COFES: Alpha CAD-geeks assemble for the Future + Survey Fun

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Martyn opens his magic box for our favourite Italian gentleman (Dr. Sandro Sozzi) – causing obvious delight. The contents of the box, however, remains a mystery.

We’re just past the Ides of March, the month is half done and we’re rapidly approaching April. Other than being 1,066th anniversary of Julius Caesar’s death, this also means that COFES, or the Congress on the Future of Engineering Software is on the horizon.Held each year around the 15th of April at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort, COFES has become of one of the leading events of the product development software industry events to attend. It’s a heady mix of both technical sessions, breakouts with industry analysts, round table discussions and presentations from all manner of ‘visionaries.’ Each year’s events has a theme associated with it, this year’s tag line being Best-practices aren’t good enough, with the team behind the event asking “What can we do to make our customers more effective innovators?” and “How can we innovate in the development of better practices?”

But as I said last year, COFES for me, isn’t about the keynotes, isn’t about the breakout sessions and it certainly isn’t about sitting around a table and discussing the problems of ease of use and data translation. What it IS about however, is a single place to meet with some of the brightest minds in the industry, catch up on what they’re up to, what they’re working on and discuss it in an open environment. All too often software vendors work in isolation and right so.

Blake Courter, one of the founders of SpaceClaim, invites 35 random people into his hotel room to emote about direct editing – not for the first time..

After all, these are profit making organisations which have their own customer base to protect, their own profit levels to maintain – that’s how business works. But at COFES, for some reason (be it the sunshine, the beer/wine or the sing-a-long on the last night) industry executives seem more open to discuss what their plans are, what they’re doing with both users, we in the media and the world as a whole. you get a better picture of where different vendors are at, what’s in their roadmap when its put in the immediate context of the industry as a whole. COFES is also about face to face connections – something that’s incredibly valuable even in today’s hyper connected, social media led world.

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As part of the proceedings, the organisation behind COFES Cyon Research, are conducting two survey of users and the industry as a whole and I’d encourage you to take the time to fill out the surveys and give your input – this information is distributed at the event and much made available to those that participate. The first is the Market Outlook survey, which should take 5 minutes to whizz through – This will give a good an idea of what people are expecting from the year ahead and compared to last year, should provide interesting reading. The second, and the more interesting, is a more in-depth study of users of software tools for design and engineering and will take about 20 minutes to complete.

The COFES web-site is found here, but there’s also a series of interviews being conducted by the rather fabulous and always dapper Kenneth Wong over at the Desktop Engineering blog so have a look-see there. If you’re heading out to COFES, drop us a line and we’ll meet up. Martyn and myself can usually be found, somewhere at the back, sniggering slightly when the more ‘aged’ industry pundits start rambling about “ease of use and running something on a mini-vac and how these kids don’t know how hard it was.” As evidenced by Mr. Day on one of his less lyrical rants:


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