COFES 2009: Why we go

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COFES is just a few short weeks away and I’ve been asked by a few people as to why I’ve been over the past few years (I think this is my fourth). For those unaware of this invitation only event, COFES, or the Congress on the Future of Engineering Software is held in April every year at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort, in Scottsdale Arizona (16th to the 19th). It sees a huge number of both vendor executives and users gather together in the desert, to discuss themes of the engineering software industry.

According to lore (and the web-site if I’m honest), the three founders of the event, Evan Yares, Dr. Joel Orr, and Brad Holtz, originally “became friends through industry conferences. The idea for COFES sprang from a casual discussion itself, between Yares and Orr, on their desire to assemble the presidents of CAD firms in such a context, provoking a free exchange of ideas among people who have both the vision and the connections turn ideas into reality.”

COFES was founded on the idea that one-on-one interaction and the building of community are the most valuable functions of an industry forum. COFES eschews the distractions of a trade show floor and the formality of executive presentations for a comfortable, causal atmosphere consisting of large and small group discussions with the most influential players and most innovative minds of the software world.

What does tht translate into? All of the big names in the world of engineering focussed technology, in the desert, talking about what is most commonly, their passion and professional interest. Yes, there are an interesting number of keynotes (you can see the agenda here), there are a similar number of roundtable discussions, group discussions and briefings – all of which help to justify the time spent learning and talking. Yes, as a reporter working in this industry, its interesting to see who is talking to who in a huddle corner, guessing who’s up for sale and who’s buying.

But for me, COFES is about its core tenet. It’s those impromptu conversations, the chance meetings, the introductions over a drink or canape, that make it worthwhile. As I put it to someone recently who asked about what COFES was like, “It’s like LinkedIn Live.

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DEVELOP3D’s very own Martyn Day discusses the environment impact of making everything out of ice… He meant… Everything.

Alongside this year’s event, there’s also the The Design and Sustainability Symposium which is intending to explore the intersection of design, simulation, and sustainability for the built (AEC) and manufactured (Mfg) environment. The goal of the event is to to raise the issues that need to be addressed and to identify areas of common ground that may be best served by collaborative, rather than competitive solutions.

I”m also very proud to announce that DEVELOP3D is a sponsoring publication for the event and both myself and Martyn will be in attendance to find out what cracking this year. And to work out our winter tans. Oh. And OK, it’s also 5 miles from the best Mojito in Arizona. Look out for live coverage from the event. Right Here.