Siemens PLM Software: Active Workspace in Code; Solid Edge Free for Students

Screenshot of Active Workspace, as shown in a presentation at Siemens PLM Software's recent analyst conference.

Active Workspace, Siemens PLM Software‘s new product currently in development, is now in code, expected to arrive in November of this year, according to Chuck Grindstaff, president of Siemens PLM Software. The revelation was part of Grindstaff’s presentation at the company’s analyst conference, held two weeks ago in Boston.

In late 2009, Siemens PLM Software introduced the notion of HD3D, a way to display product lifecycle data (costs, delays, supplier info, compliance records, etc.) inside a 3D assembly model (“NX7 with HD3D: Where CAD Geometry and Lifecycyle Data Mingle,” November 4, 2009). The company spent 2010 refining and advancing the concept. Active Workspace, HD3D’s manifestation as a product, was quietly previewed to attendees at PLM Connection this May, as a single screenshot that appeared briefly in Grandstaff’s keynote address (“Siemens PLM Connection: Clues to Active Workspace,” May 9, 2011).

“Search is a very important part of Active Workspace,” according to Grindstaff. Latest screenshot of Active Workspace shown to the analysts includes search-engine controls and breadcrumbs to navigate through data repositories.

According to Grindstaff’s presentation, Active Workspace’s characteristics include:

  • context-sensitive search and navigation;
  • rapid access to data;
  • personalized interface;
  • viewing large amount of data with preconfigured settings;
  • photo-realism;
  • customized reports;
  • shape-based query; and
  • suggested contacts relevant to your project.

Autodesk, one of Siemens PLM Software’s rivals, is exploring a similar concept with its data management product, Autodesk Vault. Dassault Systemes, another rival, has also acknowledged the importance of search in the future of lifecycle data management. In June 2010, Dassault spent €135 million (U.S. $166 million) to acquire enterprise search engine Exalead, described by some as the French Google.

At the same conference, Karsten Newbury, Siemens PLM Software’s senior VP and general manager of Velocity Series, broke the news that the company is offering a student edition of Solid Edge for free. “This no-charge 12-month license is available only to students through an easy, instant download,” the announcement reads. “It contains not only the latest Solid Edge functionality necessary to create detailed product designs, but also Siemens PLM Software’s market leading synchronous technology, which represents the next generation of design software.”

Penetration into the education market is seen by leading CAD software makers as a way to cultivate potential users among the next generation. Siemens PLM Software and its rivals — including Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, and PTC — continue to promote their 3D design software products with heavily discounted student licenses and free licenses for participants of FIRST Robotic Competition.

Newbury’s presentation shows Velocity Series licensing is enjoying a global growth. “[It is] continuing strong growth trajectory in 2011 and for (fiscal year) 2011 outlook,” he noted. There is a 40% increase in technology partner app submittals, according to him. Siemens PLM Software has also begun holding a series of user gatherings for Velocity Series customers.

For more news from Siemens PLM Software analyst conference, read “Teamcenter Mobility 2.0: From Passive Consumption to Active Participation,” September 7, 2011.

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