A group of a dozen of our sales and technical team have just arrived back from Phoenix, AZ from the annual SOLIDWORKS World conference. Over 6,000 avid SOLIDWORKS users and resellers congregated on the Phoenix Convention Centre to attend technical and commercial breakout sessions as well as customer stories, guest speakers and a sneak peek of what is to come in SOLIDWORKS 2016.
Gian Paolo Bassi- new SOLIDWORKS CEO
Day 1 unveiled the soon to be released SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design application, the second offering on the Dassault Systemes 3DExperience Platform, alongside SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design. SWID allows users to create freeform shapes using Sub Divisional modelling which allows a push pull effect to create high quality organic shapes. Plus the platform is collaborative which makes it easy for design reviews and feedback. We also saw a little more on SOLIDWORKS Model Based Definition (MBD) for PMI data without the need to create 2D drawings. This is due to be released very soon to add to the product portfolio as an add in to SOLIDWORKS.
The other big announcement on Day 1 was the "changing of the baton" as far as SOLIDWORKS' CEO goes- Bertrand Sicot after 4 years at the helm moves into a new position at Dassault Systemes as VP of Worldwide Sales for Value Solutions. The new SOLIDWORKS CEO is Gian Paolo Bassi, the ex VP of R&D.
We then had 3 guest speakers- firstly from Parrot, a French industrial design company, CEO Henri Seydoux and Lead Designer Karim Fargeau descibed how they have piloted SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design for their drone designs. Also we saw Chris Goodine from Thalmic Labs demonstrate the Thalmic Myo product, a forearm wristband that uses muscle sensors to provide gesture control for various applications- including SOLIDWORKS. Finally we heard from Bre Pettis, former Makerbot CEO who talked with passion about the rise of 3D Printing as well as a sneak peak into the future of this discipline.
After a day of attending breakout sessions we then looked forward to the evening entertainment, where the team opted out of the CSWE event, and instead enjoyed a night of pool, bowling and one or two local beers...
Day 2's general session was dedicated to the SOLIDWORKS User Group Network and their successes around the world. We also learnt about a huge milestone of 2 million EDU licenses sold and how a group of young Engineers at Roominate have used SOLIDWORKS to design educational toys for children. Further information was then given about the expanding functions of MySOLIDWORKS, adding a new Manufacturing Network, as well as the new supplier services on 3D Content Central.
We then had arguably the most entertaining of the Key Note speakers Dr. Michio Kaku who has a New York Times Best Selling book "The Future of the Mind", and he shared his thoughts into how the human mind will become more and more prominent in everyday life, controlling everyday objects. He also talked about smart technologies such as contact lenses and interactive wall paper, and even toilets with health diagnostics built in!!
Dr Michio Kaku wowed us with his future visions
The evening event of Day 2 is always the big entertainment social, and SOLIDWORKS went all out this year taking 50 coach loads of visitors to a local Rodeo Ranch for great food, music and entertainment. Guests could try their hand at lasso-ing, placing bets on pig races and even cooking up our own smores. The Solid Solutions team even donned fancy dress for a team photo, but this won't be making it onto our blog!!
So the final, and most eventful day, the Wednesday general session. As usual this was the one that unveiled some sneak previews of what to expect from SOLIDWORKS 2016 as well as the top ten user enhancement requests which are listed below. We also had some inspirational key notes including the newest CSWE, Seffi Udi, who after a car accident was left paralysed from the neck down. He was later introduced to SOLIDWORKS and after a few iterations of how to control SOLIDWORKS remotely, he himself pioneered an innovative mouth operated mouse to drive his favourite CAD package- truly inspirational stuff. We also heard from Jinsop Lee, and Industrial Designer who has a fresh approach to design through his '5-Senses Theory' - you can watch his TED talk here.
It was an action packed session, and just prior to the 2016 previews this years Model Mania champions were revealed from the Customer and Reseller categories- although our very own Russell Richardson claimed the prize last year, this year's Solid Solutions team must have been having too much fun, as none of us had chance to complete the challenge- the queues were 15 people deep when I looked to have a go.
So to the good stuff, and firstly this is what the user community wants from up and coming releases of SOLIDWORKS through the annual top ten enhancement requests. SOLIDWORKS has a great track record of implementing many of the previous top ten's so hopefully we can see a few of these make it into upcoming releases.
1- Support zero thickness geometry
2- Bidirectional sweep
3- Export sheet metal parts of an assembly to dxf/dwg in flat state
4- Selection list box is too small; should be bigger or flexible in size
5- Display the exact item causing the error
6- Ability to make the inferred relations permanent in sketch
7- Selecting inner loops on a selected face
8- Both direction pattern
9- Topology optimization from Tosca for all engineers
10- Variable pull direction draft
Now onto things we can expect from SOLIDWORKS 2016, and the product definition team once more created an entertaining skit around the subject of David Pattern-borer (Attenborough) as he commentated over a rare insight into the natural habitat of the designer....
So this is what is to come:
1- Curvature Edge Fillets (as oppose to only face fillets we have today)
2- Flatten Surface Capabilities- extending to entities with holes and the ability to flatten curves on surfaces such as split lines.
3- Rename part from within the feature manager tree.
4- User Interface changes for a cleaner more modern look.
5- Breadcrumbs for detailed information related to parts and assemblies.
6- PDM for all- SOLIDWORKS 2016 to ship with a new PDM offering in all levels.
7- Bi-directional sweeps.
8- Simulation Mesh Sectioning.
9- Assembly Mate Controller- for dynamic motion and animation.
10- Direct Scale change on drawing sheets.
11- PhotoView proof sheets to preview the end result of lighting effects.
12- Child Reference Feature Arrows- to show downstream inter part relations.
So lots to look forward to for the new release, but this is still a good few months away.
In the evening, all of the SOLIDWORKS resellers met for an awards ceremony to congratulate the top performing VARs around the world. In our category of EuroNorth (UK, Scandinavia, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) we were proud to claim a host of awards listed below, as well as some great individual achievements for both our sales and technical team. 2014 was a fantastic year for Solid Solutions and our customers and it is always very humbling to be awarded such a vast set of awards on a global scale- what it wasn't great for was our luggage allowance on the way home.
Solid Solutions Reseller Awards
1- Top Performing Reseller- EuroNorth
2- Highest Sales- SOLIDWORKS - EuroNorth
3- Highest Sales- Composer- EuroNorth
4- Highest Sales- Simulation- EuroNorth
5- Highest Sales- Electrical- EuroNorth
6- Highest Sales- 3 Year Subscriptions- EuroNorth
7- 100% Club Education Licenses
8- 100% Club Research Licenses
9- 500 Club (SOLIDWORKS Licenses Sold)- Mark Scanlon (Northern Sales Manager)
10- 500 Club (SOLIDWORKS Licenses Sold)- Kevin Smith (Southern Sales Manager)
11- Elite Application Engineer- Peter Harkness- (Applications Engineer)
And on top of this we were revealed to be in the top 10 performing resellers worldwide out of over 300!
Solid Solutions success was clear to see by the amount of crystal we had to bring home!!
All in all it was a thoroughly entertaining and thought provoking week which provides all involved with an extra sense of inspiration and ideas for the year ahead. As for next year SOLIDWORKS World makes its debut in Dallas....
By Adam Hartles