Siemens PLM Software has come out with a new module intended to make it more intuitive and easy to find product-related data stored not only in its Teamcenter PLM system, but in other systems, as well.
The new addition to Siemens' Teamcenter portfolio is Active Workspace, a highly visual, interactive environment that functions somewhere between a stepped up search tool and a portal that is highly tailored to the kinds of tasks an individual performs in their daily work routine. Used as part of PLM, not as a replacement for PLM, Active Workspace is designed to enable users, be they engineers or others in the product development value chain, to find and easily access intelligent 3D information in order to make better informed decisions while helping cut through some of the complexity that defines most current categories of products.
Active Workspace includes smart collaboration capabilities that make it easy to find and communicate with relevant team members who need to be involved in a decision or task. (Source: Siemens PLM Software)
Here's how Siemens PLM Software CEO Chuck Grindstaff described the need for Active Workspace:
All companies and individuals face the challenge of dealing with information overload due to the increasing speed and volume of data coming from multiple sources. Active Workspace helps companies manage this challenge and significantly enhances decision making by reducing complexity and intelligently presenting PLM information that is accessible for all users.
Active Workspace is a central part of Siemens PLM Software's High Definition PLM (HD-PLM) vision, a three-pronged strategy predicated on helping users make better decisions around product design. The first peg of HD PLM is intelligently integrated information, or the idea of knowing what the semantic relationships between information is. Put into a real-world context, that would mean if you were working on the CAD geometry for a particular part and you changed the dimensions, the new geometry would automatically be rerouted to the folks responsible for requirements so they could validate and check the functional requirement against the parameters of the new model, Bill Lewis, Siemens PLM Software's marketing manager, told us.
These are nice tools, Beth. The search tool alone will probably save tons of hours otherwise spent plowing through folders. The 3D aspect could let engineers find something they didn't even consider looking for.
My understanding is that it was developed in house or perhaps with pieces of technology that came via acquisitions. Of course, now that the PLM group is part of the broader Siemens company, there is plenty of technology to leverage on that end.
The cool thing about how search is evolving is the visual cues that make easier for people to find what they're looking for, whether it's another person, a particular CAD model, a requirements document, whatever. PLM systems are great at being a central repository for engineering data, but they have been historically hard to navigate in terms of workflow and finding what you want. Active Workspace is a good example of pushing the envelope a bit to bring more intuitive and intelligent search to the product development process.
I saw Active Workspace demonstrated at a recent Siemens PLM user conference. Very nice package. It's one thing to have strong CAD and PLM tools; it's another thing to manage those tools and files in a collaborative environment. Search and sharing are well developed technologies, so Active Workspace isn't an advancement, but it does fit nicely with Siemens existing PLM tools.
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