The IP issue is huge, I agree. I could see this approach being viable if it was used as a defacto Intranet inside an organization, to bring far-flung company resources to a project electronically versus physically. However, even with that scenario, there is the ever-present bugaboo of Internet security, which never seems to go away, and keeps many IP sensitive companies flying employees around the globe rather than risk Internet collaboration.
naperlou brings up the same question I've often had when reading about crowdsourcing: How can IP be protected? The trend toward declaring practically everything a company thinks, does or says IP seems to be completely opposed to the crowdsourcing social this-and-that trend. How can that IP possibly be kept out of dialogue, and not hacked, among so many over such a broad-based internetwork as the Internet, where even the CIA's site can get hacked?
You raise an interesting point, Naperlou, and one we hear over and over again from the DN readers. Who in their right mind, they say, is going to put critical design IP in a public forum for comment and sharing.
That said, I'm not sure that's exactly what the CAD/PLM vendors like Dassault/SolidWorks have in mind. They see the revolution underway in the consumer market with collaboration, social media, crowdsourcing, information sharing taking off like crazy and they recognize that some element of how people relate in their personal lives is going to need to filter back into their professional lives. I'm not sure the actual corporate IP will ever live in the public forum or be talked about over social networks. But I do think that CAD and PLM tools will continue to evolve with more sharing and community type functionality to support the way people are starting to collaborate and share in their rest of lives. After all, isn't that what we're doing right now in this community forum?
Beth, while this is interesting in a science environment, I wonder about its applicability in a commercial engineering world. I consult with commercial companies on everything from Internet based businesses to embedded, real time products. They won't even talk without an NDA. In the design world, the real value of a company is its IP. So, how does this translate into these grand visions of "crowd sourcing".
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