The deliverables-centric theme is carried over into some of the interface enhancements in Vuuch 5.0. For example, every deliverable is presented with a Facebook-like page that displays related discussions as a dashboard for each person involved and highlights how the discussions converge with respect to specific project plans. In addition, Vuuch pages are organized in multiple structures, and each node generates dashboards and timelines across the structure -- another tactic that Vuuch officials said aids in keeping the social conversation focused on project deliverables.
The ability to participate in activity threads in much the same way a user would in a Facebook thread also makes it easier to become proficient in Vuuch and benefit from its collaboration capabilities. Tighter integration with Microsoft Project via a plug-in is another hallmark of the new release. It allows project details to be rolled up directly to the Microsoft Project plan in real-time.
Vuuch's collaboration story may be compelling for those who've been bitten by the social media bug, but the jury is still out on whether the engineering community in general will embrace social functionality. Many hardcore engineers still harbor concerns about security. They worry that critical product intellectual property doesn't belong in any forum where it could fall into the wrong hands. Others say social networking is not serious work or will be overrun with frivolous information tangential to the job at hand.
Even so, all you have to do is take a look at what's going on in the consumer field to see that, despite continuing reservations, social media use is not going away anytime soon. In recognition of that trend, many CAD and PLM vendors, including PTC and Dassault Systemes, are slowly folding in social functionality into their own platforms. Most, if not all, of the CAD and PLM vendors are taking this approach instead of promoting the open sharing of product data on any kind of public social forum.
Rob, I think it's early on and way to soon to say these tools are gaining traction. I think with any kind of new technology, the software vendors are experimenting by pushing the envelope with capabilities that consumers are using in other aspects of their lives and seeing how they can make a difference with design tools. Some engineers will like the new way of working, others won't. But just like with any new technology, you've got to take some shots and see where it all lands. Years from now, I think social components will be a mainstay of every kind of software, but because it's new territory, it still feels pretty foreign to most engineers.
Yes, I would imagine it feels foreign to most engineers, However, I have hunch that twenty-something engineers fresh out of college will get their hands on these tools and go, "Whoa, look what this can do!" Whatever vendor can wow the next generation of engineers may have a winner.
This is yet another story that demonstrates why engineers shouldn't be too resistant to social media. The right business model will come along sooner or later, and when it does, the engineers who are open to to it will have a leg up.
Good point, Chuck. Chances are the early adopters will be young engineers who would take to social media quickly and easily. I do think there would have to be a very clear benefit to encourage adoption.
Absolutely, ChasChas. It's in the very nature of social media to share information. There would have to be very clear lines on what can be shared and what can't be shared, So someone would have to be tasked as the referee.
You need to abstract the concepts of Facebook and think about how they can be applied to work. Don't get lost in how it works in the consumer world. Social @ work is different and one BIG differance is the connection model. It is ok as a consumer to connect based on relationships, friendships, but this doesn't work in the workplace. At work people are connected by the work they do. Social @ work must be deliverable-centric.
Rob, I was going to ask the same thing. I was reviewing collaboration software for some clients a couple of years back. These tended to merge social media with project management. In one tool, which looked good, everything was a project. The last time I talked to the local rep for that company they were being redirected to a particular application area. I think the problem they ran into was with their project centered terminology they were lumped in with project collaboration and management products. Like Facebook, they were completely general purpose.
It looks like the vendors in the CAD space are going the same route. Make something "like" Facebook, but more specific. With this approach they can address security concerns while leveraging the social media idea.
Another answer to your question might be that the trend these days is for users to want their on-line experiences to be similar at work and at play. Considering the centrality of computers to our lives these days, that makes sense. How it gets implemented is another story.
Thanks for the info, Naperlou. I think the key to what you're saying is "How it gets implemented is another story." I suspect it will be a simple matter of benefits versus effort. At home, social media offers personal connections. At work, there needs to be a different benefit -- improved design, improved projects.
Rob, I like your thoughts on this issue. I think the demand for a good collaboration tool is there. Some of the social media constructs are useful for project collaboration, but not all. Once some software company comes up with the right mix and makes the user interface really clean - I think it will be a market winner.
I agree Scott. Part of the difficulty in adoption, I believe, will be with convincing users there is not a security issue. That would require an interface that would allow some data to be shared while other data is not in the loop. Younger users may not be as concerned about security.
Vuuch is initially focused on the issue list, as this drives the majority of project related email. As people get comfortable with Vuuch they move on to things like the managing all discussions around ECOs or other types of forms and use cases where communities of experts are created that project team members can bring into the resolution of problems. Al the while a complete history of what is done is being captured in Vuuch, which for compliance based industries like FDA and FAA, delivers on compliance requirements and general knowledge capture. The history of course stays in Vuuch but it can also be exported to PDF (http://www.vuuch.com/enterprise-social-system/vuuch-v5/2012/04/09).
Massive traction http://www.vuuch.com/customers and stay tuned for some even more interesting names. Customers of all sizes realize that structured tools like PDM and PLM have done a good job of capturing the results of work, but they have done nothing for the ad-hoc unstructured effort, the work. Social @ work when mixed with tools like ERP , PLM and CRM will deliver on the original promise.
Billions have been spent on ERP. PLM and CRM but people are still stuck in email. The data is in control but the work is not.
Interesting points, Vuuch. As this moves forward, what kind of adoption are you seeing, and what are the barriers to adoption. I would imagine just in terms of work habits, it will take some time before users begin to add this to their work habits.
@Fabrizio: Many of the PLM vendors are adding social capabilities to their PLM platforms as well. Both PTC and Dassault, in fact, have fairly aggressive efforts around interpreting a social component to engineering collaboration and Siemens PLM Software addresses some of this via its tight integration with Microsoft SharePoint. To date, though Vuuch definitely has the lead in terms of reinterpreting the paradigm and making social a major pillar of the system. There is also a new start up called Kenesto that is tackling the collaboration component of this as a workflow problem using a familiar "email" interface and paradigm to make it an easy transition for users. All good stuff.
I think "social-like" features is where a lot of these vendors are going. Given the concerns around security and IP sharing, integration with public social networking platforms is out. The idea that seems to hold weight is applying some of the conventions of social systems to PLM and CAD to facilitate collaboration and data sharing. I think that idea makes sense.
Take a look at TeamPlatform, it's for teams. In addition to collaboration / talk / project updates, there are a lot of ways to interact with people outside of the team.
You'll also find a lot of CAD management meat (ex: assembly navigation, meta-data extraction... in other words: CAD Search), and online 3D views.
Coincidentally, a new web-app, 3Dfile.iowas just released this week for super-simple online 3D view sharing, including native CAD / assemblies - here's an example -- http://3dfile.io/tNN71D to check out the online 3D views.
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.