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Last week I attended VPE/PLM Swiss Symposium. The conference was unfortunately postponed from last year and transformed into an online event. I look forward to seeing the event coming back to a live event next year. Unlike many big vendor events, this event gathers a diverse group of people from the industry and academia to discuss PLM topics and to do it in vendor-neutral form, talking about specific applications and focus on networking.

Check the event page with the agenda, topics, and how to register to follow up. The full agenda is here.

It was my honor to be invited to share my ideas and thoughts about future transitions of traditional PLM architectures to network-based platforms. The idea in a nutshell is about how to introduce a network layer in the PLM architecture, which is capable of connecting people and data belonging to multiple users, teams, and companies. By doing so, the system will be able to manage data from multiple companies and to bring a new level of instant communication and collaboration. Overall, it will substantially simplify connectivity and collaboration processes in and outside of the company.

Here is a quick summary of my presentation:

The previous generation of PLM systems was designed on top of relationships databases, installed by company IT, and was focusing on the control of data about products and management of processes, a single version of the truth, covering all phases of lifecycle – design, engineering, manufacturing, sales, and support. Manufacturing processes and technologies are changing and the truth is now distributed. It is not located in a single database in a single company. It lives in multiple places and is continuously updated.

To support such types of systems a new set of PLM technologies should be developed – globally, optimized to use information from multiple companies and interacting in real-time. The next decade will bring a new technological paradigm of “Network Platforms” leveraging modern data management technologies, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other related technological stacks.

And these are slides from my presentation.

What is my conclusion?

The PLM architecture as we know them now (coming from 4-5 mature major PLM vendors) was designed to become a hub for data inside of the company. The focus on data control and how to provide a single source of truth inside the company. While it is still an important goal, there is a growing demand for communication in the modern manufacturing world. There is a huge demand for a single source of truth, but the truth is transformed and distributed. The demand for communication is huge and manufacturing companies are looking for ways to optimize data management, communicate with contractors and suppliers, and more importantly to have systems that can help them to make meaningful decisions in real-time. That’s why a Network Layer is an essential part of new Network-Based Platforms. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital network-based platform that manages product data and connects manufacturers, construction companies, and their supply chain networksMy opinion can be unintentionally biased.

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