PTC Media + Analyst Event: ProductPoint announcement

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#1: I’m currently in a very chilly Boston, attending PTC‘s annual Media and Analyst event and the proceedings have kicked off with some new announcements, so I’ll cover those as details emerge. First off, PTC has just launched its Windchill ProductPoint product, first shown at the PTC/User event in Long Beach. This sees the core, underlying processes and workflows from Windchill, applied to the Microsoft SharePoint platform. Flagged as the Social Product Development platform, this sees a layer of technology built onto the pretty much ubiquitous SharePoint platform, that adapts it from a generic document management and sharing platform, for the purposes of product development. This extends it to handle the more complex interactions between parts, assemblies and drawings typical within any 3D design system and gives you the ability to “vault and share structured information.

PTC ProductPoint brings product design technology to the widely avialable SharePoint platform, such as managing complex data structures inherent in design systems (such as Pro/Engineer) and data visualisation tools from PTC’s ProductView technology.

Looking at the product from a very early stage, its clear that this is pretty interesting. With all of the standard SharePoint tools, such as document sharing, forums and wikis, the ProductPoint adds a two layer stack on top. The first is based on Windchill that allows you to control all of your office documents, typically Pro/E design data, but adds an additional layer that adds ProductView-based (which is perhaps one of the best kept technology secrets in the 3D world because of its ability to handle huge datasets in a highly efficient manner) viewing and mark-up facilities for not only Pro/Engineer data, but Mathcad.

Complex structure and data interaction is something that vanilla SharePoint can’t handle – ProductPoint adds this capability


Things like “where used” and “used by” searches based on complex assembly structures is something that standard SharePoint can’t handle.

But what intrigues me is what do PTC mean by Social Product Development? Are they just jumping on the ‘social’ bandwagon? To some extent, yes, they are. They aren’t the first to do so, and I’m pretty sure they won’t be the last in the 3D design world. This is perhaps the next stage in this industry as vendors either try to truly accept what’s happening in the online world or just simply attempt to reposition their existing products as providing those types of interaction methods. What is clear is that there’s a ground swell behind PTC’s management solutions (see the EADS deal as a good example) and building a seemingly very capable solution, based on a data management platform that’s already installed in most organisations, has 100 million licenses, makes a huge amount of sense.

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PTC CEO, Dick Harrison – never a man to mince his words.

As PTC CEO Dick Harrison commented at today’s event “There’s no such thing as standalone 3D CAD anymore,” and every vendor worth their salt, is looking to find new ways to integrate design and data Management and add real value to the complex interaction between both data and the people authoring or influencing a product’s development.

Next up: Pro/Engineer WIldfire 5 – More Soon.