30 Nov, 2007 By: Kenneth Wong Cadalyst

A Serious Videogame

The PlayStation 2 generation is growing up. Some of them might eventually become the CTOs of Fortune 500 firms. So IBM is trying to reach them in their own terms — through an interactive 3D videogame. Dubbed INNOV8 (at, the game is meant to teach young professionals — especially aspiring IT managers — the art of business process management.


The game is based on advanced commercial gaming technologies and allows players to visualize how technology and related business strategies affect an organization's performance, according to IBM.


In October, ArchiCAD, Google SketchUp, SolidWorks, and a few other technology firms helped launch The CAD Academy (, which is described as "a collaboration of professionals, industry leaders, and educators to create a comprehensive and affordable pre-engineering/prearchitecture program for the education community."

The portfolio of the Academy includes, among others, a drafting package called A+ CAD. "Students who learn A+ CAD will be able to easily transition into AutoCAD," the Academy's online literature promises. A+ CAD can open, edit, and save any existing DWG file from AutoCAD 14 to 2008 without conversion or data loss.

Direct from the Source

Need a new refrigerator or a pair of pants? Go window shopping (that is, in your Explorer window) online in a virtual world and then buy it directly from the factory in rural Asia where the item is made. That's what the Chinese government is proposing. According to an Associated Press report ("China Plans Virtual World for Commerce," October 15, 2007), China's central government is methodically constructing a vast virtual world, dubbed the Beijing Cyber Recreation District.

"Some supply-chain experts say the project is impossibly grandiose in its goal to provide direct links between tens of thousands of Chinese manufacturers and millions of individual customers around the world," AP wrote. But if this turns out to be the surprise hit that no one has foreseen, PLM vendors may need to refashion their sourcing and supply-chain management features.

GIS Show and Tell

In his latest book GIS for Homeland Security ($24.95, October 2007, ESRI Press), Mike Kataoka, an ESRI press editor and former journalist, discusses in everyday language how GIS serves as a core technology for gathering and analyzing intelligence; protecting critical infrastructure; responding to forest fires, hurricanes, and other catastrophes; and planning for bioterrorism or disease outbreaks.

"Homeland security intelligence is more about bits and bytes than cloaks and daggers these days," Kataoka writes. "In a homeland security context, geographic information systems answer the key questions, starting with who and what are at risk."

Leopard Pounces

Among the new features in Apple's latest operating system Mac OS X Leopard (released October 26, $129) is Booth Camp, the dual-boot environment that allows users to install and run both Microsoft Windows and Windows-compatible software. For Mac users who have been fascinated by Windows-based CAD products, Boot Camp offers a way to run them without leaving the familiar Mac environment.

Cadalyst contributing editor Kenneth Wong explores innovative use of technology.

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About the Author: Kenneth Wong

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