Whereas the sheet metal round table was packed (with a few standing at the back), the cloud and collaboration round table has half the attendance. 'Cloud and collaboration' is not, strictly speaking, a CAD feature. But it is new to Solid Edge, even if it is not new to most users -- using email to collaborate and Dropbox to share drawings.
The facilitator is asking:
- Where do you see your company going
- How do you use the cloud if you are an independent contractor?
- Do you use Dropbox, etc, and how?
- Does corporate policy prevent using the cloud?
- Is the Internet blocked at your company.
- What improvements would you like to see to cloud-enabled Solid Eddge?
Whereas sheet metal is mature and in need of some tweaks, the cloud is new and so there are major issues to address. Here are the responses from attendees, with the 'SE' prefix being the response from the facilitator:
- - -
We would like to see a corporate one-drive area for a group of people. We would like to see selective sync'ing, as well as watermarking on files. Our database is 600GB, you can't sync that! We already pay for an unlimited storage corporate subscription, but we don't want to have to pay more just to get a few more features. SE: You can specify the folder(s) to sync, but not the individual files in the folder (ie, all files are sync'ed).
We usually send drawings as PDFs because it is the lowest common denominator and everyone has the reader. We only send 2D drawings, maybe just one 3D PDF once in a while.
A cloud-based viewer (for Solid Edge) would be useful, so people don't need to install anything. At larger corporations, employees have no authority to install new software on their own. Just send a link and the viewer loads automatically.
SE: Is there a security problem with employees opening links send to them? Attendee: No. Our NetNanny would catch bad links.
SE: What kinds of files would you want to view? Attendee: We want to view 3D models, and measure them; that's the main thing.
We run everything through TeamCenter, we don't segregate things out for individual projects. If a client want's DWG files, we tell them to create their own from TeamCenter.
We are looking for Solid Edge and TeamCenter on the cloud. SE: What does that mean to you? Attendee: I have no idea; I am just here listening. We have 155 licenses of SE but would have maybe 5-6 working on the cloud. The 5-6 are at another company with whom we work. We want them to do their own thing, we just want to get their information. We want to view the parts, mark them up, have them make change, and then use their parts in our assemblies.
The way OneDrive works, it is acts a local file folder for whoever accesses it, and it syncs stuff up and down. We are not using it now, because it does not allow a corporate folder.
We would like a viewer that can measure. Very few of our vendors want to see 3D stuff. If they do, we just send it as a STEP file.
I've love to see the Free2D become a Free-two-and-a-half so that it can display and measure 3D models.
Bringing stuff in we usually use email or download from an FTP server, and then translate it. Now, if you want to talk about translation....! We usually get models in IGES format for the most part. Most of the people we work with don't understand anything about translation, it's like pulling eye teeth trying to figure out settings in their CAD system and its unfamiliar user interface.
SketchUp is a pain in the rear, because we cannot translate it into Solid Edge. SE: People use SketchUp? Attendee: Oh yes.
How does OneDrive work? Say I start working on a file, and then OneDrive wants to sync it, what happens? SE: We lock it so that no one else can edit it. Others can view it, but won't be able to edit it until you are done. There is a note saying that it file is being edited and so is locked.
It is confusing to users, because every cloud service has different features. It might help if Solid Edge provides a recommendation of which one to use -- what would you require for the perfect system. SE: We can't know what each customer wants in capabilities. But our data management system [in SE ST9] works with any cloud service; it provides the management and locking services.
Measure is very important of not just Solid Edge files, but also of downstream files, such as from the laser cutter and DXFs.
We would like viewing and measuring in a browser. SE: The drawback to that is that the model goes outside your firewall, and some companies don't allow that. An alternative is to download a lightweight viewer.