DSCC09 – Day 2: The Future is 3D and Lifelike, but for now I’m Okay with “Semi” Cool

I work for a company that does some pretty neat stuff. Here at the Dassault Systèmes Customer Conference we’ve been able to see into the future of how products will be designed and brought to market. But, even though I work for DS, I have to admit that I’m jealous. Yup, jealous. Does that sound strange?

After all, we have some pretty cool technologies out there. It’s clear that the vision of the company in how to use 3D to create lifelike experiences and online collaboration is different than most other PLM vendors. We’ve shown some really neat things, from iPhone applications that allow you to mix 3D models into true-life images, to virtually designing and manufacturing complete products before ever applying any physical resources and how to bring PLM to consumers with experience modeling and behavioral planning. So, why am I so jealous? Because I’m primarily focused on an industry that, at the moment, doesn’t get to interact directly with the consumer to offer a lifelike experience.

Don’t get me wrong, the semiconductor market has its share of cool technologies. We’re constantly on the leading edge of technology and functionality; most of the cool electronic products that you see including the 3DVIA Mobile application on the iPhone (http://www.3dvia.com/mobile) are enabled by the computer chips living inside of them. If you think about transistors as “parts”, we have products that have exceeded 2 billion parts and are approaching 3 billion. But in our products, those parts are so incredibly small that it’s measured at an atomic scale.

Bernard Charles demoing the 3DVIA Mobile app at DSCC 2009
Bernard Charles demoing the 3DVIA Mobile app at DSCC 2009

But Semiconductor doesn’t have the same type of awareness in the consumer market as other industries. After all, you don’t go to your local department store and shop for IC’s by walking up and down the aisle. You typically don’t look at the chip and envision how it impacts your life. You typically don’t build the chip by looking at cool 3D models of the intellectual property (IP) and pulling them over a palette the way that you would graphically design the interior and features of a luxury jet. I just can’t play with the fine Corinthian leather!!!!

At least…”not yet”. Bernard Charlès, CEO of Dassault Systèmes said something that has been echoing in my head for the last couple of days. In his typically energizing style, Bernard said that he wakes up every day with the approach of being the CEO of a $2B startup company. How great is that?!?! With that clear vision, level of energy and obvious commitment, you have to be excited about the promises that tomorrow brings and how you can change the world. I’ve worked for a startup and completely understand that approach.

OK…so maybe the shopping experience may not be a focus for semiconductor for a while. But the marriage of semiconductor design with virtual design, simulation, digital manufacturing and 3D experience technologies from DS will come. And that’s exciting.