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Earlier today, after sliding down a few escalators head first, I caught up with SolidWorks Product Manager, John Ellsworth, and the team responsible for introducing you to the first tool you’ll use to share, store and manage your SolidWorks data in a collaborative environment. You’ll see it first inside SolidWorks later this year, on the web as well and oh… looky here, they’ve even got a iPad app in development.

If you’re not familiar with the product, SolidWorks n!Fuze is new Web-based offering that lets you share and collaborate on files and ideas. It’s an improvement on traditional approaches for sharing files, such as email and FTP sites, because it integrates with your design tools to facilitate the way you work, uses familiar social networking concepts to engage with others, and avoids costly IT infrastructure and administration. It’s also quick and easy to get started with, simple to use, and accessible from anywhere.

Modeling Mindset Shake-up

Actually it’s more of a slow shift rather than a spine-twisting neck squeeze. Right now, you work with your models that live in beautiful solitude on your harddrive, a network server, or in a vault. Isn’t that just sad? If you want to share them you’re doomed to emailing them or using an FTP. n!Fuze is set up to ease that pain by hosting the files, the workspace and the correspondence online in a single interface.

n!Fuze works directly in SolidWorks, accessed from the sidebar and is a completly web-based system running on an ENOVIA V6 server. The magic of this is that you don’t have to set-up or configure anything about ENOVIA. That’s handled by your overlords gentle administrators at the location of the ENOVIA server. So yeah, you don’t have to worry or even think about that (do you?) because it’s all happening automatically. A perfect example is Dropbox.(Put your Dropbox location in your SolidWorks Design Library and you’ll have a crude idea of how it’s all working.) You have access to files on your computer, on the web and can share that access with others. Dassault, with the particulars of ENOVIA, applies that idea to 3D models and your design workflow.

SolidWorks on the iPad?

Actually this is ENOVIA on the iPad, but still it’s a first look at how Dassault is bringing 3D data to the mobile market (along with their 3DVIA Mobile app). This is an early prototype with plans to integrate more collaborative interaction and viewing. It reminds me a lot of the TeamCenter iPad app from BCT ($18.99 iTunes) although currently with a bit less functionality. Here’s a look. Sorry this video is all jacked up…

If you’re at SolidWorks World, you can test drive SolidWorks n!Fuze at the SolidWorks booth. More to be announced on this at Wednesday’s general session. You can also get in on beta by emailing nFuzeBeta@solidworks.com

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