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2 Oct 2010

What could be seen and heard at COFES-Russia / isicad-2010

David Levin

COFES-Russia seminar was held on September 21, in Moscow in cooperation with the 4th isicad Forum. Correspondingly, the co-organizers of the event were Cyon Research and LEDAS. 92 registered participants represented about 30 leading providers of engineering software, 10+ media and analytics, 7 industrial customers, and 5 technical universities. Attendees could listen to 12 panel presentations, participate in 7 round tables and in one technical seminar, be involved in a final panel discussion combined with a press-conference, and see a ceremony of isicad community awards and an exhibition of students CAD/AEC projects. A full agenda is published here .

Judging by numerous comments and responses to the questionnaire, the event, which had an experimental format, was of great interest: the organizers have already received many constructive suggestions for improving the structure and focus of future similar events. The main thing: the overwhelming number of participants clearly want to participate in the next COFES- isicad event, which is able to get together on the same site different vendors and enable free-style discussions on topical problems of the industry, listen to expert reports on general market trends, etc. Isicad forums (2004, 2006, 2008) appeared to be unique multi-vendor events for the Russian market, now we understood that in combination with an outstanding experience and format of COFES they can attract even more interest and be more fruitful.

Below you can find a comparatively short but well illustrated event report, photos were made by Dmitry Movchan, Dmitry Ushakov, Elena Kovarskaya, and myself.

The event co-chairs, Brad Holtz (Cyon Research, COFES) and David Levin (LEDAS, isicad) symbolically opened the event by putting a Russian winter hat on a cactus which is reasonably associated with main COFES events annually held in Arizona:


See also a video clip about the opening, voiceover in Russian.

Then followed a keynote speech by Brad Holtz, President and CEO of Cyon Research: A vision of global market dynamics for design and engineering software, including results and implications of recent surveys of the global engineering software community:


In his one-hour-long lecture Brad Holtz analyzed dynamics of the global market for engineering software. After a short presentation of his company, Cyon Research, the organizer of unique COFES congresses, the speaker came to the main part - analysis of the vectors of market development.

On a map of 3D CAD systems Brad depicted the main market segments in two axes (complexity of geometry and complexity of project): drawing, mechanical design focused on product, process-oriented design, architectural and structural design, industrial design, plant design, and shipbuilding. Current trends indicate that software, initially designed to solve the problems of a certain industry segments, becomes efficiently applicable in many adjacent domains. This resulted in a new problem for companies that use engineering software: now they should choose not only between competing solutions, but even between solutions of different price classes.

This year, Cyon Research conducted two worldwide surveys of engineering software users in order to get an idea of which CAD and how effectively they use it, as well as how are they going to invest in updating their work places and in new licenses. As a result of processing more than 1000 questionnaires, Brad Holtz presented a number of unique charts and graphs: demography and geography of the respondents, various sectors of industry they belong to, CAD/CAE software used by them, their role in the process of software licensing. Of the biggest interest are the charts of software updates frequency, its estimated costs, which clearly indicate that the CAD market is recovering after a recent crisis: the users are going to update their software more frequently than in the previous year, and invest more money. One of most interesting facts is that 71.1% of all Cyon Research respondents are quite satisfied with the software they used and are not going to change it.

In the final part of his report, Brad Holtz demonstrated some charts that reflect differentiation in the view of CAD usage among the rank-and-file employees and top managers, as well as criteria for selecting software, depending on the size of the enterprise and its geographical origin. These graphs went fairly sophisticated and worthy of vipers comments on Twitter from some bloggers, doing online broadcast of the meeting. However, a careful study of these graphs should certainly help the global vendors to make the right decisions on their products positioning.

See a full video of Brads talk with Russian translation (6 parts).

A 15-minute presentation Role of sustainable design in manufacturing. Autodesk Vision" from one of the two general partners of the Forum was made by Martin Steuer. The Autodesk strategy in sustainable design is based, inter alia, on the use of the building information modeling (BIM) approach, which allows architects, engineers and builders to explore a project in digital form before it is implemented, including simulation of its behavior in the real world. Martin presented the line of Autodesk products for analysis of architectural and building designs, emphasized connection between BIM and digital prototyping, and gave some examples of a rational design, with the help of industrial Autodesk products:


See a video of M.Steuer talk, two parts, in Russian translation .

