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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.