SolidWorks:HEARD! - Episode 469 - Lagoa

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Lagoa: Multi-Optics Cloud Rendering Engine

This podcast covers Lagoa, a cloud- based rendering engine that I first saw at SolidWorks World and was, hands-down, the most innovative, mind-blowing tech I have seen in years. Topics covered:

- Platform overview

- Features and options

- User Interface and Experience

- Collaborative environment

- Overall first impressions

This year at SolidWorks World, I made it a point to spend quality time in the partner pavilion, a place that seems to get the least of my time in previous years.  After 12 years of attending SolidWorks World, there has been a list of 3rd party products and services that have impressed me.  However, in today's engineering culture, the web is creeping into the equation and services tend to be more impressive than 3rd party local software.

Over the past 3-4 years, cloud services have made a move into the space, offering a number of collaborative layers to the traditional desktop environment.  Whether this was through task panes or other menus inside of SolidWorks, the services were still very tied to the desktop installation.

Lagoa is a cloud rendering software as a a service (SaaS) and not only offloads the rendering hardware and horsepower needed for high end processing, it offloads everything needed from your system.  Cameras, complex material and advanced lighting all at your control through a web browser tab!  Roll in some real-time collaboration, sharing and commenting and you have the ultimate rendering experience completely in the cloud.  Cool stuff!  ~Lou 

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SolidWorks:HEARD! - Episode 442 - Hosted vs. Cloud

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Hosted vs. Cloud: 

This podcast covers the questions that rise when looking for and understanding the benefits and/or risks to moving to on premises solutions delivered via the Internet.  Topics covered:

- Some trends in the CAD industry

- Software as a service (SaaS)

- Platform as a service (PaaS)

- Benefits / Risks with off premises solutions

- My life in ChromeOS (4th generation device - Pixel)

Ever since the 2010 SolidWorks World Conference, the engineering world has been talking about the topic "CAD on the Cloud" and moving many on-premises products and services to servers hosted by another company.  Hosted services and cloud-based offerings are a normal staple in our everyday lives but how will these trends really apply to industries that rely on high-end, local hardware?

With services like GrabCAD Workbench, Sunglass.io and Team Platform offering tools that are core to engineering and collaboration, it is only a matter of time till many of the tools we all use locally are offloaded to the cloud.  This is not without challenges however as Internet speeds increase and service

Autodesk recently announced a number of services in their 360 Cloud Services offering, one of which, Fusion 360, which reminds me of the pre-announced SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual.  Products like SImulation, PLM and other services seem to have targets to move to these platforms in the near future everywhere. ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 342 - Future of CAD

Future of CAD:

This podcast covers my thoughts on the Future of CAD and how things seem to be progressing on the tech front. Topics covered:

- A little background where this topic creeped into the cast

- How engineering tools were like in the early 90's

- Today's CAD landscape

- Parallels in moving to Google Apps & the Future of CAD

- The definition of a "real" web app 

- Hopes for the future of CAD

Two weeks ago I received a shipment from my dad that contained a number childhood memories, one of which was an Armatron.  This 12" tall, 6-axis robotic arm that had two joysticks and was fully operational that finalized my love of robotics as a kid.  This same toy was the focus of a Freshman year project in my ME tools course with CADKey and it got me thinking about how much the tools have changed in just a segment of my life.

Over the past 1.5 years my switch to Google Apps for all our corporate email, calendar, docs, chat and internal intranet I see a shift in how we use services and applications. It did not come without some frustrations and trials but overall the switch has been very positive and has grown many areas of our business.

And then there is mobile. No-one wants "an app for that" (at least I don't) but they want to be able to access their content where they are, on what they have, and be expected to do what is "device appropriate".  I personally do not like the "APP" model but prefer the web model so any device that has a browser is in play.  ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 277 - SolidWorks Collaboration Tools

SolidWorks Collaboration Tools:

This podcast covers collaborative tools and options within the core SolidWorks environment. Although these tools are mostly uni-directional, they still offer users ways to communicate their design data more efficiently.  Topics covered:

- Multi-user environment option

- Multi-user binded to Workgroup PDM

- Removal of the old 3D Meeting addin

- eDrawings and markups

- 3D Instant Website and hosted collaboration

- Other file formats (3DXML, 3D PDF, XPS,MTS)

- Presentation Studio & Theme Editor (Download Progressive Die Example PDF)

- Promise of SolidWorks PDS & "SolidWorks V6

Many of us forget the options that we have right inside of SolidWorks for collaborating even though many of them are what I call "half duplex" collaboration, just like email.  The creator sends the content in some form to another party for them to review and make notes and send back.  This is collaboration but only one party can respond at a time.

As engineers we tend to use a flurry of solutions to allow us to collaborate, not only in the design, but also in aspects of manufacturing, documentation as well as other parties internal and external to our companies.  In an effort to move further into "full duplex" collaboration , SolidWorks announced/previewed at SolidWorks World 2010, that development has begun on a tools built on top of Dassault's Enovia platform.  Tools like 3D Live that are built on top of Microsoft's OCS collaboration show the meld of video conferencing, screen sharing and collaborative markup, all within the design environment.  I think Olig Shilovitsky did a great summary of "How To Redefine Collaboration in PLM?", showing exactly where collaboration is heading. ~Lou

Remember to check out the SolidWorks: Heard! Blog and to follow me on TwitterFacebook and THE HEaRD!

SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 275 - Vuuch V1

Vuuch V1:

This podcast covers the web-based collaboration platform called Vuuch that debuted about a year and a half ago and has grown quite a bit over the past 6 months.  Topics covered:

- Vuuch general overview

- New web portal interface and features

- Vuuch client portfolio

- Use cases

- Parallel technologies

- Overall impressions

I have covered Vuuch on two separate occasions on this show, one as a topic (Episode 213) and one as a round table discussion (Episode 221) with Chris Williams, CEO of Vuuch.  Almost exactly one year ago I explained the services as this:

"Vuuch is a cloud based web application that offers group based treaded discussions, similar to a forum but can offer associated CAD and Excel based discussions with attachment uploading.  I would say that it is Twitter or Facebook meets Engineering & CAD. By using email as the notification mechanism, Vuuch keeps the discussion central to the topic and in sync with the cloud for unlimited accessibility to all associated participants. I think this is a fantastic service to bring design teams closer and much more in tune with what is going on in the overall process." 

Although in V1 there are more features than I mention above, the overall idea is the same. Collaboration tools are growing in importance in product development and the Internet is the best framework to solve this problem.

I would like to see development efforts in future versions of Vuuch be focused on updating the web experience from the early 2000's to something more current & dynamic.  With the launch of tools like Google Wave, real-time collaboration and extensibility are folded into a web browser by way of HTML5 and other AJAX technologies.  Vuuch, as it stands today, looks and feels very dated and slow.  I understand fit and finish come after scope and infrastructure but I can hope, right? ~Lou

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