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14 Jun 2013

COFES Russia 2013: Got What Was this Stuff?

David Levin

I already talked about a half-hour dispute with Brad Holtz, when we failed to find a Russian name for the COFES genre: it turned out that COFES is not a conference, workshop, forum, etc It is an event (all Russian translations sound either very bureaucratic or too close to "incident" ) of an original genre invented by Brad and his colleagues in 1999. In a nutshell, this event has absolutely no relation to a particular vendor and is organized to stimulate professional discussions about the future of engineering software as well as to form the optimal conditions for establishing and strengthening business contracts between market participants with mutual interest in each other.

This is what Brad Holtz emphasized in his introductory speech in Peterhof. Reminding about the major COFES events in Arizona and one-day COFES-experiments in Tel Aviv and Moscow, the key words Brad used to describe COFES were conversation and interaction. He also pointed out an important role of interpreting virtuosos (my apologies for the poor quality, 3-minute video):

In accordance with the conversation-style, there are no traditional reports at COFES for instance, about achievements of a particular vendor. At the same time, the framework of the event provides for two plenary reports that describe the general trends and problems of the market and are of common cultural significance for the audience.

The first keynote report was presented right after the opening address by Brad Holtz:
May 31, Friday, 9:00
Jack Byers - Past, Present, and Future of Engineering Software already introduced Jacks eventful biography as well as the abstract of his report. On the introductory slide we saw an alternative title of the report on global trends and their impact on the business of engineering software:


Jack characterized several trends

As a happy chine, recently published a paper mentioning these and some other trends. Id like to point out an authoritative forecast, to which Jack referred to: by 2015 the amount of cloud data will increase six-fold.

The next item on the agenda after the plenary report was the so-called Technology Suite Briefings talks about ones results or plans with those who wish to hear it. To organize such briefing it was necessary to somehow become an event sponsor; Brad Holtzs explanations on this genre can be found in the interview with him. On the picture Brad Holtz presents the briefing moderators (from left to right: Dmitry Kondakov, Nikolay Nyrkov, and Sergey Kuraksin), who were given an opportunity to announce the subjects of their briefings for 2-3 minutes and invite those who wanted to attend them:


This is how the briefing-talks took place (to be more precise, the first round, 10:15 - 10:55).

ASCON, Nikolai Nyrkov, CEO, DEXMA
The Role of PLM for Small Firms.
What is the role of PLM for small engineering firms? Dexma will discuss their vision of PLM and explore the real needs of small firms for tools that go beyond PDM.


Irisoft, Dmitri Kondakov, Owner & CTO.
Managing a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for Complex Engineering Objects
Well discuss methods and tools for defining the TCO of complex object with long lifecycles, such as ships, equipment for nuclear power, and civil engineering projects. Additionally, the transfer of information from design for use during the operation/maintenance phases. The discussion will revolve around current trends, available software tools, and organizational models.


Top Systems, Sergey Kuraksin, CEO
PLM+: Evolving the Concept of PLM
PLM has evolved through several stages of evolution over the past 30 years. At its inception, it represented "product lifecycle management," but has since evolved to represent a broad concept key to long-term corporate strategy. Top Systems will discuss their vision for a PLM that evolves beyond this, pushing the boarders between PLM and ERP, to encompass the intersection of PLM components and related methodologies, particularly for developers of IP and enterprise. This new vision encompasses project management principles, parametric design of manufacturing production, a heterogeneous development environment, integrated sustainability full integration of environmental support, CRM, and office workflow.


Once again, let me reiterate that COFES means discussions and business negotiations. For instance, LEDAS representatives had at least a dozen of useful meetings, three of which produced the maximum possible business results already in Peterhof, and several more laid a constructive foundation for continuing negotiations, while others, at the very least, gave food to continue contacts. I cannot disclose information or even illustrate with photographs LEDAS negotiations and especially the highly successful meetings held by some other companies, of which I am well aware. However, I take leave to estimate the overall number of business negotiations at COFES as no less than a hundred, and I feel even more emboldened to suggest that a significant part of them has already generated, or is highly likely to generate mutual business-benefits.

Certainly, if strongly desired, nowadays it is possible to hold bilateral negotiations remotely or by organizing face-to-face meetings. However, one can hardly overestimate contact opportunities when spending two or three days in a pointedly informal environment at the same small hotel with a hundred of interesting persons-in-charge at once.

Numerous meetings on behalf of both LEDAS and isicad did not allow me to attend many discussions. However, special attention of the portal to BIM forced me to pry myself away from business negotiations and devote no less than ten minutes as a journalist at the Round Table What Mandated BIM Might Mean for Russia. The Round Table was moderated by Marina Korol (former top manager of Autodesk CIS, now - independent and bright actor of the Russian AEC/BIM market), who supplied the following summary to the organizers:
US government mandates for BIM played a significant role in jumpstarting BIM adoption in the US. The new BIM mandates for the UK may take that a step further. What does this mean for Russia-based design and construction firms? Should Russia adopt similar mandates? How should they differ from the US and UK? Might this be enough to drive the localization we've been asking for to support Russian-style BIM?


