Saturday, January 22, 2011

No PLM apps at M-Days2011 - why not?

A colleague of mine asked earlier this week on the Cirquent Blog "Are apps a hype?"
Almost instinctively, I commented "of course not" and cited some examples for apps in the PLM space:

Teamcenter on iPad
BCT offers a Teamcenter client that runs on the iPad. You can search and navigate product data and visualize some document fomats (MS Office, TIFF).


3DVIA on iPhone
Dassault Systemes offers an iPhone app that can visualize 3D models from the online community. You can pan, rotate, zoom - and you can insert the 3D models into a photo taken with the iPhone (-> augmented reality for beginners)


Aras PLM mobile client from Porchys
This is available (?) for Android and the iPhone and can also be used to creating and editing product data.

And I can imagine some nice use cases for PLM apps:
  • Simple workflow tasks (inbox check, signoffs)
  • Project management tasks such as work package editing
  • Document reviews (at least with the larger screenspace of an iPad)
  • Dashboards and reports

Looking at the agenda of the M-Days (Frankfurt, Germany, January 27-28, 2011), I had to realize that none of these or any other apps from the PLM space are present at this conference. Most of the business applications seem to come from the sales and service processes. Why is that?

Barriers for PLM apps
  • Product data can become quite large. Restricting the apps to meta-data and ultra-lightweight 3D data helps, but limits the potential use cases
  • Smaller market for app vendors - compared to the large number of users in sales & service
  • Security for sensitive product data - from data transmission to the loss of mobile devices

What do you think - will we see more PLM apps in 2011?


  1. Jens, I think we will see more PLM Apps in 2011. Some of my thoughts about that is here - 3D/PLM and iPad: Future or Baloney ( Best, Oleg

  2. Oleg, thank you for your feedback.
    I agree: this is just the beginning and we will see more apps in the future - running on a tablet or even being integrated into some other devices that are close to the user.