AutoCAD WS in Moscow

In December 2010, within the agenda of COFES-Israel, I had a chance to visit an Israeli office of the company Visual Tao whose product became globally known as AutoCAD WS after Visual Tao had been in 2009 acquired by Autodesk. In my Russian blog I published a lot of pictures from that visit because I found the office and its spirit as very much impressive. 

This post is intended to attract your  attention to the isicad-interview with Tal Weiss, one of the organizers and top managers of Visual Tao/AutoCAD WS. Tal was one of the most noticeable speakers at the recent Autodesk CIS Forum in Moscow. Before you switch to the interview "Innovator's dilemma of AutoCAD WS", look at the pictures below made in December: Tal is with Iris Shoor, the girl who actually generated the idea of a product and a company that finally were transformed into WS, and - a view from balcony at the Israeli office:


Some thoughts on industrial design in Russia

My nephew, Ilya Vostrov, is a graduate from the architectural academy in Yekaterinburg, a one million industrial city in the Urals region. Ilya has specialized in industrial design, had his practice in England, did a diploma in Munich at Bosch GmbH, fruitfully participated in several international contests, and is currently designing instruments for the Ural Optical and Mechanical Plant. He thinks about his creative and career growth. Most likely - abroad. Most likely - again in Germany...

Ilya, do you think that here in Russia, industrial design is not so much in demand?
Well, it can be demanded only by dynamically developing industry, and, necessarily - by competition. Of course, we can see some development, and, of course, release of any new product can’t be done without industrial design. But either industry does not feel any serious requests from consumers or competition has been hopelessly lost to imported products. Those foreign products-winners, by the way, have emerged also as a result of the hard design selection.

Most likely, the demand for industrial design in Russia is still hampered by the Soviet tradition of asceticism of shapes, by orientation to defense industry, and by viewpoints that light industry is something secondary or even marginal:)
I don’t remember Soviet times:) but it seems you're right. Now situation is changing, however mostly not in the industry but in private orders, at home, in some small items. But  even here, there are many problems. On the one hand, there are already quite a lot of wealthy people who want to have around themselves professionally designed environment and comfortable,  pleasing-the-eye subjects. On the other hand, this area more relates to interior or  landscape design, and the like.
 That is, you, industrial designers, are out of luck in Russia?
Not precisely. If you have normally passed through all mandatory courses in our institute, this means that you received a thorough, multifaceted, universal, solid designer’s background. After that, to fulfill almost all kinds of design, you need only your personal talent, will, and diligence. By the way, it is believed that specializing in industrial design is very cool compared with the others design domains areas. Note, that in addition to practically all courses of all other designer specializations, we studied very serious elements of CAD.
Does it mean that in your current activity you really need CAD?
Well, industrial design is not dead shapes, and moreover – not only ergonomics. It is a part of  product invention, of its functionality – especially when it is about something really new. Usually we are work side-by-side with engineers and we obviously need to communicate in  the same CAD language.  

Aha! So you have mastered some particular CADs?
Yes, we very seriously studied SolidWorks, and today it is one of my key instruments – along with 3dMax. 
So I suspect that you, industrial designers, are able to do, say, decoration work or corporate style but, on the contrary, graphics designers cannot do so much work in industrial design?
Yes, in most cases it is true. Large layer of our education was based on studying the methods of design and construction as well as studying technology of manufacturing products. In contrast to this, designers of other specialties  can do few things without such baggage of skills… maybe they can do very nice decorations but that's another story ... The opposite situation happens all the time: not finding jobs in their specialty, many industrial designers begin to look for the customers in other areas of design. But then of course it very much depends on their personal abilities. And sometimes I also make something like corporate identity, advertising or websites - because one must sometimes make money:).

Very interesting, but let's continue the theme of underdevelopment of the market, lack of customers, and other…
I think that potential customers are divided into two groups. Some, having a big enough money prefer (often just for prestige) hiring cool expensive designers, maybe in Moscow. Others, even having decided that they really need design service, still have poor understanding of the actual contribution of design and proportion of its value in the final consumer price of the product.