Within minutes of being present at the briefing (attended by representatives of Autodesk, Siemens PLM, , AVEVA, Bricsys...., as well as personally well-known Russian BIM-activists and promoters .Bausk, V.Talapov .Shirinyan), I heard so many interesting and promising things, that I asked Marina Korol to write a report for our portal. I suppose I should describe one episode. As you see, the briefing subject is related to the role of the state, which expectedly generates opposite opinions and critical statements: from only the state can put things right and introduce BIM to the state is only able to issue blunt authoritarian directives, down to petty lectures. Thus, a clear and pragmatic statement made by Anastasia Morozova, who (after her six very effective years of directing marketing in Autodesk CIS) since recently has attacked BIM in Autodesk CIS, was undoubtedly in a league of its own: I agree that it will be wrong if the state attempts to teach everybody how to design. However, if ordering an object as a customer, the state will require maximum efficiency of this particular object, thereby it the state sets an example of a conduct of an educated customer, an example of an intelligent order. In other words, the state must not dictate lets all, in a horde, move to BIM tomorrow, but it should give an example of a civilized market conduct.

Id like to remind the titles of other briefings and ask the attendees or moderators to share their impressions if only as comments to this article.

Jack Byers.VMI. Future Invisible: Be Resilient or Go Extinct.

Allan Behrens. TAXAL Limited. Model-Based Engineering.

Peter Bilello. CIMdata. Software Delivery: Moving to the Cloud and Changing Business Models

Nick Nisbet. AEC3. Learning from the BIM Revolution in the UK.

Jon Peddie. Jon Peddie Research. The Pending Hardware Revolution and Its Impact on Our Profession.

Evan Yares. The Yares Organization. The Future of Data Management and Search.

Chris De Neef. Fast Track Consulting. Driving Technology Adoption.

Alex Bausk. PSACEA. Model-Based Engineering in the Context of AEC and BIM.

Peter Thorne. Cambashi. ALM and PLM Grow Closer.

Joel Orr. Cyon Research. Augmented Reality: Through The Looking Glass.

Karl Schulmeisters. High Mountain Consulting. Cloud Transformation.

A prominent item of the program was "First Congress: Perspectives on PLM. A panel discussion on specific topics in PLM and BIM, with participation of significant industry leaders:"
On the picture below from left to right:
Brad Holtz, Cyon Research, Moderator
Nikoly Nyrkov, DEXMA - ASCON, With a view of PLM for small engineering firms
Oleg Shilovitsky, Autodesk, With a cloud-centric, bite-sized view of PLM
David Mitchell, Siemens PLM, With a vision of how traditional PLM is evolving
Sergey Kuraksin, Top Systems, With a view on moving the line between PLM and ERP


The morning of June 1 started with the second plenary report "Yuri Udaltsov. Rusnano. Investing in Technologies for Innovation". I already talked about this report (the most interesting in the opinion of many participants) in an article Today COFES 2013 (in Peterhof) learned about real miracles as the results of innovative projects. Let me quote one slide from the keynote report:


three 1.5hour parallel discussions of the following subjects:
- The Russian Geometric Kernel (RGK)
- Where is Collaborative Engineering Headed and What Does it Mean for Russia?
- Jumping the Gap.

Do not be surprised but of all three sessions I was only able to attend a part of the RGK discussion.

On this subject you can already read an article Russian 3D RGK Kernel is Presented to the International CAD-Community.

Second Congress: Plenary Discussion started at 12:00, and, according to the program, has two parts. The first is the a discussion of the issues and futures facing design and engineering in the world at large. The second will be an exploration of the validity and potential impact of the broader, global trends, on the users and markets within Russia and CIS.

Finally, Id like to remind that COFES-communication commenced before the official opening ceremony, on the COFES eve - May 30th. It consumed the entire day, including numerous talks in the lobbies and coffee-rooms, a workshop on C3D ASCON kernel and the evening reception: see my story Day 0. Someone may think that it was all about social life, even glitz , but it is not true: experienced people know that pretty serious business relations and deals are often tied, consolidated and expanded through such contacts. Or, at the very minimum, such pastime trains and develops ones intellect, and sometimes even boosts English language skills.

According to certain very competent people, hardly anybody can sustain longer than an hour of always smart talking with Dick Morley; however, right in front of the eyes of reliable witnesses Nikolay Nyrkov exceeds the standard nearly twofold, which is bound to positively affect development of Nikolay's PLM DEXMA:


Upon a request from Yuri Udaltsov, LEDAS executives are showing him something of much applied meaning (take my word it was not RGK!):

Another example: Everyone understands that NURBS inventor is a very smart person: and I certainly was aware of this especially after our interview Ken Versprille, the Inventor of NURBS, Tells about Past, Present, and Future of CAD. However, it was not only pleasant but also very useful for me to find out that Ken is a jovial and very sociable person, the work in the same team with whom can be very efficient and enjoyable.

I invite participants of COFES Russia 2013 to add to our far-from-complete reports and generally share their impressions with in the form of notes, comments and links to ones publications. We promise to take a good look at sincere and well-intentioned questions and remarks from all other readers.

As for the related publications in English, by now I am aware of these two:
- Kathleen Maher. New geometry kernels come from Russia to challenge traditional modelers and enable upstarts
- Ron Fritz. 7 Reasons Russian Engineering Software is on the Rise.

See also:

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