Inforbix to Integrate Tech Skills of DS and Sales Experience of Autodesk

Inforbix has just announced that Vic Sanchez joined the company management team as COO. From April 2000 to Oct 2004 Vic was the Managing Director and VP Sales of Autodesk EMEA. This probably means that Inforbix is approaching the stage of unveiling and active distribution its products and solutions.

An US based company, Inforbix was quite recently established by Oleg Shilovitsky (CEO) together with Anatoly Savin (CIO). To characterize what is Inforbix, I use an extended version of the title of my post presenting the new company "Oleg Shilovitsky unveils his Inforbix to technologically arrange and maintain efficiently operable mixtures of chaotic product data"(this formulae is my own interpretation of what Inforbix is doing!).

As the Inforbix web site says, Oleg has spent his last 11 years working for Smart Solutions, SmarTeam, Enovia, Dassault Systems. Over these years, Oleg held various positions in R&D group and company management. Most recently he was ENOVIA SmarTeam Chief Technology Officer. Earlier, Oleg has been involved in distribution and development of Autodesk-based software in Israel.

Oleg is also well-known as a popular blogger and PLM guru, see his blog Beyond PLM.

For several recent years, Oleg has been an active participant of the COFES conferences in Arizona, in Moscow, and in Tel-Aviv. As you can see from the picture above (presenting a section of the COFES 2011 sponsors), Oleg's personal activeness will at COFES 2011 be drastically combined with the involvement of his company.


Russian Social Networking: In and Beyond the CAD/PLM Market

Russia is often considered as actively growing in all Internet-related directions but still lagging behind in social networking - especially at the enterprise level. For example at COFES-Russia / isicad-2010 some foreign experts talked about this lagging behind as obvious while the Russian attendees supported this discussion by their explanations why total networking is premature for the Russian market.

Recently I ran across a report of DigitalLife, whose study presented a global data on social networking and characterized Russia as one of the leaders:
... the study showed that online consumers are, on average, spending more time on social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn than on email, despite the former only becoming mainstream in many markets over the last few years. In rapid growth markets such as Latin America, the Middle East and China, the average time spent, per week, on social networking is 5.2 hours compared to only 4 hours on email. Online consumers in mature markets remain more reliant on email, spending 5.1 hours checking their inboxes compared to just 3.8 hours on social networking. The heaviest users of social networking are in Malaysia (9 hours per week), Russia (8.1 hours per week) and Turkey (7.7 hours per week).

Usually I am quite skeptical about statistics in general and in particular about statistics gathered by global organizations in the huge Russian territory. However I trust my own impressions and they correspond to the DL conclusions.
I leave aside considerations about what percent of garbage information is circulating in the Russian Internet, instead I formulate for myself these two questions:
(1) What are the reasons of very high activity in the Russian social networks?
(2) Why social networking is sluggishly used at the Russian enterprise level?

As for the answer to (1), I believe that, ceteris paribus, high networking activity in Russia reflects shortage of other forms of social activity, including political.

There is a popular quote (almost saying) "A poet in Russia is more than just a poet" from a poem (1965) of Evgeny Evtushenko who meant that, when political activity is restricted, a poet can willy-nilly become a public figure with a political flavor. Note that in Russia this likely can be applied to practically all historic periods. Amusingly, in one of his inauguration speeches Putin used this saying as "The President in Russia is more than just a President" :) . Finally, a blogger in Russia is more than just a blogger :).

As for (2), a typical Russian individual (independently of what he or she is pretending to look like) is reflexively skeptical about any official orderliness or even rejects it. With this opinion in mind, I can consider one more question:
(3) Why CAD/PLM user forums independent of vendors are so popular in Russia?

Here are some possible reasons:
- Even the best vendor forums/blogs have some flavor of orderliness,
- There are still a lot of illegal users and they would feel uncomfortable at vendors web sites,
- Independent forums enable any critics making comments regarding any products and their comparison while vendors can hardly permit such discussions...