A representative of another general partner - HP - Anna Sergunina demonstrated the first new generation wide format printer in the CIS , which, in particular, can be operated wirelessly:

See a brief video clip about Annas talk.

Before the first coffee break the first isicad-awards were announced in three nominations:
- For personal contribution to the development of CAD industry: Vyacheslav Klimov (PTC-PTS),
- For the foundation/development of successful business in the area of CAD: Alexander Golikov (ASCON, Chairman of the Board of Directors),
- For popularization of CAD (journalism, publishing): Alexander Sukhanov (CAD/CAM/CAE Observer).

See a video. The picture shows Vyacheslav Klimov with his award: a statuette in Oscar style made at 3D-printer and a hand-made memorable medal from a Siberian stone:


After the coffee break short plenary talks were presented. Mainly, they were structured into blocks: a 5-minute presentation of the agenda of a certain working group (WG) followed by 1-2 related talks.

Oleg Shilovitsky, Beyond PLM, presented WG-1 (PLM) by a statement entitled The Future of TLAs in Engineering Software? . See Oleg's slides published in his blog, a video of his talk and a photo:


A delegation of Dassault Systemes (DS) at the event was headed by Laurent Valroff - the director of the companys Russian office:

Representatives of DS decided not to touch classic PLM topics, instead they get the audience acquainted with the companys recent acquisition - EXALEAD, a somewhat French Google, and thus emphasized new directions of DS activity. A bright (in all respects) presentation on behalf of EXALEAD was done by Kristin Kirshner:

See a video of DS presentations.

In contrast to the DS style, Sergey Kuraksin, CEO of one of the leading Russian CAD/PLM companies Top Systems, concentrated exactly on the classic PLM package, in particular on Can a world-class CAD/PLM system come from Russia? :


If you take a look at the video of Sergeys talk , you will clearly see the speakers strong viewpoint: Such PLM does already exist!

WG-2 Intelligent Methods in 3D Modeling was presented by Deelip Menezes, a world famous CAD blogger and a provider of a large variety of translating plug-ins. From the text of Deelips Moscow talk (published in his blog) and from a video you can conclude that his standpoint is rather radical: yes, direct modeling (DM) is a hot topic, all CAD world leaders pay some practical attention to this type of technology, but today real market results are very far from an everyday practice:


SpaceClaim is positioned as a leader in marketable direct modeling. Thats why Bruno Chollat in his talk The Role of 3D Direct Modeling in the Product Development Cycle could hardly agree with Deelip: he had just told about concrete results of SpaceClaim and listed its customers including some rather sound brands:

Video of Brunos talk.

Dmitry Ushakov, one of the key LEDAS experts in technology, also did not agree with both previous speakers. Todays dissatisfaction and skepticism regarding fashionable DM Dmitry explained (and illustrated) by insufficient attention by implementers to the key point of technological progress in 3D-modeling: i.e., to automatic detection and support of the designers intent. LEDAS is focused on this direction. Dmitry has just published his slides and a short paper "Adding Intelligence to Direct Modeling" based on his Moscow presentation.


Video of Dmitry Ushakovs talk .

Talks of Maksim Egorov, Nanosoft CEO, and Oleg Zykov, head of the department of prospective ASCON projects, actually announced WG-5 (new business models).

Maksim promptly mentioned cloud computing and software renting as not so obviously promising. In contrast he was optimistic in his characteristic of a well-known emphasis of Nanosoft on free software platforms :


The emotional speech of M.Egorov can be seen and heard (in Russian) here.

With restrained triumph and commendable composure, Oleg Zykov presented the first ever industrial cloud access to CAD KOMPAS from ASCON :


Here is a video of Olegs talk .

