My vision of the plenary session at isicad-2010/COFES

In these remarks I would like to review the plenary (morning) session of isicad-2010 / COFES-Russia.

I must confess that initially we had hot discussions with Brad Holtz about the style of this event. Brad reasonably wished it to be a COFES Forum, and I was trying to explain that Russian vendors or (to be more precise) vendors in Russia are more used to workshops, which enable to supply certain vendor information to the audience (primarily – tell your clients about your solutions), while forums as some kind of meetings to discuss problems common to all attendees raise some doubts in the eyes of our vendors … The ends were gained by a kind of art: isicad-2010 is boldly called Forum and COFES-Russia goes by seminar – just in case... :). I take the liberty to further on refer to our common event as the Forum.

Jokes aside, overall the event has good chances to become a true Forum. First, the Working Groups and the concluding Round Table (combined with a press-conference) undoubtedly are the sites for forum discussions. Second, the final composition and format of plenary sessions justify the Forum style - if not completely, than certainly to a considerable degree. To be able to include maximum possible number of conceptual talks, we have drastically cut down the average time for presentations, introducing three options: 5, 10 and 15 minutes (excluding the Invited Talk). It is implied that to outline the essential ideas and concepts, define global trends, specify generally important problems, and the like, does not require too much time, unlike describing features of a new product or its new version. I’d like to emphasize that all speakers and companies that they represent showed full understanding of this approach and did not insist on extended time for their talks.

For advertizing, I dared translate into Russian the title of the invited talk by Brad Holtz simply as “A Vision of Global CAD/PLM Market till 2015”. In original it sounds more sophisticated: «Cyon Research Report: A vision of global market dynamics for design and engineering software, including results and implications of recent surveys of the global engineering software community».

Martin Steuer, who represents Autodesk – the general Forum partner, will focus on the issue that, gradually overcoming public skepticism, is becoming more and more pressing – the role of “sustainable design”. The established Russian translation (“environmentally rational design”) somewhat reduces the idea of globality, while an English word sustainable emphasizes fundamental concept of sustainable development which is more and more globally recognized as a scenario for survival of mankind. Thus sustainable design can be considered as a projection of a world-wide objective to our industry. Today most market leaders devote much attention to this topic, and Autodesk have accumulated considerable and generally valuable results in this field.

The 5-minute talk by Oleg Shilovitsky is the introduction to the agenda of No.1 Working Group: "Trends in PLM” and an invitation to active participation in discussions. Besides, Oleg believes that the boundaries between not always clearly defined PLM, ERP, PDM, CAD,.. should and will become more precise in the future... Today these boundaries are mostly tentative, thus the solutions are far from being steady and reflect a mesmeric magic of Three-Letter-Acronyms (TLAs)...

Representatives of those vendors that successfully implement such solutions in real markets on a daily basis, may justly disagree with magically vague interpretations of such concepts as PLM. The presentation of Laurent Valroff and Artem Avedyan (Dassault Systemes) promises to demonstrate to us that development of today’s TLA is related not only or not so to the need for significant clarification of basic solutions, but rather to expansion of the field of employment of such solutions. The expansion that may turn out to be quite radical and not so obvious.

Sergey Kuraksin will certainly his express not less (and possibly even more) pragmatic vision of PLM. What kind of magic we can talk about if Top Systems has developed and is implementing a PLM-package, understood not only as a full-scale world-class system for which there is real demand, but also as a system with important embedded qualities so vital precisely for a Russian market. Perhaps the global market should pay more attention to this solution?

The 5-minute talk by Deelip Menezis is the introduction to the agenda of No.2 Working Group: “Intelligent methods of 3D-modeling”. Whatever you may say, but the issues of geometry concern majority of vendors and users, therefore any news that some cure-all solution has been found (direct modeling? synchronous technology?) leave no one indifferent, and today every global CAD leader must have an actual or an announced solution in this field. However, Deelip Menezis, who is familiar with all such solutions of the industry leaders, recently wrote in his blog that in Moscow he would state that contrary to the rumors the problems of geometry were not solved at all (“nothing is further from the truth”).

After such Deelip’s statement, the 15-minute presentation of Bruno Chollat “The Role of 3D Direct Modeling in the Product Development Cycle” will be especially interesting to listen to. Bruno represents SpaceClaim, which is positioned as the leader in the field of direct modeling, and, judging by the title of his presentation, he interprets this technology as today’s reality.

Another counterbalance to a useful Deelip’s skepticism will be the 5-minute talk by Dmitry Ushakov, of LEDAS. The company is developing a version of direct modeling, which emphasizes the end quality – automated support of user’s intent rather than technically important and actually supported by LEDAS characteristics (parameterization and history-free design). At No.2 Working Group Dmitry plans to give a more detailed account of the opinion of LEDAS experts the true essence of intelligent 3D-modeling.

According to the preliminary statistics, the most popular Working Group, and its agenda, promises to be WG-5 "New Business Models for CAD/PLM market (cloud computations, open code, free platforms…)". It is not surprising that ultimately everyone is interested in business... Nanosoft Company recently has broken into the market with sensational business models, first of all, based on a free-of-charge platform. Thus, the presentation of Nanosoft CEO Maxim Egorov should be of special interest: we hope to learn about the company’s experience, possible evolution of its business policy and even “unclassified” plans. This presentation can be the introduction to WG-5, which will also be moderated by a Nanosoft representative Dmitry Popov.

Most certainly WG-5 will have an exciting discussion as ASCON has registered as one of the active group members. The title of a short introductory presentation “Russian CAD companies will not wait for imported wings to take off to clouds”, which on behalf of ASCON will be delivered by Oleg Zykov, is self-explanatory. At WG-5 Oleg hopes to support his plenary talk with a short demonstration.

IT history goes along with the drama of software developers: to some extent their heroic intellectual deeds and breakthrough are often devaluated by subsequent hardware development. It is simply my flirtatious self-irony: in fact I am convinced that achievements and endeavors of software programmers are not in vain, they will always be required and their devaluation is not possible… Still, new hardware capabilities certainly open totally new horizons and software developers must be extremely sensitive and closely follow hardware development so their next heroic deeds are not based on obsolete platforms… That is why the talk of Anton Dzhoraev (NVIDIA) is so important to us. “New graphical capabilities to support next CAD generation” will round up the plenary morning session. Anton will continue his talk at WG-6 “New Hardware Technologies for Engineering Software”.

New hardware technologies certainly cover state-of-the art broad-format printing that will be generously demonstrated by HP – the general Forum sponsor. In the lobby HP will organize a display/exhibition of its new products and their capabilities will be discussed at WG-6. HP capacity will be further demonstrated at the exhibition of students projects.

See also Round Tables and Their Moderators... and Media at COFES-Russia... .

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