What engineer doesn't want access to product data on the go? It's a need that shows no signs of abating, particularly in light of the increased use of outsourced design partners and the trend toward individuals working remotely, whether in satellite development groups or home offices.
With that mobility in mind, Inforbix, a company specializing in intelligent CAD and product data access, has released its first iPad app designed to let users search and access engineering data no matter where they are working. Oleg Shilovitsky, CEO of Inforbix and an active blogger in the PLM and CAD space, told us that the free app is meant to work in conjunction with and as an extension of Inforbix's cloud-based collection of integrated applications, which, in concert, help users find, reuse, and share product-related data.
Inforbix's semantic technology -- the power behind the new iPad app -- automatically finds and infers relationships between disparate sources of structured and unstructured product data, Shilovitsky said. By linking and drawing connections, the technology helps users find, locate, and access product data, whether it's a drawing, an Excel worksheet, or a CAD assembly file.
The genesis for Inforbix's xSearch Web hosted offering was the difficulty companies have in tracking down their product-related data when they need it, especially when it's stored in multiple systems and in a variety of file types. Unlike PDM or PLM systems, which manage product-related data in what Shilovitsky called an engineering-centric way, the Inforbix tools, including the iPad app, are designed to let anyone find and access data easily.
"PDM helps those in engineering, but it's complicated for people in the supplier groups or others who want to access data for downstream use cases," he said. "Ultimately, what we're allowing is a simplified and cost-effective way to find, reuse, and share product data."
Inforbix xSearch is a replacement for PLM or PDM, Shilovitsky said. My guess is that small firms may be game for what appears to be a far less expensive and complicated solution. An iPad app seems to be a natural extension of the Inforbix tools, given its narrow focus on serving up access to data. Shilovitsky sees the app being used by engineers or manufacturing personnel at a customer site, for example, or by members of the marketing and sales team when they're not at their desks.
The iPad app is available for free in the Apple App Store. Check out a video preview here.
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