It looks like underestimation of the role of non-material components in creating products is typical for our country.  For example it can also be applied to software and to labor of software developers ... in general, to the whole intellectual and artistic spheres. In my domain I know a lot of examples, and in yours?
We have more than enough such examples. Here is a small and quite funny one but also significant. One rich man hired me to design a golden box for business cards for him. The man was very happy with my results but to get my money was more difficult than to make the required design:)  Most likely, that customer really did not comprehend my creative and physical  efforts. And he was sincere in his lack of understanding how my labor corresponds to his ergonomic and aesthetic satisfaction and pleasure ... By the way recently I was invited into a rather interesting project which needed design of a really original domestic swab :) Don’t smile, it was quite interesting creative project, you can even say – innovative… Unfortunately the customer changed his mind almost at the beginning of our work.

Okay, let's turn from a gold card holder and innovative swab to Bosch GmbH. What was for you the main result of working there for you?
During six months, I was a member of an extra-class team which all this time was very hard and creatively working on industrial projects requested by a strongly competitive market. A better school is difficult to imagine.

Excuse me for such a question: didn’t you there at Bosch, with super professionals around you, have a feeling that you have a lack of talent and so…? 
I felt myself like a fish in the water.  In particular because the knowledge and skills obtained in my university proved to be very effective. There were problems with the language, I was the first person invited from abroad, and sometimes in the heat of debates my colleagues seamlessly moved from English to German which by that time I did not know. And in general - the team where I did my diploma was very friendly, took care of me and helped a lot... not only in the office but also in everyday life.
As far as I know, your institute was quite satisfied with your diploma?
Yes. By the way Bosch paid 5,000 Euros for making a model representing my design and covered all expenses for transporting the model by plane. It took very long time for the parcel to move from Munich to Yekaterinburg, and then our customs at the airport was not very quick... Things reached the point that my model was delivered to the Institute almost the last minute before my presentation of the diploma…

And you, are you happy with the architectural academy in Yekaterinburg:)?
Absolutely. It gave me a solid and integrated  education. Very good teachers, sometimes - outstanding. For example, I was fortunate to be in a close contact with our professor - Victor A. Bragin, one of the most famous, interesting and titled designers of the Urals region. The institute has good links with other countries; this is clear also from my own example.  A regional Ural center for design has been established on the basis of our academy. I was also involved in this Center... But my main result of the institute is an acquaintance with a classmate Kate, who became my wife and a partner in my work.

No doubts in your professional designer taste:). And I can see myself how lovely Kate is. By the way, several of her works, in my opinion, look more pragmatic than yours. Well, your fine work can even evoke a certain nostalgia for beautiful and ideal future hardly realizable in this environment but Kate's designs - for example, a gaily colored mobile kennel for dogs – are at once uplifting and can be directly applied to psychotherapy:). And how do you work together?
We met just before my departure to Germany… Now we are working at the same plant. Obviously, we constantly discuss our work, making advices and encouraging each other. Discuss all creative, business, and career plans. We have developed aweb site, it’s our joint portfolio.

And what you are doing at the plant?
We work at the department of design and development of medical equipment, lighting appliance, and some other consumer goods. The work is interesting and necessary. It is fun when you are working on a project in a team with designers and technologists, when you begin from sketches on paper and finish with release of an industrial series. Unfortunately, our salaries are far from what we want... 

Ilya, and finally, what of the relatively recent works do you consider as your personal achievements?
For example one of my recent works was included in a short-list at the Electrolux contest. There are some good chances to move on. This is a food processor which can be compacted so that you can hang it on a wall hook, and at the same time, this device has several functional programs, remote control, and the ability to serve as an oven, hob, and some other.

Of course we can’t be happy about the Russian market of industrial design but, Ilya, it seems to me you are quite OK: you graduated from a remarkable institute, you were lucky to work at Bosch, you succeed in professional contests, together with Kate you have an interesting portfolio… So I wish both to you and the market a lot of successful developments! 


