CAD/PLM Standards and Toothbrushes Problem

CAD/PLM Standards and Toothbrushes Problem

I’m about to start my journey back from Israel to Boston after a short family vacation break. Below is probably the last vacation picture I made. Now it is a time to get back to work and blogging. Over the past week after Autodesk-Inforbix announcement, I’ve received many questions regarding the existence of Beyond PLM blog. So, to reconfirm one more time – Beyond PLM blog will continue. Everything you read on Beyond PLM is my personal own opinion and in no way represent the views, positions or opinions – expressed or implied of Autodesk Inc.

After such a peaceful picture, I want to bring a topic which far away from pastoral Tel Aviv sunset :). The topic isn’t new. I want to talk again about CAD/PLM standards. Over the last weekend, I’ve been reading  3D CAD Tips blog post – Should you use JT or 3D PDF? The title is self-explaining. My blogging buddy Evan Yares brings the full set of controversy about choices between JT and 3D PDF. Take 15 minutes and have a read. I found it quite entertaining. The following quote is the most important one.

….one cannot let the limitations of any format (and they ALL have limitations) define the bar of success. The simple fact is that there is no one format (JT, STEP, PLCS, PDF, etc.) that will address the spectrum of critical use cases in an organization. We might wish that were the case, because it would make life simpler, but its simply not going to happen in the foreseeable future.

Toothbrushes, Standards and Openness

Thinking about vendors’ standards, I’m always comparing it to toothbrushes. Company (vendor) attitude towards the standards can be explained as the way they feel about their toothbrush – every company has one (standard). However, nobody wants to use anybody else standard (toothbrush). However, Evan’s point about standards and spectrum of use cases is important. About a year ago, I’ve been presenting it during Eurostep 2011 event.

The spectrum that needs to be covered is too big and an approach on having a single standard to cover everything is too naive and far from any practicality nowadays. In my view, “openness” is a word that needs to replace a word “standard” in a lexicon of CAD/PLM vendors. Openness can make things different. It brings a greater level of interoperability and flexibility. How to achieve it? This is probably a good question to ask and to discuss.

What is my conclusion? I think, we can live with multiple standards. I can hardly imagine the industry with a single standard like STEP, JT, 3D PDF and some other de-facto standards (formats) developed by vendors. At the same time, I’d really like to see how standards are converging towards openness and not feature-to-feature comparison. Just my thoughts.

Best, Oleg


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