The product development technology industry is an intriguing one. Like many industries there are various levels of user, various levels of developer and various levels of component technology providers. While for those that aren’t deeply embedded in the industry, much of the interaction, deals and licensing goes on out of public view. Does the user really want to know where the various component technologies that make up their workhorse products come from? In the majority of instances, no, probably not, but I think there is some value in talking a little bit about where many of the technologies come from. I was reminded about this just last week at SolidWorks World when I bumped into an good friend, Joe Walsh, a gentleman that I’ve come to know over the course of many years.
Joe’s been around the industry for years, yet unlike the head-grabbing names and faces we’re all familiar with, he’s relatively unknown by the user community. Joe’s been around the industry, having worked at FEGS (now part of Transcendata), Spatial and IronCAD to name but a few.
Until recently, Joe worked with an organisation called Simmetrix. That company developed and sold a component technology widely used in many of the simulation codes we use on a daily basis. In specific it provides geometry and mesh handling tools that allow the mesh based world of simulation to talk to the geometry-based world of 3D CAD, that allows rapid mesh generation and simulation data management.
In January I got the inevitable LinkedIn job update and he’s now set-up an organisation called intrinSim and I finally got a chance to sit and have a chat about what it is that he and his team are up to.
When you look at the development and component community within this industry, many organisations license the same technology from the same partners. There are those ‘household’ names like Siemens’ PLM Components group (that supply Parasolid, D-Cubed) and Dassault’s Spatial (ACIS, data translation tools). Alongside this, there are organisations that provide a wide variety of services, such as TechSoft3D, who develop and sell core technology such as HOOPS as well as reselling 3D Interop tools from Spatial, Parasolid and Autodesk’s RealDWG.
Now, to those not familiar with how this works, it might seem odd that you have multiple organisations developing their own products, but also reselling the products from other vendors. The reason is that it’s a single source of acquisition for vendors looking to license multiple components.
Joe’s new organisation is set to jump into the industry with a set of tools that differs from the existing tools out there, but to accomplish the same task. He’s set-up intrinSIM to do much the same but with a simulation focus. Alongside the Simmetrix products, he’ll also be taking Datakit’s data translation tools, simulation results compression, visualisation and collaboration tools from VCollab (which I’ll be looking at in a few months time) and the tools from EASA that help bring applications to the web and mobile devices. It looks like an interesting product stack and with Joe’s experience I’m sure you’ll be seeing some of this technology show up your workhorse tools at some point soon.
The point of telling you all this is to make the point that if you’re looking to find out where much of design and engineering technology is heading towards, there’s a case for playing close attention to the component suppliers and technology developers as there is to the vendors themselves. If you want to get an idea of what’s coming in say, SolidWorks, then read Parasolid related press releases – you’ll get a heads up before everyone else.