3D portals, Data Management 2.0 and the next wave of collaborative tools

3D portals, Data Management 2.0 and the next wave of collaborative tools

Collaboration isn’t a new word in a lexicon of 3D, CAD and PLM software. Sometimes, collaboration sounds a bit buzzy, but if you think about it from a practical standpoint, we do need to have tools that can help us to communicate and work together with remote teams or even people from the same company traveling or having reviews with customers and suppliers.

I came across Develop3D article by Al Dean-Siemens launches Solid Edge Portal Beta, which speaks about new tool from mainstream engineering team of Siemens PLM ( the same team that actually works on Solid Edge and connected tools).

Al Dean brings differentiation he found in Solid Edge Portal such as view feature and project based collaboration:

While there’s a host of these types of services around (Autodesk has one, GrabCAD certainly does, etc etc.) this one is interesting as it provides some inspection, review and mark-up capabilities over and above pure viewing and sectioning.

The service is based on projects rather than specific sets of data. That means if you share the link for a project with someone else, they can see everything in that project – useful if you have multiple files to share – not so useful if you just want to share one model.

Here is another interesting thing Al captured about data collection and seamless integration:

Data capture. If there’s a caveat to the whole thing, it’s worth considering what you’re giving up when you sign in for the service – Siemens don’t even bother hiding the fact that registering for this service means you’re adding your details to their Salesforce instance. What’s also worth noting is that when you share your project with someone else, they’re required to do exactly the same.

Develop3D article made me think about new demand for collaboration tools and seamless data sharing. I’m planning to attend Develop3D Live even later this month in Warwick, UK. The discussion panel I’m going to join is about the topic which is near and dear to my heart – Data Management 2.0.

I’m going to join Neil Cooke of Onshape, Mike Payne of Kenesto, Joe McBurnie of DesignDatamanager. So, what means Data management 2.0? We are going to discover it just in few weeks. Meantime, here is my take how OpenBOM (the company I cofounded) is approaching this new world of global integrations and collaboration in a manufacturing world of 21st century.

The engineering and manufacturing world have gone distributed. Manufacturing companies are global. Customers are everywhere. Suppliers are everywhere. And, manufacturing companies are looking for the best engineering talent. For manufacturing companies, technologies that are capable of handling communication and collaboration among engineers, production planning, procurement, supply chain and other players in the manufacturing value chain are extremely important. Unfortunately, most tools used by manufacturing companies to manage data and collaborate are essentially old fashion relational-database and file based tools, OpenBOM introduced global cloud-based data management system providing granular distributed data storage and access functions combined with unique real-time collaboration. Openness, connected cloud storage and integration with cloud and desktop CAD systems provides seamless integration of OpenBOM in existing engineering and manufacturing workflows.

What is my conclusion? Collaboration is becoming even more important then before in the world of manufacturing. People, organizations, projects – all located globally and need to communicate and share data. Old databases were never built for such mission. So, new tools will come to provide solution to share 3D files, CAD design, bill of materials, files and connect all these things together in a meaningful connected workflow. Just my thoughts…

Best,  Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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