All main vendors have their Russian blogs, forums, twitters... and are doing their best to intensify communication with their customer communities. Note rather detailed Russian forums of ASCON and Autodesk-CIS, nice blogs of DS Russia and Autodesk-CIS, etc. However all similar networking vendor's facilities cannot compete with such independent forums like www.fsapr2000.ru or www.dwg.ru, which has 30 000 active daily visitors and 4 000 000 monthly views. Roughly speaking, we can distinguish between (a) people's forums that are independent and horizontal, (b) vendor's forums that sometimes can with great talent imitate informality, and (c) imaginary enterprise networking which seems to have some regulatory, formal, orderliness, and vertical features, and for which imitation of informality would be unnatural and hardly acceptable.

These differences, due to the above mentioned cultural reasons, are very pronounced in Russia and remain an obstacle for usage of the up-to-date enterprise networking infrastructures and tools (if enterprise networking is something efficient and demanded). Does this problem exist in the West? Hopefully mature experts of social networking can give me an answer or/and perhaps dispel my possible misunderstanding.

The picture above is taken from digitalstrategyconsulting.


The First Ever Full History and Overview of Solid Modeling Kernels

By a coincidence Dmitry Ushakov published his overview (in Russian) just when a week ago he became the LEDAS CEO. On the other hand, it's already for many years that Dmitry explains such and other geometry stuff in his university lectures reflected in his book "Introduction to Mathematical Background of CAD".

Well, maybe the overview is not the first ever or it is not formally full but it is definitely extensive and written in a very clear language - even with some artistic flavor. For example to illustrate the value of ACIS, Dmitry includes a picture "Acis and Galatea" by Johann Heinrich Tischbein der Ältere (1722 - 1789) while CATIA Geometric Modeler (CGM) is associated with the French Guard Horse Artillery of the beginning of 19th century.

The paper gives a professional explanation of what a solid modeling kernel is, thoroughly describes the history of subsequent appearance of all main kernels, and then gives some comments on their comparison and the wars between them. The table is finally given to integrate some key data.

Dmitry's paper was in particular inspired by concerns and hot discussions about the future of SolidWorks - with respect to its transition from Parasolid to CGM. Such discussions - at least in the Russian market - are not always based on clear knowledge of the domain. That's why the paper is very intensively visited and discussed at the isicad web portal. As for the change of SW kernel, Dmitry knows the subject and he is optimistic.

The paper in question is in Russian but the Google translation might be sufficient at least to catch the key points. In the long run, you may look at the table-of-all-kernels and at the pictures. However, a non-automatic translation into English in not excluded in the future.

PS. Note that the Russian word yadro used in Dmitry's paper is homonymous in the Russian language and along with kernel means also nucleous, canon ball, core, and more. In his paper, Dmitry somewhat plays with this ambiguity...


LEDAS Changes Leadership to Better Guide Future Development of CAD Technology

The official press-release says: Novosibirsk, Russia: February 1, 2011 – LEDAS Ltd., the independent provider of constraint-based design tools, component technologies, and software development services for the CAD/CAM/CAE/PDM market, today announced the appointment of Dmitry Ushakov as the new chief executive officer. Previously director of product management, Dr Ushakov replaces co-founder David Levin, who continues as chairman of the board, and will concentrate on extending and optimization the business of the LEDAS group of companies.

We have just published quite a long interview with Dmitry and me. The interview contains a lot of details explaining business and technologies of LEDAS. I give here two quotations.

From my words:
LEDAS has been known for quite some time as a company that attracts a lot of attention from industry leaders; as a company that provides unique services for engineering software development; as a company that increasingly sells geometric solvers to significant customers; and as a company that confidently develops and offers a very promising form of direct geometry editing. Despite all these points, the potential of LEDAS is perhaps 10 or 100 times more than what it has been until now. As the founder and primary shareholder, I am somewhat bored with being proud of the company’s potential and goodwill. I want to see it flourish financially.

From the words of Dmitry:
Today we have three directions for our business: (a) component technologies, (b) end user software products, and (c) software development services...
Our Variational Direct Modeling technology uses specific tools that express design intent: geometric and dimensional constraints, which users are not obliged to specify. The system recognizes them from "dumb" geometry automatically. This is the key difference between our approach and the direct modeling approach developed by other CAD companies, such as synchronous technology by Siemens PLM Software and the Inventor Fusion technology preview from Autodesk. We don’t even try to integrate direct modeling with the history tree; instead, we propose that users forget about the history tree, because they now have a more powerful tool with which to make changes to their 3D models.