Tech Soft 3D Blog

Beyond 3D Podcast with AMC Bridge - Services and component technologies take the complexity out of dealing with today's tech trends

Posted by Tyler Barnes on Dec 16, 2016 4:14:59 PM

In this episode of Beyond 3D we talk about services for the first time.  And who better to talk about services for the engineering world other than AMC Bridge, one of the largest engineering service providers in the world.

As technology has changed so dramatically over the past 15 years, even just the past 5 years, even companies who have internal services departments are struggling to keep up with all the different tech developments – from mobile, cloud, AR, VR, the Internet of Things, etc.  Therefore, companies of all sizes are turning to service providers to help them stay current with their applications, and ultimately stay competitive. One great example is one of the fastest growing PLM companies, ARIS.  Their expertise is in PLM, but to help their customers address some of these other technological challenges takes time, discipline and requires modern cooperation tools and modern visualization tools, and they don't have any experience with this.

In addition, companies avoid adopting new technologies for one of three reasons:

1) they are afraid to try something new,

2) the misconception that new technology is difficult to use, and

3) that it takes too long to implement new technology. 

This may have been true in the past, but with component technologies and service providers like AMC Bridge, any company of any size can innovate and stay competitive.

Have a listen and let us know what you think. 

For more information on Tech Soft 3D, visit www.techsoft3d.com

For more information on AMC Bridge, visit www.amcbridge.com

 

To read the full podcast transcript, see below. 

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Angela Simoes:

Welcome everybody to another episode of the Beyond 3D podcast. We are here today with two very special guests. We have Igor Tsinman, President of AMC Bridge, and Boris Shoov who is Executive Vice President of AMC Bridge. Welcome Igor and Boris.

 

Igor Tsinman:

Thank you.

 

Boris Shoov:

Hello everyone.

 

Igor:

Hello.

 

Angela:

Thanks for joining us. We also have Dave Opsahl, Vice President of Corporate Development for Tech Soft 3D. Hey Dave.

 

Dave:

Hi.

 

Angela:

How's it going?

 

Dave:

Good.

 

Interviewer:

Good. Good. Igor and Boris, we're really excited to have you. You are our first guests to talk about services specifically. Just so that our readers ...or our listeners ...I always say readers ...our listeners know who AMC Bridge is, if they haven't heard of you already. Tell us a little bit about AMC Bridge and how you guys became really one of the largest service companies in the world?

 

Igor:

Well ...we are very, very flattered but we are definitely not the biggest service company, in general. In our specific niche, where we operate and we are servicing engineering software needs of our customers, we are definitely one of the key players. There's always big companies in India and around the world who are also doing engineering software development. Among the people who specialize in this area, we are probably the biggest, yes. It's true. This is by the way, Igor speaking. To tell the truth, it's happened a little bit by accident. Maybe because of Boris and my personal history. We started our career in the Unites States. We both coming from the former Soviet Union and early 90's started our career in United States working for Parametric Technology Corporation, one of the pioneers of the 3D solid modelling and parametric design. That in turn kind of defined our future path when we started this service company. Now connections and now previous experience, we concentrated on engineering software and that's how it kind of went for the last 15 years. We grew over organically and now running about 300+ development organization strictly specializing in engineering software.

 

 

Servicing engineering community, both ISVs and end user for their software development need.

 

Interviewer:

How has the need for services and technical development changed over the years? 15 years, it's a good run. It's not...

 

Igor:

Yes

 

Interviewer:

You know, a huge stretch of time but technology has advanced and the industry has advanced so rapidly, even in the last 5 years. How have things changed for you and your customers?

 

Igor:

Oh yeah, it has dramatically changed. I would say 15 years seems to be like a thousand years, in technology terms...

 

Interviewer:

Mm-hmm (affirmative) right. Right.

 

Igor:

When we started, the existing software was equals to CAD software and that in turn equals to individual work station not even connected to anything but a printer. Since then, technology stack expanded dramatically. The engineering software coverage so to speak, also expanded dramatically from traditional so to speak, 3D visualization or end design to data management to interpreter ability to basically embedded software in manufacturing to manufacturing driving ...manufacturing management software and so on and so forth. First and foremost, the technology stack is completely changed. As I mentioned, it used to be just a work station. Nowadays, it's every ...every possible technology from embedded to still work stations but mostly connected to cloud and web technology to mobile technology to

 

Interviewer:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

 

Igor:

...to facial intelligence. Pretty much any technology that you can find in a modern landscape you can find in engineering. Among other trends, I would say dramatic expansion of requirements for upper ability integration. Frankly, expanded application of engineering software. From original design to smart cars, smart thermostats and Internet of Things that basically everybody is talking about right now.

 

Interviewer:

Right. Right.

