This week in Hollywood, Florida, the 3DEXPERIENCE Forum is examining Business in the Age of Experience — specifically, a more digital experience. Hosted by Dassault Systèmes, the conference is bringing together key players in software and industry, along with media and analysts, in curated discussions focusing on a big-picture look at digitization. The world is going digital, an unavoidable truth evidenced by increasing interest in such aspects as the Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0, and advanced manufacturing technologies driven by machine learning and simulation.
In welcoming attendees in this morning’s plenary session, executives from Dassault Systèmes examined the progress to date in their expansive 3DEXPERIENCE platform. First introduced in 2012, solutions from across the platform have been integrated into a variety of solutions across several key verticals to aid in the digital disruption of industry.
“Today we want to show you what we do, what we have done, what is the value we want to deliver to you, your company, and the value we want to give to the end user,” said Dassault Systèmes’ Bruno Latchague, SVP, Americas.
Picking up that train of thought was Dean Marsh, Managing Director, Dassault Systèmes North America.
“You’re using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to design products that are disrupting and game changing your products, the market, and our future,” Marsh said, motioning to the gathered crowd.
“How many of the things that were once fiction are now reality?”
Because it isn’t an event focused on advanced manufacturing without at least one mention of a Star Trek Replicator, Marsh referenced that sci-fi technology — alongside wearables, handheld communicators, and other pieces of today’s tech that first sprang from Star Trek, Star Wars, and Dune. Users of technologies from the 3DEXPERIENCE platform are those now driving these advances into reality; as Marsh noted, “almost every single electronic vehicle today is designed using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.” Furthermore, 17 of the top 20 semiconductor companies use these technologies to develop their products.
Keen to continue this level of adoption and connectivity, Dassault Systèmes is working to entrench itself more deeply still into industry — from its beginnings through to advanced, complex applications. The company is increasing its partnerships with academy, to upskill the future workforce, and with industrial partners such as Boeing.
So important to the structure of the offering that it’s part of the name is the platform aspect of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform; to clarify what was meant on this front was Monica Menghini, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, Dassault Systèmes. Menghini took to the stage to debunk some myths about just what a “platform” is. She noted that “platform” is a big buzz word, because businesses are going digital. The three myths she took on were:
- Platforms are for business process automation
- Point solutions can transform into platforms
- Any platform is an innovation platform
The team behind the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, she explained, spent a great deal of time and work with industry analysts “to learn what could be a platform and what could not be, what would be a platform and what would be a product, thinking what’s next after PLM.”
“Business is a social structure,” she said. “Platforms must operate the social structure of business.”
Through the idea of a platform, a supply chain can see movement to the concept of a value chain and then to the concept of a value network; “the supply chain becomes something that goes out from beyond the four walls of your business into the industry,” Menghini explained. The network vision expands across applications and technologies. She noted among these technologies that will be part of the 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace 3D printing — “but it is machining as well, as this platform takes into consideration any type of manufacturing you might need.” The key here is to expand “into the real value network of the future,” which is connected, digital, functional, realistic, and agile.
“What is the key word is business experience platform, how we have developed 3DEXPERIENCE platform since the beginning,” she said.
Speaking next to the convergence of hardware and software was Olivier Ribet, Vice President of Industry, Dassault Systèmes. He noted that these aspects coming together “can be an interesting challenge,” if an oft-frustrating one.
“You know us as the 3D company; let’s change that for a moment with the three Cs,” Ribet said: “Connected, contextual, continuous.”
Illustrating the offerings of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform in a case study, Ribet highlighted the example of Beamy, a clever, connected speaker that can interact with a number of technologies.
In a more interconnected use case, we looked to Wichita, where a 3DEXPERIENCE Center was opened this spring.
“Who knew Wichita was the aviation capital of the US, if not the world?” Marsh asked as he introduced John Tomblin, PhD, Executive Director of the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer at Wichita State University (WSU), Wichita State University.
Upskilling came into focus as the pair discussed the efforts from NIAR. Training through hands-on programs such as that available in the WSU 3DEXPERIENCE Center allows for education that takes students well beyond the textbook and begins shaping them into the kind of new employee companies are looking for — that is, a skilled, knowledgeable worker who doesn’t require intensive training.
“This is training students about things that are not learned in a textbook — industry doesn’t want that anymore, they want people with experience,” Tomblin said. “3DEXPERIENCE platform is really a game-changer, especially in the aerospace industry.”
Moving more deeply into platform offerings and the plans for Dassault Systèmes itself, the company’s Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO, Bernard Charlès, took to the stage to discuss the power of engineering. This, he said, “isn’t only about doing things right, it’s also about doing the right things.”
Engineering is “translating the digital world to the real world,” he said, where “what we do together is only limited by our imagination.”
Here, Charlès established more firmly one of the guiding lines of this week’s event: the people-centric nature of innovation. He explained:
“Digitalization will require a new workforce, not to replace, but to elevate the capacity of the existing workforce to really adopt, exploit, enjoy the new capabilities we can provide; in our mind, it must be people-centric. It must be centered on how people work, what do they do. The people-centric aspect goes far beyond the automation of a plant. For Dassault Systèmes, that is at the very heart of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, a people-centric approach. All together, each of them are bringing new light to where the digitalization of the 21st century is going, we invest massively in education, vocational education, startups, innovators — to connect them with the business you are all in.”
Connecting not only a platform of solutions, but a community of users and the community at Dassault Systèmes who develops the digital offerings, is the way forward for the company, alongside customer collaboration. To get to the future requires significant investment into that future.
“The single source of knowledge is experience. Then comes the time to imagine; that is the beauty of working together, there is no limit to imagination. If we can create things that do not work but could be good things, we can have teams working to make them work,” he said.
Connecting people with ideas to the technology that can help to bring these ideas to fruition is at the core of what Dassault Systèmes is hoping for with its broad idea of the 3DEXPERIENCE.
“This scenario of people sharing knowledge, creating together, that is the beauty of this. People have a lot of ideas, they are very often boxed in the mission they have to do — we want to open the world to them, in their own business, to become their dream,” Charlès said.
“We are showing the world of tomorrow in today’s real world. We created excitement in their job, and excitement is a beautiful source of motivation. In many cases, adoption that is going on is not enough focused on helping people to understand what’s going to be good for them, as opposed to the constraint of certain tools. The people-centric dimension is central to the platform. Elevate the roles you are to play in the future you are creating.”
He pointed to the power of connecting ideas and of the growing capabilities available through engineering.
Throughout today’s sessions and discussions, along with interviews and a keynote to be reported in the near future, the 3DEXPERIENCE Forum is focusing on a necessary reality in the increasingly digital world of industry: the people behind it. From creators to engineers, from designers to users, the breadth of activity available through the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is bringing people together to advance technology.
Discuss your thoughts on Business in the Age of Experience, and other 3D printing topics, at 3DPrintBoard.com, or share your comments below.[All photos: Sarah Goehrke]