In my last post on the new Solid Edge subscriptions with Local Motors, I linked to a few articles and blog posts discussing what we are doing. Reading though the comments (I think Matt Lombard's crew had the most), I saw many of you still had questions so I tried to address them below. For members of the media, you can also contact Branco Liu to get you hooked up with the information you need.
Is this offering limited to Local Motors community members?
Having said that, we are clearly seeing growing interests in both crowdsourcing and co-creation as well as in the use of a subscription model. Also, Local Motors are expanding their scope of work from enthusiast projects to a “maker platform” with their new Local Forge offering. As we learn, we will also continue to discuss these topics with our partners and customers to see how we can apply them to the current market.
Local Motors community members can use Solid Edge for personal use. What does this mean?
The current goal is to enable the Local Forge community to do the designs, builds, and new vehicles they want to do. During the Design1 trial period, we heard from Forge community members about personal projects where they would like to use Solid Edge. We didn’t want to prevent them from doing this and expanded the agreement with Local Motors to include this.
If a person or company would like to use Solid Edge for professional activities outside of Local Motors, they will still need to purchase Solid Edge from an authorized Solid Edge reseller. The Local Motors offering is just for their community, but having said that, any design – including commercial ones – that leverage the Local Motors community are fair game for the subscription versions offered.
Do you really think an enthusiast will pay almost $300 a month for Solid Edge Premium? We expect most local motors customers will prefer the more affordable Solid Edge Design1 at $19.95, at least for the “enthusiast” work. However, Local Motors is working more and more with small shops and other businesses to develop their automobiles or designs. Companies can now outsource certain design work to the LM community. We expect that more feature rich versions of Solid Edge make sense for them.
Also, since the subscription is monthly, a LM user may find it useful to occasionally upgrade to more advanced versions of Solid Edge, such as for the life of a project or contest. We felt it best to provide this option and not limit the community to any particular version. Again, we are certain we will learn more in the process and look forward to additional feedback on what users want and need.
What about Maintenance Pack (Service Pack) upgrades?
All Local Motors users will have access to maintenance packs for Solid Edge.
Why all the press? Rental and subscription models have been around for years.
I don’t know but we aren’t complaining :-) . The interest is more likely tied to a combination of things:
A new product (Solid Edge Design1) targeted for enthusiast
New tools (a 3D JT Viewer) that allows a distributed community of designers to visualize and make measurements right from their web browser. This is really a key prerequisite for better co-creation.
A new way of doing design where the customer has input right from the beginning (aka, co-creation).
A closer engagement of Siemens PLM with the customer and greater focus on the whole experience and not just the CAD functionality (e.g. just the right functionality, easy 3D viewing outside of CAD, easy purchase, affordable options).
An environment where “multi-CAD” is the preferred way to work, not something to be eliminated.
And, of course, a new and easy way to purchase CAD software for the amount of time you want with the functionality you want.
Do you expect people to be able to use Solid Edge Design1 to design a car?
No. Solid Edge Design1 can be used for most of the parts making up an automobile. The UI is also closest to some of the free (but limited) tools making for an easy transition. However, there are specialized parts require surfacing, wire harness design, FEA or other advanced CAD tools that don’t exist in Solid Edge Design1. This is why Local Motors is offering five different levels of Solid Edge.
I hope this helps. If you have other questions or suggestions, leave me a comment. Or visit the Local Motors site and join their community.
23Jan12 update: changed media contact to Branco Liu