 

Boris:

There is also interesting thing that is sort of in the historical view. In early days, it appears that the industry was creeping by a large companies debt, tend to develop their own software for their needs. Almost every large manufacturing enterprise had their own CAD department that they developed their own CAD solution. Then ...the independent software vendors appeared who took over the development of specialized solutions. Now enterprises license or purchase the high end software applications. What seems to be happening now at least, my view is now the emergence of the component providers seems to be taking a spotlight. The companies who specialize in a particular technological expertise offer component technologists to build solution. Like from lego pieces ...it started in modelling and recently there is, we've heard, quite a big portion and a lot of conversations on simulation type of components. I guess that's another evolution of how software is developed ...is also take an impact on type of services that we can offer today.

 

Angela:

And Dave, sounds like this is where TechSoft comes in also, right, is to fill some of these gaps. I'm wondering also if, if ...how this is ...or if this is a result of ...because the technology is evolving so rapidly, the technical development skills of people and the need for those skills. Is there a gap there? That's why you now have these component technologies filling the gap or other things. Can you comment on that a little bit?

 

Dave:

Yeah. Sure. I mean, I think one of the changes that is affecting AMC Bridge or providing those opportunities are the same things we see within the ISV community. We've also seen in the end user community. That is that the ...just the baseline technology side. Igor was talking a little bit about functionally where some of those changes have occurred that, if you stop and think about just how much has changed in the last 15 years. If you were writing a graphics application, you used to have to know something about OpenGL and maybe a computing ...a language in a compiler. Today, you literally have dozens of technologies. Companies are finding it next to impossible to keep up with that kind of complexity.

 

 

There's an overhead cost in training, and keep skills development and in certain areas like web technology, it's difficult to hang on to people once you get them trained just because there's a demand out there for that.

 

 

For us, the components that we build take a lot of the difficult work in certain key areas, but there still needs to be someone familiar with those technologies that combine them together into a solution for the customer. That's where the relationship, like the one we share with AMC Bridge is extremely valuable for our partners who license those components.

 

Angela:

Do you have any examples of customers that are addressing these challenges in a successful way? Seeing the need that they have and that they either don't have the in house technical capability. They know that they need to work with AMC Bridge or Tech Soft or another ISV.

 

Dave:

MM

 

Interviewer:

But then, even managing all of that how ...do you have an example that you can site, that may be our listeners can follow?

 

Dave:

Sure. Yeah. There's one that I think Igor and Boris would agree with me is probably, a lighthouse example for us. That is probably the fastest growing product life cycle management software company in the world right now is a company called ARIS. They have a solution that is used by medium sized companies to the largest enterprises like AirBus. Most of their development, I believe is done by AMC Bridge for exactly the reasons we just talking about. It's definitely something we're seeing more of. That's probably, I mean ...Igor would you agree.

 

Igor:

Yeah

 

Dave:

That's probably a good example.

 

Igor:

Yes, it is a good example exactly by the reasons we talked about because ARIS is the core expertise in project life cycle management software as a ...but at the same time, discipline requires modern cooperation tool and modern visualization tool because they don't have any experience with this.

 

Dave:

Yes.

 

Igor:

And that way they used Tech Soft components for the basic visualization and AMC Bridge as a competent partner to build it all together. That's the perfect example. Where the company concentrate on the core business while involving experts in the field when they need to branch into the areas where they don't have expertise.

 

Angela:

Right.

 

Igor:

And they save time and money. The times is probably the most important think

 

Dave:

Yes.

 

Angela:

ARIS is a pretty large company, right?

 

Dave:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

 

Interviewer:

I'm sure there are going to be some listeners on here that will say, "That's great for a company like ARIS, but I'm a small guy. How do I tackle the same problem, if I don't have the same budget?" Right? What would you be ...what would be your advice for some of the smaller guys?

 

Dave:

Are you directing that to me?

 

Angela:

Or Igor or Boris? Yes. Whoever, would like to take a stab at that?

 

Igor:

The size of the budget ...the size of the budget is definitely important but to a degree. If somebody is trying to do it on five hundred bucks, it's probably impossible. Different size of the project requires different level of efforts. At the same time, we have example of manufacturers who are building their online ordering systems where uploading files ...uploading CAD files could be evaluated automatically, code produced manufacturing ordering could be simplified and expanded dramatically. Manufacturing companies, they don't have expertise in building such systems.

 

Igor:

You could draw ROI on speeding up the ordering process and increasing the volume through this system and justify the expense you need to hard qualify your sources to build you such a system. You're not necessarily have to be an ISV itself.

 

Dave:

Oh no. I was just going to agree emphatically. I think that's a big part of the value that we provide is helping people understand how ...what they might think is unaffordable is actually something they can easily afford to do. Overall, you also don't have to be a large company. We have between us examples of a couple of companies. I'm thinking of one down in the Bay Area right now, there's actually just a relatively small start-up and in some cases it's even more of a dramatic return for them because there would be almost no way for them to build a solution without our help. It's a question of not is it cheaper, is can you even do it?

