PLM Road Map 2009: What to Expect?

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I went through the agenda of the PLM Road Map 2009 (September 22 and 23, in Detroit, Michigan [US]) when I submitted my attendance preferences to conference organizer Collaborative Product Development Associates (CPDA). Looking at the agenda, I’m convinced that the two-day event is well structured to cover critical issues in the product lifecycle management (PLM) field and to apprehend the future of PLM. Below are what look to me like the conference highlights:

The Future of the North American Automotive Industry

There’s no other place better than Detroit for this topic. I can imagine that instead of talking about weather and the like during the conference breaks, attendees may naturally start talking about the automotive industry due to the location, timing, and the sturdy relationship between PLM and the automotive industry. After the recent hardships, it is time for people to hear what Glenn Mercer has to share in his speech Outlook for the North American Automotive Industry at the heart of the automobile capital of the world.

Management of Complex Systems

The world is getting more complex; so are today’s products. Product development management needs to not only facilitate collaboration among different product lifecycle stages but also coordinate between multidisciplinary design and engineering activities. That explains why CPDA has scheduled an entire afternoon on the topic Supporting Effective Collaboration Across Mechanical, Electrical, and Software Development Teams in breakout sessions.

CAD Visibility and Interoperability

Managing and controlling product data is an important aspect of PLM, but it is not enough to lock the information (especially computer-aided design [CAD] data) in a vault. A key value in PLM, however, is the ability to extend this data beyond the desktop to other engineers, other departments, and other stakeholders–primarily customers and suppliers. I’m expecting that Dr. Ken Versprille’s session CAD/Visualization Trends: Dealing with Product Complexity & Variation will navigate attendees through the complicated landscape of today’s CAD/visualization market.

Social Product Development

When PLM systems (as innovation platforms) are strengthened by embracing Web 2.0 capabilities, activities related to sharing and exchanging product knowledge may surge. Following the discussions on the "people dimension" of a PLM system or the concept of “people-centric PLM,” social networking is expected to be more tightly included in the PLM loop. The session Collaborative Product Information Networks: Extending the Use of PLM Data to the Enterprise through Social Networking presented by three software vendors (Microsoft, PTC, and Aras) together will demonstrate what Microsoft SharePoint has to do with PLM.

The above topics are what I feel are going to be the most interesting to me--but there's a lot more you'll be uncovering on your own. If you're planning to attend the conference, see you soon in Detroit!
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