At the same time as the discussion, there was a backchannel of comments happening on twitter with most finally taking Karsten Newbury’s lead and going with the #DirectvsParametric tag. So, if you want to check out the back chatter, you can click the link above for more information. It was enough that @Erica_Saunders and I started talking about a #CADChat regular discussion. These regular weekly discussions are popular on twitter right now. As the “Siemens guy” I personally don’t want to run it (it probably needs someone more vendor neutral) but I do think yesterday’s talk showed it could be a lively discussion with more than just the vendors talking.
I think the only thing you can say definitively after the discussion was that “Direct Modeling” is not going away and will play an increasing role in modern design. Everyone is investing in it and the concerns a few years ago that it might be unnecessary or just hype seem to be gone. If you are a customer who needs to do 3D design, you definitely want to be evaluating tools that support “direct modeling”.
Having said that, the discussion really only peeled back one layer of this onion. It looks like people (customers, bloggers, journalist, analysts) are still going to need to do their homework. The implementations, future plans, state of development, and focus around “direct modeling” differ greatly between the vendors.
I'm personally hoping this deeper look is exactly what happens as I think we have some good answers for the hard questions.