 

Dave:

I think there's merit in both.

 

Boris:

One think I was going to add was that one thing this component allows to some extent for its use, the start up cost. You're using ready to use technology. Also, the planning of the solution and the implementation should probably be taken in stages anyways. Defining the minimal viable product that meet the initial budget constraints will also the possibility for the company.

 

Dave:

Yes. That's true.

 

Interviewer:

I have a question and it's kind of 2 ways of maybe asking the same type of question. On one hand, I was going to ask Igor and Boris, what kind of request are you getting from your customers specifically in terms of making software more customized. We can get into some automotive examples. What kind of requests are you getting from customers? The other question that sort of relates to that is, customers are saying, "listen, I want to start addressing some of these technology trends, help me figure out where to start. Do I start with this process, do I start with one thing at a time?". I don't know if those questions are one in the same or just related.

 

Boris:

I think they are very much related. Yes. Yes.

 

Igor:

Boris, let me start and you may join in anytime.

 

Boris:

Sure.

 

Igor:

I think requests from the customers are pretty diverse. I would summarize it to big groups. One important group is everyone is "afraid" of new technologies and don't want to be left in the dark. And so...

 

Interviewer:

Right.

 

Igor:

...they're, as you suggest, asking us, how do we take advantage of new technologies? Where can use them? Here's what we have a problem in. What technology would you recommend to solve it? Either we tried to solve it 10 years ago, it was too expensive. It is better now, do we have better chances of resolving these issues?

 

 

From another hand, a lot of customers are complaining about "difficult to use" of modern industrial applications. It's a pretty common cry to make industrial software more user friendly, more interoperable, more easily connected to other things. In a modern enterprise, especially with mergers and acquisitions and realizations that not any software fits all the needs. The diversity of software products, so to speak, shopping for, on the manufacturing floor is enormous. People want all the pieces to talk with each other and date flowing freely.

 

 

Another kind of dimension is people want software to be delivered fast. The world is changing fast. A project that takes 3 years to implement and to develop and then implement may miss the market on the first year, so to speak because everything is changing. That's my take on the major driver forces and requirements from the customers. Boris, you may jump in and ...

 

Boris:

I don't have much to add other than to say that all those items that you mentioned, they are all in the realm of things the customer asks. Basically, all of the above as they say.

 

Interviewer:

Dave, what about you? On your end. What kinds of things are you hearing?

 

Dave:

Well, we're hearing the same things. One of the ...I guess it's an advantage but, for the 3 of us that are on the call today, the time that we have been able to watch some of these things unfold has been pretty interesting. An effect you see a lot of now is the younger people that are coming in to the industry have different expectations about what a good experience is, with software which is exactly...

 

Dave:

...Igor was talking about. That is a dynamic that manufacturing is not accustomed to. Changes. That experience has to be a richer experience. For us, it opens the door for more use of the components. If you could take an application that has a really poor experience and improve it substantially by ...for instance, making it possible to navigate complex date by just looking at an object and manipulating that object on a screen, you've done quite a bit to provide that better experience. For us, it's a good development. It's just manufacturing is now being driven by, oh gosh, the Facebook generation, I guess, if you want to call it that?

 

Boris:

I would just add that the component technology actually plays a big role in moving in the right direction because it saves time on the complex issues that already taken care of and provides more opportunity to put in a nice interface...

 

Dave:

Yes.

 

Boris:

...in response of an agile interface in front of it. People have a better experience with technol ...the complex technology. Because...

 

Dave:

Yes.

 

Boris:

..in the past, a lot of efforts were devoted to solving complex geometric problems and user interface became an afterthought. It's no longer the case. People demand the "good" interface.

 

Interviewer:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

 

Boris:

Facebook, like, Apple like interface and that still helps them accomplish as complex issues ...tasks that ...as people before them would like to accomplish.

 

Igor:

Just wanted to say, we're not sponsored by Apple.

 

Angela:

That's good disclaimer.

 

Igor:

Igor mentioned too about people expecting data to flow freely. That's another place where the modern use of technology, mobile devices, different web services. There's relatively little appreciation for the fact that date should flow that freely in manufacturing too. That's a big challenge. If we can use the component technology to facilitate that interoperability that he was referring to. That's another place where we can impact what that experience is. The data can just move between applications freely without any concern over it's integrity. That's a big deal as well. So..

 

Interviewer:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). The better experience has a trickle-down effect into communication throughout a larger team. Right. Where somebody who is not technical but is still on the development team, now can better understand whether it's the design intent or the part you are talking about or something like that, right. So..

 

Dave:

Yes.

