop to the customer’s site. This could be replaced by a mobile device that connects to the PLM system to reference data. Couple the mobile device with a camera and you have a complete real-time defect reporting mechanism, which could capture photos and videos of the Assembly in question. In short a service rep could trigger a change process right from the customer’s site.

    This could also prove as a powerful medium to feed back information on defective parts, designs, installations, etc. directly from the customer’s site to the cloud based PLM system. Inflow of bits and pieces of information from numerous customer sites could prove to be a key aspect for to bring in better designs faster into the market.

    Just my thoughts. Would appreciate your comments.

  • Sudarshan Shubakar

    Forgot to add that I was mainly thinking from the perspective of Aircraft,Heavy industrial equipment, Energy, etc. while writing the above.


  • Lou Gallo

    Thanks for the mention. I am very interested in this space and should have an article out soon on the engineer’s guide to the iPad. I have had mine about a week and am really finding a lot I enjoy about the platform.
    In the end it is all about apps and on the iPad, apps make the platform. I would love to have a roundtable discussion or two on this topic. I do believe that 2010 is going to be an exciting year for touch and mobile. ~Lou

  • What about mobile PLM at your hospital? There’s a new PDM (and I mean Product Data Management AND Patient Data Management) application available to centralze and manage your patient data records via the iPhone and iPad. It will be interesting to see how this advances, and in what other new areas mobile PLM will reach.

  • David, Yes, you are right! These apps allow you to feel complete deviceless and own your content. This is the future of computing in my view. You won’t be connected to “your computer” anymore. Best, Oleg

  • Sudarshan, Thank you for sharing your insight and great example. Services in an organization can have a great deal of accessing to product and other related data by using mobile PLM option. It can also improve collaboration. Best, Oleg

  • Lou, Thanks for your comments! I’m also experiencing my iPad since the last week, and it is very promising. To have a roundtable discussion is great. I’d be interesting to join… Best, Oleg

  • Kate, Thanks for comment and reference! Yes, hospital is another good case. I’ve seen this post on 3DP. Today hospitals are using what they call mobile workstations with a laptop on them. Mobile can be a good addition. Best, Oleg

  • It is interesting to see some parallels in your post. Guess it is true that we engineers have some common needs when it comes to mobility.

  • Lou, Thanks for your comments and link to your post. I briefly reviewed… It is a great summary of iPad apps – I’m using some of them, but will look for the rest. Best, Oleg

  • I enjoy reading through a post that can make men and women think.
    Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!

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