In the latest upgrade to its so-called "enterprise social
system," Vuuch has made some significant
user interface improvements and added a few key new features-all part of an
attempt to leverage social networking technology and conventions to improve the
product development process.
Vuuch 4.0 builds on earlier
releases of the on-demand application to foster social interaction between
extended product development teams and partners, providing access to key
deliverables and communications around projects in a manner similar to what you
might see on Facebook. However, unlike Facebook or conventional social
networks, Vuuch technology "knows" the product and what people are connected to
the product and deliverables, therefore it serves up relevant information and
discussions in the context of the product as opposed to conventional and
consumer-oriented social networks that can flood people with information and
material that is often irrelevant.
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Given that Vuuch is billed as a complement-not
replacement-to existing CAD and PLM tools, integration is a core part of its
strategy. In Vuuch 4.0, Vuuch has enhanced its integration story via support
via a new add-in,
letting SpaceClaim users create and respond to product issues and requirements
using Vuuch social networking capabilities from directly within the SpaceClaim
environment. Vuuch offers similar plug-ins for SolidWorks
, Autodesk's AutoCAD and Inventor
, PTC Pro/ENGINEER
(now Creo Elements/Pro) as well
as the Microsoft suite of productivity software.
SpaceClaim support was a no-brainer given that the firm has
a similar strategy to Vuuch, says Chris Williams, Vuuch CEO. "They are to CAD
as we are to PLM," he explains. "We see joining forces as an interesting way to
amplify what the two of us are doing in the market."
In addition to SpaceClaim support, Vuuch 4.0 ushers in a
couple of additional new features. Vuuch pages, which represent a specific
product or deliverable, let users track design issues, assign tasks and share
project-related materials. Starting with this new release, the entire history
of a page along with all related activities can be exported to Microsoft Excel
to facilitate the collection of institutional knowledge that can aid in
analysis and reporting for compliance purposes.
Among the interface enhancements is the ability to see who
did what and when to each Vuuch activity, a feature Vuuch officials say is the
beginning of trying to create a social graph for the product. Users can also
track events inside of Vuuch activity threads in the 4.0 release. "This
provides richer information around the thread, and we're displaying not just
people's content in the thread, but the action they took," Williams explains.
"This makes it easier to understand what action people took with respect to a
There is also the addition of activity filtering, which lets
users view information in the social system in the context of what concerns
them at that particular moment. Users can filter by deliverable type, time,
owner and status, and the filtering capabilities are also available in the
Vuuch BOM display so users could, for instance, key in on red status items from
a particular Vuuch user in the last two weeks.
Vuuch 4.0 also adds support for mobile devices such as the
Apple iPhone and iPad via support of the Safari browser on those models. The
software is available as an annual subscription, and users who create Vuuch
pages require a paid license. Introductory pricing is $250 a year per Vuuch
page creation license.