Today in Russia is actually CAD Day

In particular Autodesk CIS Forum in Moscow and Day of Machine Constructors of ASCON have just been opened. The events are reported by well-known bloggers:

@olegshilovitsky olegshilovitsky 
#aforum Autodesk director in CIS Alexey Ryzhov is talking about mobile Internet and cloud just from the beginning.

Today ASCON holds its event simultaniously in 22+ cities of CIS. Cadovod tweets from Yaroslavl. 


Six main implementations of direct modeling will be compared by eight parameters at Autodesk Forum in Moscow

On Sept, 22 at Autodesk Forum in Moscow, Dmitry Ushakov, LEDAS CEO, will deliver an invited talk “Who and Why Needs Direct Modeling?”.

    Dmitry was an ideologist and initiator of the LEDAS project on direct modeling, he proposed an original approach to DM, called Variational DM, with emphasis on keeping design intent, see links below. By today, LEDAS has made a considerable progress in industrial implementations of VDM: in the end-user products  Driving Dimensions SketchUp and RhinoWorks as well in two projects on incorporation of VDM into widely-known CADs outsourced at LEDAS.  

    Along with explanation of what is DM, Dmitry will outline eight features of DM and, according to (un)availability of these features, he will present his comparison of DM implementations in SpaceClaim, SPLM, LEDAS, DS, Autodesk, and PTC. 

Taking into account his audience, Dmitry will pay some special attention to Inventor Fusion.  The article based on Dmitry’s Moscow presentation will very probably be published at least at www.isicad.net.



Bentley Systems starts modernization of bridge-building in Russia

Today in Moscow, the Russian Bentley office holds a seminar on the company’s solutions in bridge design and construction. Several presentations will overview well known Bentley’s products and solutions RM Bridge (an integrated package looking like CAD/CAE/ for bridges) and BrIM (Bridge Information Modelling, something close to BIM). 

The key speaker of the seminar is Vanja Samec – Global Sales director for RM Bridge at Bentley. Vanja, PhD, Dipl.Ing., she has an impressive professional bio: after graduating Civil Engineering /University of Technology / Faculty of Civil Engineering Ljubljana, Slovenia she had 20 years of practice with TDV/Bentley Systems Austria (practical projects, research, software development and leading sales of RM Bridge global). Vanja directly took active part in construction of Kwangan Bridge PUSAN KOREA, Stonecutter’s Bridge HONG-KONG, Dou-Shan Viaduct  TAIWAN, Pöchlarn Bridge over Danube VIENNA AUSTRIA…

Before the seminar in Moscow Vanja kindly agreed to give an interview for isicad.ru. See below two small fragments from the interview illustrated by the pictures I found in the Internet. Above all, bridges always look exciting... 

How many bridges have been designed with RM Bridge? Can you give some examples?
This is for sure very difficult question – RM Bridge is continuously in the world market for about 40 years. Thousands of bridges have been successfully designed and built by RM Bridge. Perhaps I can mention just most significant, recent long span bridges from Asia, where RM Bridge has been used as analysis, design and also construction engineering tool on the site, when erection control by contractor was needed:
• Sutong Cable Stayed Bridge in China over Yangtze River between Nantong and Suzhou in China with main span of 1088 m (world record)

• Stone Cutter Bridge in Hong Kong – Cable Stayed Bridge with main span of 1018 m (very advanced dynamic wind analysis by RM Bridge was provided as the bridge is located in very well known typhoon area)

  Sheik Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi (UAE) – very attractive bridge in Abu Dhabi, where architect Zaha Hadid created the shape of the bridge due to desert dune impression. Such geometry requested of course several difficult requirements, which company High Point Rendell from UK successfully solved with RM Bridge