Plenary session was concluded by a presentation New graphical capabilities to support next CAD generation of Anton Dzhoraev, an expert from NVIDIA ():


After the lunch, attendees went to round tables and the technical seminar that were organized in three parallel lines.

As organizers understood from preliminary applications, working groups (= round tables) related to new trends in PLM (1), new methods of marketing (3), and new business models (5) expected to be the most popular. Therefore these WGs were held in the biggest conference hall (where the panel session was held earlier) with participation of at least a half of all the event attendees. This practically excluded a round table topology of the hall.

Topics of WG-1 and WG-3 appeared to be close: should we and if yes then to what extent apply methods of social networking in everyday industrial practice and in marketing? As usually happens in similar Russian discussions, a lot of people were rather skeptical to the idea that big traditional Russian industries can accept such technologies. On the other hand, this skepticism seems not to be based on a serious understanding of techniques and advantages of prompt network publications and network communication as a whole.

Analysis of what has been said on the PT-1 remains to be done, but now we can get some impressions from an audio of the vivid discussion and some pictures below.

WG-1: moderator Oleg Shilovitsky and a lot of participants:


WG-1: Sergey Kuraksin was again pleasantly optimistic: PLM from Top Systems is always ready to be integrated with whatever facebooks and twitters as soon as they appear:) :


WG-1: Elena Krasnikova (marketing director, PTC Russia) combines competence, bright temperament, relaxedness, and pragmatic progressiveness:

WG-1: Seasoned specialists from Bentley Systems, Intermech, and Kriogenmash are ready to reasonably justified progress:

WG-1: Brad Holts is satisfied: synchronous translation is perfect; discussion is hot (as in Arizona?):

Similar to WG-1, detailed analysis of audio from WG-3 is to be done: the discussion was instructive and simply captivating . Here are several typical photos.

WG-3: its moderator Elena Konvisar (Neolant) keeps the audience in a useful tension:


WG-3: Anastasia Morozova, marketing leader of Autodesk CIS, cannot remain indifferent to the discussion on modern marketing techniques - the cornerstone element of business:


WG-3: Martyn Day from a very popular DEVELOP 3D can give very competent comments on up-to-day marketing:

WG-3: Super-blogger Deelip Menezes: Today nobody needs press-releases! Market needs good blogs, especially those actively cultivated by the customers themselves:

WG-3: Sergey Kuraksin: I do not trust almost none of the bloggers:

WG-3: Maksim Egorov: I am ready to pay bloggers for their good posts:

WG-3: Vladimir Shvartsburg (Intermech): Listen, Ill tell you how its done in the States:

WG-3: Oleg Shilovitsky: That's what magazines we need today:

Independently from discussion topics and corporate membership, opinions from such recognized aces as Vladimir Kovalevsky (PTC - Pro/Technologies) and Pavel Bruk (Bentley Systems) are always highly appreciated:


WG-2 dedicated to intelligent techniques of modeling (in fact - direct modeling), was suffering from presence of a lot of people who were not aware about the subject but were eager to understand what it is. So very experienced experts devoted a significant portion of time to educating the audience which of course had every right for their curiosity.

Says V. Malukh - one of the most active participants of WG-2: "The theme of the working group proved to be quite controversial - there were differing opinions about the concept of direct geometry editing, from its assessment as a marketing hype, covering the traditional technology solutions (the position of Top Systems) to the only possible further development (SpaceClaim position). It is also worth to note that for ordinary users direct editing remains "terra incognita", and further broad and detailed coverage of the approach is obviously necessary.


Audio of WG-2. Both Russian and English.

