PTC announced at the conference, that this fall they are going to officially release something big really big. Apparently so big that it's compared to the creation of parametric 3d modeling, and this new innovation will set the trend for the next 10 years. So I'm wondering what could be so great, anybody care to comment? I asked a few PTC employees and all I got was "you will have to wait and see" with a smile...
I have no idea what's in the works, but if I had to wager a guess, it would be something along the lines of a Virtual Reality modeling environment...seems to me though that we're still years (decades?) from that kind of technology becoming mainstream. It'll be interesting....
Not sure if you had a chance to look at the website, but we did put a couple of videos (one of Jim and one of Brian) that talk about Project Lightning and a 2 page strategy statement. You can find that here: http://www.ptc.com/project-lightning/
Hopefully you will find this information useful.
After viewing those, it seems like yet another attempt to woo the corporate heads (that don't use PTC products) as opposed to wooing the actual users of PTC products. Sorry if I sound jaded...but that's a pretty obvious direction for PTC.
The idea is definitely to address the challenges that both users and their management face when using today's CAD tools. We hear all the time from end-users that they want the products to be easier to use, and they want it to be easier to work with data from different CAD systems. Furthermore, managing large assemblies is a process that can take too much time and effort, and not yield enough value. Providing support for touch screens and other "bells and whistles" won't change the way we use CAD for the next twenty years - we believe fixing these more fundamental problems will.
I haven't decided if PTC's naming trend is becoming more deadly or not. After reviewing the CAD naming conventions it seems that the trend doesn't bode well for someone. Of course, I sure it's suggesting the competition is going to be in trouble. However, after invesitgating the Windchill (hyperthermia) stats, somebody is really in trouble when comparing them to the Pro/ENGINEER names. Resources below.
Although the objectives I've seen on Project Lightning looks promising, the bits and pieces have me concerned as far as the manner of implementing it when you have investment of in PTC's current CAD and PLM software offerings. It would appear that Lightning is more than just a CAD tool, it's PLM and a whole new CAD tool built on Granite that are tightly integrated. If you look at what other companies are doing (i.e. Siemens' HD-PLM with NX7) I think the lines are going to start to blur a bit. They are two separate apps, but only really powerful together.
My guess would be, as many others have stated, there will be no Pro/E Wildfire 6 and no CoCreate 18. These apps will be combined into a CAD tool with differing modules to provide both a history based and history free manner of working with the CAD data.
On the PLM side, PTC's continued close working relationship with Microsoft would lead me to think that you'll see them pushing their PLM products more towards MIcrosoft SQL server and tighter integration with SharePoint unless you're a mega multi-national corporation with thousands of seats. I don't necessarily see this as a problem technically for an implementation our size (~55 users, no common server / integration between our sites yet). But yesterdayI received a survey from PTC yesterday regarding CAD Data Management that was heavy in mentioning SharePoint, pay as you go PLM and indicated a "new" PLM product was being developed and soon released for beta testing. Umm, what's going on guys?
Where I have the big questions are how does the licensing move forward? I'm in the midst of a test implementation if Windchill PDMLink 9.1 (updating to M060 as I write) so we can finally move off of Wildfire 3.0. Please, PTC, you'd better not be introducing a "new" PLM product that actually is a good fit for an implementation our size. Granted, that's what I've wanted, but we just bit the bullet and coughed up the cash for PDMLink. If they expect me to pay more (again) to move to some newer, better, more microsofty PLM system in order to go to Pro/E-Lightning - they've got another think coming.
Then there is the CAD side. Do my licenses for Pro/E carry forward to licensing for "Lightning" without (I'll stress WITHOUT) any license conversion, uplift or whatever else they want to call such charges? Everything they indicate so far would mean your data carries forward, but what about my licensing?
I think the concept of where they are going sounds great. My concerns are with how it's implemented and how much it will cost us to get there. I might sound cynical, but PTC's history of planned product obsolecense and pushing something new to replace the "old" always costs us huge $ and a lot of time. Are there benefits to be gained? Many times yes. But it shouldn't cost existing customers this much, on top of annual maintenance charges, to stay with their products. I'm tired of being backed into a corner and told I have to pay more so they can keep their share holders and bankers happy.
Let me take a minute to address your question regarding a “new PLM” solution, and the context of the survey you received. To be sure, PTC is neither announcing nor plans to announce a new PLM or PDM solution. We conducted the survey in order to better understand the PDM needs – both functionality and accessibility – of small and medium sized businesses (SMB’s). Windchill ProductPoint, a SharePoint-based solution, was initially released in 2008 as a PDM solution for SMB’s. Hundreds of customers have benefited from the use of this solution since that initial release. Version 2 of Windchill ProductPoint is currently in beta testing and scheduled for general availability early next calendar year. We will continue to address the product data management needs of SMB companies with Windchill ProductPoint, and for those organizations requiring more extensive PLM functionality, Windchill PDMLink will continue to support those needs.
Thanks for your interest and keep an eye out for this upcoming release of Windchill ProductPoint 2.0.
Thanks for taking the time to reply regarding the PLM side. Good to know that PTC is sticking with Windchill ProductPoint and Windchill PDMLink as their data management tools. Unfortunately we're kind of in that gray area in between the two. ProductPoint would do what we want, but isn't really capable enough for an implementation our size. PDMLink is very capable, but kind of overkill for how we intend to use it now or in the foreseeable future. Kind of like having 4 kids and only two vehicles to choose from: A Honda Civic and 3/4 ton Chevy Suburban that's been stretched and fitted with a Cummins turbo diesel.
Any updates to share on Windchill 10? Potential release date and what's been improved? Is it the PLM part of Lightning? Wait until October 28th, right?
Erik, I appreciate your dilemma (even if I can't appreciate your transportation conundrum personally!) but am glad you’re on the path to being able to leverage all that’s available in PDMLink. Indeed, Windchill ProductPoint is a great PDM solution, but it has functional limits. Intended for the needs of smaller workgroups, it provides a quick, easy, and professional alternative to FTP sites and network drives for data management.
I’d be interested to continue the conversation with you off-line and understand your environment a little better.
As far as Windchill 10 goes, there is a lot in the works. It will get its own time in the sun beyond the Lightning Event on 10/28. We’ll be able to share more as we get closer to its expected ship date listed here: http://www.ptc.com/cs/product_calendar/PTC_Product_Calendar.htm.