I’ve been on site earlier this week at the Dassault Systemes Customer Conference (DSCC) where Dassault was serving up ‘life-like’ scoops of web-based CAD and PLM. Part of the “What’s your dream” theme and conference highlights is a soon to be launched software, a collaborative web environment just for you, your team or your entire company. 3D Swym.

Now, you may have heard of the 3D Swym community a few months ago with the release of Dassault’s free 2D program, DraftSight. That web-based environment is an example of a the same sort of environment you’ll be able to set up and use yourself. Along with that, Dassault will be releasing, through the 3DAppStore, an app to use the ENOVIA V6 platform via the web. But that’s not all, SolidWorks will also be launching an app that provides document management via the web. Here are the details.

3D Swym community environment for you

Ready for the concept? You log in, create a workspace, and bring in people to collaborate. All online. Sounds typical maybe and… maybe it is, but there are interesting aspects to it nonetheless. In the video below, Bruno Delahaye, VP ENOVIA Market Strategy, tells how the product is ready and how it’s been used internally at Dassualt with over 9,000 people. They’re going to deliver it via the Dassault 3DAppStore, as an online service… subscription based.

Bruno went on to say that if Dassault has a cloud initiative, it would enable an exclusive feeling of a tribe, a community… Prepare the face paint. (Actually, “Tribes” are not a new concept. You can get a free ebook on the idea from Seth Godin here… Tribes by Seth Godin.) They’ve been asked by their large accounts have to help create this type of cohesion in their workplace. In other words, they’re asking for web-based solutions. I don’t tend to doubt that because I’m currently involved with companies which both use and are looking at web-based solutions.

He also stated that, unlike Sharepoint, 3D Swym is tied to the innovation process, instead of sales of Microsoft Office products. Maybe so, but even if software sales were the focus (which, yeah, I think they are) and what I know of using Sharepoint, the interface and delivery of 3D Swym is much more attractive.

So, a little bit on the interface. You can log into 3D Swym yourself to get the idea. What you won’t see is how communities are constructed though. It’s completely customizable. The community can be put together as a drag-and-drop mash up of widgets, where you can include product rooms, product status, blog, wiki, and various sections and blocks of data which allow you to extend what your community is about.

3D Swym is a online collaboration environment. Dassault is launching it as a service to allow immediate creation of custom workspaces. (Click to Enlarge)
3D Swym is a online collaboration environment. Dassault is launching it as a service to allow immediate creation of custom workspaces. (Click to Enlarge)

Now, if you’re wondering how this would integrate with CATIA V6 on your computer, no worries. Their development roadmap has plans to include additional service that link 3D Swym to additional PLM programs and services through bridges. This ties in with another service launching soon. ENOVIA V6 on the Cloud.

ENOVIA V6 PLM on the Cloud

This is another service you will be able to purchase through the online 3DAppStore. As Bruno mentions in the video above, it will allow you to create your own ENOVIA V6 server, completely configured and ready to use, allowing you to organize your project and all the people involved.

ENOVIA V6 is the backbone of the entire line of V6 Dassault products, so it makes sense that most web-based services that they offer would have the potential of connecting to it. This is the first step. Get the platform online and build on top of that. With all the Dassault R&D groups working together on this, there’s little doubt that we’ll eventually start to see more and more services available via the web. For SolidWorks, this will begin with document management.

SolidWorks PDM on the Cloud

Currently, this is code-named SolidWorks Connect (called SolidWorks Product Data Sharing (PDS) at SolidWorks World 2010.) This year was the first year SolidWorks was up alongside all the other Dassault products. There wasn’t much mention of the web-based PDM solution SolidWorks is working on, but from early screenshots shown at SolidWorks World, it too runs on the ENOVIA V6 platform.

From SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray:

“This online CAD-based collaboration tool is planned for early 2011 and is specifically designed for smaller companies and individual users who need to easily upload, organize, and share designs – many times at a moment’s notice. While this online service will be available using a credit card and doesn’t require any on-site equipment or IT support, users will still have on-premise PDM options with SolidWorks Workgroup and SolidWorks Enterprise PDM.” (link)

and some recent comments from Jon Hirschtick:

“…the upcoming (code-named) Connect offering will be our first online app, and we’re excited to see what people think. Connect is something that will be purely optional for SolidWorks customers, and offered in addition to our existing data management products. It’s intended for customers who want and need a data management solution, but can’t support the IT resources required.” (link)

and from Rich Allan:

“We have not established firm pricing for this product yet, as it will not ship until next year, but we expect a cost under $100/user/month. This is a data sharing product that will allow users to manage and share SolidWorks and related files both internally and with users around the world.”(link)

Look for launches over the next couple weeks for the 3D Swym and ENOVIA V6 PLM on the Cloud apps. SolidWorks PDM on the Cloud will most likely be launching at SolidWorks World 2011 or soon after.

Many may not be inclined to use, or think, that any type of web-based service is reliable, especially when it comes to handling large data sets. However, Dassault and users of V6 products have been doing it for years already. To me, it’s one more option with the potential to make data storage and accessibility much easier and file access more streamlined.

Are any of these upcoming services, products you would use?


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.