PTC reiterated its commitment to Mathcad last week, conducting a day-long event that detailed the product roadmap for the engineering calculation tool while simultaneously showcasing some pretty cool capabilities of its new online PlanetPTC Community as a means to host virtual events.
The online forum had all the trappings of a traditional trade show, including an impressive lineup of PTC technical presenters and Mathcad customers, each with an agenda to share their expertise and real-world experiences with the tool. Beyond serving up a full plate of PowerPoint presentations, however, the event also presented opportunities and designated online areas for doing what you typically do at a product-specific workshop or tradeshow–network with other attendees as well walk the show floor to gather intelligence on Mathcad-related add-on tools and partners.
Ok, enough about the coolness factor of attending a virtual tradeshow. The bigger question is what’s in store for Mathcad. PTC’s Mark Walker, director of product management for Mathcad, kicked off the event with a presentation that touched on the product strategy for Mathcad, along with PTC’s process-based roadmap for the tool and several best practice scenarios where Mathcad can deliver value. The core strategic message was that PTC intends to evolve Mathcad on three fronts: Improving it as a means for personal productivity, process productivity and broader engineering collaboration.
While future enhancements will improve personal productivity, Walker said there is on-going focus on integration capabilities, building on Mathcad’s ability to work within process tools like Windchill, engineering applications like CAD and FEA in addition to collaboration platforms such as Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Office and PTC’s own ProductPoint. Specifically, he said PTC is working to enable a common math language protocol for cross-application sharing, incorporate some social networking capabilities and offer Web-browser calculation delivery along with other collaboration enhancements such as digital rights management. Walker also talked about areas where Mathcad can aid in process improvement, including requirements capture and management, system design and verification and validation.
There was also some discussion about Mathcad 15 and Mathcad Prime, two new upcoming versions of the software. Mathcad 15 will include more than 25 new DOE (Design of Experiments) functions, which can be used for constructing experimental design matrices, developing statistical models and performing Monte Carlo simulations. Mathcad 15 will also incorporate Truenumbers meta data to enable engineers to track the source of their numbers in addition to other information like units and tolerances.
Mathcad Prime is a completely redesigned version of the software, which PTC says will offer powerful features with “unprecedented ease of use.” PTC officials also said they expect users to adopt the new platform within the next three releases of the product.