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Resolve to See if These 2011 Predictions Come True

Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

In part one of this series we looked at some recommended reading materials. In part two, we discussed recommended mobile apps. Since then several more apps have entered the CAD scene. Part three looks at some predictions for this year.

Prediction #1: I will become scalable, learn to  work on car engines, and my  hair will turn brown ;-). Just joking. I saw this image from the latest release of Tecnomatix version 9 and thought it fit with a few of the predictions below.
Accurate Ergonomics and Realistic Human Models


I'm writing this post from Germany, where this week we were discussing social media with several Siemens Industry Automation business units. I was here to teach them about the social media market and what we're doing at Siemens PLM, but they also taught me quite a bit. It is very interesting to see the diverse products Siemens develops for manufacturing. Our industrial automation systems address very complex automation in factories. You might be interested in the new Total Integrated Automation portal, which provides one framework for controllers, human machine interfaces (HMIs) and drives. Our control components and systems engineering organization is working in the new area of photovoltatics (solar inverters). Our sensors and communication group is also doing some interesting work in solar as well as new wireless communication/GPS tools in factories.

What's all that have to do with predictions? Quite a bit actually as we begin to use social intelligence to understand and predict the best ways to communicate and collaborate with our customers and prospects as well as build that intelligence into better products and services.

So that leads us to predictions by folks in the CAD/PLM space.

My fellow blogger Nik Pakvasa predicts PLM use beyond typical CAD/PDM teams in his post yesterday - PLM on every desktop. Check out the interactive tour of the "PLM campus," which highlights ways customers interact with PLM in their Microsoft Office environment.

Jim Brown of Tech-Clarity predicts ways in which this year will be the The Year Social Computing Explodes in NPD and PLM. Jim notes collaboration, discovery, product knowledge management and community will be key areas.

Chad Jackson of Lifecycle Insights also has social computing for product development predictions: "I predict there will be a number of early adopters that will come forward with success stories. It won't be using generic social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn or the like. But it will be using a solution that provides the right context."

Chad still thinks it's too early for widespread adoption. He also made predictions in these two areas:


  • "Simultaneous Feature-History and Direct Modeling Paradigms: We'll increasingly see use cases where the combination of these two modeling paradigm not only make sense, but are required. In fact, reuse of models or even subsets of geometry would be one such case.

  • New Interaction Paradigms for CAD: There's been a LOT of changes for user interactions. Multi-touch tablets are the craze right now. But concepts like switching your display between devices (like between the iPad and Apple TV) will start to show up. Furthermore, with Microsoft opening up the SDK for Kinnect, you'll see other applications use the gesture paradigm. I think there will be at least one software provider that will take CAD innovation that way, not via icons or dialog boxes but instead letting people use their hands and gestures to operate CAD."

  • See Chad's latest blog post on what IBM's research on CEO priorities means for engineering.


Monica Schnitger of Schnitger Corp. predicts new technologies in the real to virtual world: "More and more technologies will come out that tie the real world to the modeled world.  LIDAR, for example, generates point clouds representing a physical structure; it's been around for decades. New products coming out of a couple of vendors are tying intelligence to this cloud data, so that this realistic rendering of the 'as built' can be related to the 'as designed' CAD model or database. Using that combined information, the CAD model can be updated, plant operators can be trained, repairs can be planned and so on.  I think we're going to see a lot more of this sort of combination of real and virtual." She also thinks the industry will stop obsessing about the cloud this year and actually do something with it.

Branden Loock of Precision CAD thinks "in 2011 social media will become even more important in every day life and business. There is so much that social media CAN do, it's hard to think we could ever go back to life without it."

Kenneth Wong of Desktop Engineering predicts ebook publishers will incorporate audio, video and animation into digital titles, so that "the line between TV and computer starts to blur."

Gary Mintchell of Automation World says we should see "more cloud utilization in business and manufacturing along with even more mobility applications."

Deelip Menezes of Sycode joking predicts Al Dean will start wearing a suit ;-), but is a bit more bullish on the cloud. He said most PLM vendors will have cloud-related activity in 2011 but noted"...the world is not ready for the cloud just yet. People first need to use and get used to things like Google's Chrome OS and then we can expect them to use the cloud in production. Using Gmail in a browser doesn't mean that you are ready for the cloud." To get a context for Deelip's predictions, you might be interested in his Top 10 Posts of 2010.

Al Dean of Develop3D did not predict suits in his future but does think there will be more cloud apps in 2011 "that are actually commercial products rather than experiments, more merging of direct/whatever modelling techniques." He also predicts (hopes) Deelip will use a blog template this year to supports multi-page posts ;-).  And he thinks above all, this year will be the year of photogrammetry.

Randall Newton, managing editor of Graphic Speak, thinks we will announce two major automotive customer displacements from a key competitor ;-). He predicts movement in kernel modellers, a large acquisition, consolidation (mergers) and expansion (new startups) in the visualization/rendering market and that SharePoint hype will recede in engineering circles.

In addition to Jim's social computing predictions above, he thinks PLM product suites will continue to expand into the enterprise and the Develop3D guys will do something outrageous (again). He also thinks I'll be promoted to  Grand Puba of social media. Either he's mocking me or I will start rapping this year!

Thanks to all of these folks for their predictions. Now tell us yours. We'll watch together to see how the year unfolds. I'll leave you with Mashable's 6 Predictions for Social Networking.

Dora