What are the most interesting projects you personally participated in? What results have you achieved in it?
My professional work was very wide spread: programming, supporting customers and users of our applications, projects, trainings and in last year responsibility for global technical sale of RM Bridge. Each period brought some highlights:
- In programming it was a highlight, when finished Windows version of graphical result module for FEM software Plate/Shear Wall, which was before under DOS.
- Later, when programming RM Bridge, it was a team success, when the first version of new Windows generation versions RM2000 was released
- My favor FEM project was an interchange in Oslo, very sharp curved and our Plate application managed even very complicated radial reinforcement. I worked together with our user from Norway.
- The new generation of RM Bridge versions brought several projects, where I was involved in programming team and each of them brought some highlights. Perhaps memories on the first one – Kwangan Bridge in South Korea, where the calculation was done and I programmed the module for result presentation parallel, when our partner from Seoul was sitting in the room next to mine…


Siemens PLM doubles staff of its Moscow office

In my recent isicad.ru editorial I wrote: “Some observers noted that during several months, SPLM Russia has been intensively publishing ads for job. According to some rumors, the Moscow office has today about 70 employees…”.

Thanks to a mini-interview with Olga Akulova, Marketing Director Eastern Europe at Siemens PLM Software, I could transform these rumors into facts.

Olga, they say your office is rapidly growing and today has 70 persons.
We have already exceeded 100. This happened over the last two years.   

Could you outline, how this hundred is distributed by specializations? Do you have some new administrative groups?  
We significantly extended groups of professional service, marketing, and sales. We introduced some new more detailed specializations. To improve responsiveness, a quality control group was enhanced. A special group was organized to support Velocity Series product line.  

Was this a result of some concrete decisions? Is it recognition of the good prospects of Russian market?
Our company always considered the Russian market as very promising, you can take a look at the multiple interviews of SPLM top managers. And also, this growth just confirms good results already achieved by our team.   

I remember visiting your rather small office... How could you place there all this 100?!
This spring, the Moscow Siemens moved to its own very modern building in the city center. By the way, last autumn our office in Saint Petersburg also moved into a new building.   

Are there any news about distribution of Solid Edge? There were clear signs of increased attention from the company's top management...
I can mention establishing and extension of the group to promote Velocity. We've received considerable investments into development of partnership network. There was organized a group to adjust the product to the standards of Russian Federation. We definitely feel excellent prospects in this direction.

We are ready to answer your detailed questions. And welcome to our new office!

Thank you. The questions will be sent promptly. And will definitely visit you at least to take a look at the own very modern building of Siemens.

P.S. Detailed questions from isicad have already been sent.  

P.P.S. Note that within approximately one last year, Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, ASCON, and maybe some other companies have also moved into new, much bigger offices in Russia ...   


ASCON and UTAC launch QiBox - integrated solution to optimize pre-production in automotive industry

Today ASCON announced launching an integrated solution for control of pre-production in automotive industry according to ISO/TS 16949 standard. The solution called QiBox (quality-in-box) has been developed in cooperation with a French consulting company UTAC known as an auditor of quality control systems at Renault-Nissan. QiBox is announced as oriented for "improving the work of component suppliers during pre-production phase in automotive industry". It includes module ANPQP - a module which implements quality control at Renault-Nissan in the form of automated business-process as well as output documentation.  

As announced, QiBox includes CAPP VERTICAL  and PDM LOTSMAN (both from ASCON) and can work with any industrial CAD.

Source: ASCON's press-release (Russian)
See also:
UTAC website


ASCON to distribute a full scale 3D CAD for $50

Today, ASCON, a leading Russian CAD vendor announced that its powerful 3D CAD KOMPAS-3D V13 will be distributed under the name KOMPAS-3D Home for 1490 RUR ($50).  This version has absolutely no restrictions but is not permitted for commercial use. The license is valid for 1 year and can be prolonged.  

The key point is that distribution (which will be started in October) of the Home version will be done by "1C" company - a leading Russian vendor of small and medium range ERP. With its really huge distribution network, 1C has installed its bookkeeping  products at practically each company, organization, and institution of Russia and CIS. According to IDC, revenues of 1C in Russia and CIS in 2009 were between that of SAP and Oracle.