The second leg of HD PLM is the idea of a future-proof architecture, which Lewis explained as being open enough to support best-in-class tools, whether they are Siemens tools or homegrown and legacy applications. The third piece of HD PLM is a high-definition user experience that is designed for the unique requirements of the individual and their role. Active Workspace, Lewis said, supports all three pillars of Siemens PLM Software's HD PLM vision.
The idea for Active Workspace was spawned from the fact that there is increasing complexity surrounding product development across the board and across industry segments. The other reality is that no one PLM system holds all product-related data, meaning that development teams are often moving between siloed systems and data sources, with no real guidelines or roadmap to where the data they need to effectively make decisions resides.
Touting its groundbreaking user interface, Lewis said Active Workspace functions as an easy-to-navigate portal for helping to not only find product-related data, but to collaborate with peers using familiar capabilities like instant messaging and Teamcenter's own screen-sharing capabilities.
All of these data sources have great information, but it's very difficult to make all the information actionable. We see development efforts taking a long time because users have to go to a variety of data sources to make decisions, or they don't have access to some systems where critical data resides, or they don't tap into a system because they need to get the job done as fast as they can. All of this risks profitability and the timing of a program. We're trying to provide all the information [users] need to make good decisions in one place so they don't miss out on things that are important to getting the job done.
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.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.