A very serious discussion was held in WG-4 (training of personnel capable to work with modern and developing CAD/PLM). This roundtable brought together the experts well versed in the problems of universities, the attendance quantity turned out to be optimal for the fruitful discussions firmly but sensitively moderated by Vladimir Talapov:


Says Vladimir Malukh: "Talking at WG-4 about the training can be divided into two main areas: training engineering staff of enterprises to use CAD effectively and training young professionals at universities and colleges. Retraining at enterprises considered to be successful and more or less debugged. Training at high schools and universities still leaves much to be desired, only a few universities have established thorough systematic trainings, often such trainings suffer from acute shortage of teachers holding CAD and capable to use them in the educational process. On the whole roundtable participants agreed that CAD training should be cross-cutting, with the junior rates of simple CAD system to perform practical tasks in each general engineering discipline (stress-analysis, machine parts, the theory of machines, etc.) and the transition to the target CAD system due student projects on the upper years, preferably with an eye on specific companies - potential employers of graduates." Audio of WG-4, in Russian.

In the common opinion, one of the most fruitful discussions took place in WG-5, (new business models). Yes, the theme itself is hot but I want to specifically mention a quiet, attentive and constructive moderation demonstrated by Dmitri Popov (Nanosoft):


Audio of WG-5.

A particular feature of WG-6 (new and promising means of hardware support for software engineering) as characterized by its moderator V.Malukh, was that it was attended by representatives of non-competing sub-sectors such as production of video and graphics processing, large-format printing devices, so the form of conversation was not so much discussing but rather mutually informative. There was a general understanding of the state of affairs in the first place, it was noted that proposals of new technologies from the hardware vendors do not always promptly find an application in software systems and, therefore, in the workplace of end-users:


Audio WG-6, in Russian.

According to the participants, the discussion in WG-7 (BIM and AEC) was lively and informative (BIM) largely thanks to its moderator Pavel Khanzhenkov. Perhaps debates were intensified by the confrontation between the two camps: those who believes in BIM today and everywhere and those who states Too early for BIM. The latter includes those who successfully distribute more traditional, before-BIM software. If you understand Russian, listen to this debate.


It is a pity that the audience of a two hour seminar organized by three Russian companies: APPIUS (PDM vendor), 1C (a giant vendor of small original ERP systems), and ITLand (optimization of business processes) was not too large: a combination of competencies, business models and distribution networks of these companies, aimed at PLM, can give a big effect on the domestic market.

Here is audio from this seminar , 1 ITLand.

At last there was a final panel discussion combined with a press-conference . In its first part, moderators of WGs briefly outlined the contents and results of their discussions. (see a video ).
After that there was several quite acute debates (see a video) : for example a dispute on whether Autodesk products are commodities:


Foreign participants were not bored or at least found what to twitter to mankind:


Managing Director of CAD/CAM/CAE Observer Aleksandra Sukhanova demands David Levin: "Are you satisfied with the Forum?":

While super-experienced columnist of PCWeek Russian Edition Elena Goretkina asks Brad Holtz to explain, what will happen to the world CAD market?

D.Levin responds that he is satisfied not more than at 40% (someday I will explain in detail why it is so), while Brad Holtz calms the audience: All will be fine! :

More serious impressions can perhaps be caught from video of the final part of the event .

An obvious shortcoming of the event was lack of time for informal meetings and discussions. Time was too short, even the presentations by distinguished speakers were controlled by different-sized hourglass:

And yet there were many informal contacts.

Elena Goretkina (PCWeek) and Aleksandra Sukhanova (CAD/CAM/CAE Observer):

Martin Steuer, Rudolf Danzer, and Nikolay Antonov (all - Autodesk) enjoy communication with Galina Chernyak (Consistent Software Development:

Brad Holtz (Cyon Research, COFES) and Anastasia Morozova (Autodesk):

Sergey Kozlov (Top Systems) and Elena Konvisar (Neolant):

Dmitry Ushakov (LEDAS) demonstrates to Philippe Laguna (SpaceClaim) how intelligent should direct modeling be:

Laurent Valroff (Dassault Systemes) and Oleg Shilovitsky (Beyond PLM):

Dmitry Movchan (DMK-Press) and David Levin (LEDAS):

Deelip Menezes (, SYCODE), Martyn Day (DEVELOP 3D) and Bruno Chollat (SpaceClaim):

Martin Steuer (Autodesk) and Pavel Bruk (Bentley Systems):


Not to mention informal contacts in the buffet:

Especially with the music:

See also:

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