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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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 Vuuch activity."
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.