In a press release, Charlès explained that "holistic" 3D experiences will serve as a catalyst for innovation, enabling any enterprise stakeholder to participate in the innovation process. "I am convinced that within this century, people will invent and innovate more than ever before," he said. "We must provide businesses and people with holistic 3D experiences to imagine sustainable innovations capable of harmonizing products, nature, and life."
On face value, Netvibes looks like a real mismatch -- an acquisition target for a big digital media agency or maybe a consumer product giant, but not a 3D CAD vendor. But if you take a closer look, Dassault might just be onto something. Despite early skepticism, product development is likely to get a whole lot more social over time if what's happening in the world at large is any indication. We're not necessarily talking about crowdsourcing, per se, but leveraging the voice of the customer in their own words (not those interpreted by marketing folks gathering early requirements), to influence how a product evolves early in its development cycle.
Building on its pioneering work establishing the concepts of 3D design, digital mockup, and 3DPLM, Dassault is ready to move on to 3D experience, perhaps capitalizing on all the talk in the mainstream business world about customer experience driving the next set of leaders. Framing up the Dassault 3D Experience platform in the context of its existing products, Menghini said ENOVIA and the 3DSwYm (Dassault's online service for creating online professional communities) fall into the social innovation category. 3DVIA, DELMIA, and SIMULIA deliver content and simulation capabilities, and CATIA and SolidWorks make up the 3D modeling aspect of the platform. Netvibes and Exalead (another Dassault acquisition) fit into the area of search.
There are scant details on how the Netvibes technology will integrate into the Dassault V6 technology stack. I suspect as the details unfold, there will be a fair number of skeptics who say social innovation is just not part of the engineering lexicon. Maybe not today, but never say never, especially in this fast-moving Internet world.