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CAD Tech News (#129)

18 Jun, 2020 By: Cadalyst Staff


In an Age of Disruption, Engineering Software Must Move to the Cloud, PTC Urges

During the LiveWorx20 virtual event, PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann explained that agility, flexibility, and mobility are critical for product development companies to thrive.

By Cadalyst Staff

Jim Heppelmann, president and CEO of PTC, delivered a "work-from-home edition" of his LiveWorx keynote this month, complete with potted plant. "Given the dramatic stage setups that LiveWorx has become known for in recent years, it seems crazy that I'm talking to you from my home office," he said. "But the past few months have been crazy across so many different dimensions: None of us has ever confronted a pandemic like the one which we are facing now." Like so many other in-person events, the annual LiveWorx gathering was transformed into an online-only conference this year, to prevent exposing participants to coronavirus while traveling or congregating in exhibit halls.

Heppelmann decried the human and economic impacts of the pandemic, but noted that there is a positive to having many workers move to home environments: "Digital has become the big hero. It's amazing how much you can get done each day working virtually, without the dead time of daily commuting and business travel. Everybody I talk to thinks we need to adopt more of this style of working going forward, even after the pandemic phase."

However, "digital isn't working equally well for everybody," Heppelmann noted. Displaced engineering teams who have left their applications and data behind on desktops have struggled with solutions such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), which is "far from ideal," he said.

"While cloud and SaaS tools have already transformed CRM, ERP, and most other enterprise software categories, the product development world has been lagging," Heppelmann lamented. "Our world is one of the few remaining categories of business software that remains largely on-premises ... put this on the list of things that really needs to change. The world of engineering software simply has to go to the cloud."

In an Age of Disruption, Engineering Software Must Move to the Cloud, PTC Urges

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Most Manufacturing and AEC Companies Plan to Use Real-Time 3D within Two Years, Unity Survey Suggests

Currently, only 19% of the surveyed organizations use emerging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, but the maker of the Unity real-time 3D platform expects that number to increase rapidly.

By Cadalyst Staff

Unity Technologies has revealed the findings of a study it commissioned titled, "Digital Experiences in the Physical World: Are AEC and Manufacturing Companies Ready for Real-time 3D?" But what is real-time 3D, exactly? "It's a computer graphics technology that actually comes from the world of gaming," explained Julien Faure, general manager of verticals for Unity, during a webinar about the study. "In real time, the 3D images are rendered at a very high speed — faster, actually, than the human eye can see — up to 120 images, 120 frames per second." (For the study, real-time 3D is defined as interactive, realistic digital representations of real-world assets like manufactured products and buildings.)

"While a few years ago, real-time 3D was primarily used in gaming — in fact, it was forged in gaming, and gaming has pushed the limits of the technology — today we are seeing it adopted across every industry, from aerospace to automotive, architecture for buildings, heavy infrastructure, roads, highways, healthcare, industrial equipment, retail, transportation — you name it, across the board, we see a lot of companies adopting it," Faure observed.

Importantly, real-time 3D lets people move within, and interact with, an engaging, immersive digital reality, Faure said. That creates opportunities that 2D visualizations cannot provide: virtual reality (VR) walkthroughs of building designs, augmented reality (AR) evaluations of hidden utility networks, immersive design reviews with scattered team members working from home, or training programs for technicians or new employees, for example. "You can create a program where everybody can have the same experience," Tony Faccenda, Unity senior content marketing manager, AEC, told Cadalyst. Virtual safety training programs, for example, have "made construction a lot safer as a whole," he said. Enterprise users are also harnessing the technology to create and deploy digital twins: immersive digital assets that represent, and incorporate data from, specific real-world assets. Read more »

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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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