 

Igor:

That's a very good point. I actually missed it but you are right on track here. A lot of traditional engineering applications are migrating to sales and marketing to presentation and so on and so forth. The huge demand for example, online configurators, where people should be able to pre-select and configure what they are buying for example. Lighting fixture and see exactly in 3D how it would look like.

 

Igor:

And see almost a futuristic view of what they are buying. Again, it's been drive by Amazon and what you can do on mass ...massively available resources like Amazon and stuff like that.

 

Igor:

3D, proliferating into the fashion design and so on and so forth.

 

Interviewer:

Yes, with massive resources anything is possible. I think, as Dave mentioned earlier. There's so many technologies out there now that are making ...whether it's turning something 3D or putting something on the web. All of this is becoming so much more accessible. Right. Even the small guys or start-ups can do this.

 

Interviewer:

Well, we are coming up on our time and so I will just ask you one final thought, Igor and Boris. If you had one piece of advice you'd offer to our listeners or call to action, what would that be?

 

Igor:

I think in our time with availability of technologies and availability of software, I think everybody should be open to innovate. Even if you didn't do it before, you never have experience with, it should not be a show stopper. With self-serving people like us or Tech Soft or anybody else with a good component and good skills can help you out. You should concentrate on your core technology and be open to innovation and new technologies.

 

Boris:

I guess Igor was saying that if company doesn't have required resources in house, it's not a reason not to innovate because there are technologies ...component technologies and consulting companies with the required expertise that could help. Of course there is traditional route to build technologies in house but with the modern time and age when speed of technology as we spoke earlier, is so fast, time to market is essential. That's where components with expert implementation resource, I think is the solution.

 

Interviewer:

No, I think that is excellent advise. In fact the saying ...I hope it's not too harsh but the saying, "innovate or die", comes to mind when you were talking about that. It does make me think of one more question that it's kind of a surprise question. It wasn't one that I had posed to you folks before the call but it hopefully won't be too difficult. With ...so let's say a company is just saying, "okay fine. I understand I have to start looking at these tech trends and figure out what I have to do." If, out of all the things, cloud, mobile, IOT, 3D printing, AR VR, all of these tech trends that are swimming around, what would be your advice on, "start here". If you had to pick one, "start here" and then that can, you know help you test the waters and start to innovate and develop things. So, I'll ask all 3 of you. Igor, you go first.

 

Igor:

Well my take would be, start with your business problem, what you try to achieve and then ask the experts to help with the selection of technology. Don't start with the technology. I don't think it's the right approach. That but it's fine.

 

Interviewer:

Okay. It's fair.

 

Boris:

I had a similar answer but may be it will be different. Talk to your users or talk to your prospective users. You need to solve their problem with your solution, understand what they need. I guess that's what Igor meant, "understand your business problem".

 

Interviewer:

Right.

 

Igor:

The beauty of our time is with your technologies will definitely help you in solving the problem, but don't start with the technology.

 

Boris:

But then come to us and we will help you figure out.

 

Interviewer:

Right. Well we will be including your website in our show notes. If anyone wants to reach out to you...

 

Boris:

Yes please.

 

Interviewer:

...they will know exactly where to find you. Dave, what about you?

 

Dave:

Well I think that's extremely sage advice. People too often do start with the technology and I think that what can be an important part of that conversation is ...I mean one of the things that we have at Tech Soft that AMC Bridge has ... with the services they provide is you have this breadth of experience of seeing other people trying to accomplish something probably similar. There's a wealth of experience that can be brought to bear on helping understand what that business problem really is. We shouldn't be just thought of as people that are wise about technology. We've also seen a lot of business problems and some more successful that others when they're being tackled. Being open to that conversation with companies like both of ours, I think can help make that a much better outcome. When you do start to identify what problem it us you are trying to solve and for who you are trying to solve it.

 

Interviewer:

I would have to agree. Very sage advice. So hopefully out listeners will take that to heart and that wraps up our show for today. Again, Igor and Boris, thank you so much for joining us today.

 

Boris:

Thank you for having us.

 

Igor:

Thank you for having us.

 

Interviewer:

No, it was great and Dave, thanks as always.

 

Dave:

It's a pleasure. Always.

 

Interviewer:

Thanks everybody out there who was listening today to another episode. If this was your first or second episode and you are still debating whether or not to subscribe, hit that subscribe button, tell your friends, family and colleagues about us. You can subscribe on sound cloud. You can also subscribe on iTunes. Please leave us a review on iTunes. We would greatly appreciate that as well. If you have some questions for us or suggestions for topics or guests, you can reach us though our website at techsoft3d.com. And with that, until next time, thanks everybody. Have a great day.

 

Topics: Cloud, mobile, CAD, ISV, Manufacturing, IoT, Engineering Services, PLM, Product Lifecycle Management, Component Technologies, Services, Service Providers, Software Development