LAS VEGAS (Dassault 3DEXPERIENCE), Nov 13, 2013 - I love listening to Bernard Charles. I might be a sucker for the thick French accent. Or is it his delivery? The Dassault CEO gives a big smile after every sentence. He must be friendly in person, though I haven't met him.
Bernard Charles, CEO of Dassault Systemes, and the dashing Monica Menghini, EVP of Dassault marketing (seated), are trying very hard to explain 3DEXPERIENCE to the press at Dassault's annual American gathering of users. They've been at it for over a year. (see previous coverage).
The Smartest People in the Room
Are they just too smart...their concepts too advanced? "3DEXPERIENCE is a platform. V6 is an architecture." Huh? Us CAD guys are used to connecting functions to software. Design with CATIA. Analyze with SIMULIA. Like that. But these guys are trying to raise us to a new level. From the back of the room, I see pens in mid air. Normally, we're a dutiful crowd, busy with our pens, recording it all. But words are failing us now. And then, finally, some gather the courage to question, to try to bring the talk down to a level we can all get. But Charles and Monica remain undaunted. Their higher ideals are not to be brought down to the mundane, this product for this purpose for this price. I do admire people with ideals.
I try to get some CAD insiders to dumb it down for me, but they seem equally befuddled. And one is actually a whip-smart young dude so it's not my advanced years blocking new ideas. Whew. One or two of the analysts (these guys are paid to know a thing or two --unlike us press types) do attempt to give me an interpretation of Charles's wisdom. But they differ.
There must be an explanation. I wend my way to the show floor, past posters of icebergs pulled across oceans and cars with wings, which only further my sense of not getting it. Some of those product guys must be able to tell me what this 3D EXPERIENCE is.
Refuge in CATIA
I go for the heart of the matter, the CATIA booth. I know CATIA, what it does well, who uses it and for what. If there is one product Dassault is known for, it's CATIA. I get CATIA. I'll ground myself there and then see if 3DEXPERIENCE can be explained from that vantage point. But what I see on the screens appears to show 2 cars in motion, looking something like systems modeling. Oh, no they've changed CATIA. It's hopeless.
Erik Bolognini, Sr Technical Sales Specialist for Dassault, is a CAD guy but able to explain 3DEXPERIENCE. Finally.
The show floor is serving as a reception, with food and drink in wide supply. Erik Bolognini is not having either. I sense this guy is serious.
"We're showing a simulation of the cruise control," says Erik. The software is showing how a car can sense another in front of it and adjust it's speed. Very cool ... but it's not CATIA.
No, it's Dynmola used for system engineering. CATIA is a modeler. But the interface blurs the lines. An automotive engineer and go from CATIA to Dymola seamlessly. In fact, there is other software they can use, including SolidWorks. Dassault will package the design, analysis and system software together. The automotive engineer can get all their needs met, have a good experience...ohhhhh! a 3DEXPERIENCE. So the 3DEXPERIENCE is really a package of software? Erik nods. Oh, for gods sake. Why don't they just say that? I can handle packages and bundles.
I can't help but ask how much for the automotive 3DEXPERIENCE? Erik, Sr Technical Sales Specialist, can't tell me. I guess there is still some knowledge just out of reach for mere mortals, even Erik.