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DIGITALISATION Anywhere, anytime, together: The race to virtual future

Mar 24, 2021

Dassault Systèmes was back this year with its 3DEXPERIENCE World 2021 virtually on 9-12 February 2021. Not quite different from its on-ground events, Dassault put its best foot forward in replicating this year’s 3DEXPERIENCE World. The report elaborates on the virtual experience of 2021 and what was new this year at the forum.

Like the name suggests, for Dassault Systèmes, 3DEXPERIENCE World has always been about creating real-life experience for its users, and this year was no different. Under the theme ‘Freedom to Create’, the event entertained close to 38,000 registrants from 158 countries. Quite alike to last year, this year, too, was all about innovation – sustainable innovation. The event set-off with a free Certification Day, which comprised 17 different certifications for SolidWorks and five for the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Out of the 554 attendees who took part in the exam, 314 earned a new certification, creating a milestone, considering this year Dassault completed certifying over half a million people under its programme.

The modern-day digital breakthrough

The General Session on day one began with Bernard Charlès, Vice Chairman and CEO, Dassault Systèmes, providing examples of real-world customers who are creating sustainable innovations and helping solve today's problems. He averred, “We are committed to preserving the harmony between product, nature and life. And that is what we call the industry renaissance of the 21st century – adopting and muddling simulation, Big Data and AI to invent a new sustainable solution.” Next, the audience heard from Gian Paolo Bassi, CEO, SolidWorks, who shared stories of four different customers who are using the 3DEXPERIENCE Works. He mentioned, “Adopting 3DEXPERIENCE Works is a transformation, from products to platform, which actually goes beyond mere digitalisation. It transforms connections into relationships, data into business intelligence, silo departments and suppliers into a value network of innovators.” Following him, Jim Keravala, CEO, Offworld, detailed on Offworld’s machine intelligence and industrial robotic workforce. “We have to reinvent how we think about the challenges in front of us and create new solutions that are genuinely robust, usefully autonomous and viably economical going forward,” he stated. The general session wrapped up with Duncan Wardle, Former Head of Innovation & Creativity, Disney, who cited, “Swim out of your river of thinking to develop your best ideas.” The day ended with the ‘What's New’ demo skit, which revealed new functionalities of the 3DEXPERIENCE Works portfolio, both on the desktop and cloud.

Transforming from product to experience

Day two was all about giving a virtual experience of how the 3DEXPERIENCE Works portfolio allows the users to connect people, apps and real-time data from every aspect of a business to increase productivity, facilitate collaboration and accelerate innovation. The day began with Florence Hu, Executive Vice President, Dassault Systèmes, who elaborated on how a product can be brought into the age of experience. “To bring life to products in the virtual world, that mimics the real-world, one needs theoretical, mathematical and physical models. The virtual twin experiences, which combine virtual 3D modelling and simulation with real-world evidence, enable individuals to imagine, model, simulate and optimise with a multi-disciplinary and multi-scale approach,” she explained. Following this, Manish Kumar, Vice President - SolidWorks Research & Development, Dassault Systèmes, presented some examples and compelling testimonials from three companies harnessing 3DEXPERIENCE Works to innovate at the speed of light. One of their customers, Charles O’Connell, Sr Mechanical Engineer, SquareRobot, explained their need for connectivity for their entire team to collaborate effectively, especially due to the pandemic. They used the Dassault platform. He explained, “With the platform, we can have multiple users easily exchange top-level ownership of our high-level vehicle models with the confidence that we are not going to make duplicate or contradictory changes.” Following this was a session by keynote speaker Frank Stephenson, an acclaimed lead designer and design director at major carmakers, such as McLaren, Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat and MINI. He discussed speed, how to reduce development cycles, how he uses new and evolving design tools and the need to maintain the ‘human link’ when designing products.

Deep diving into simulation for excellence

In extension to day two was an opportunity for the audience to plunge into specific product areas divided into three-part sessions.

  1. Product excellence through simulation: The session explored why it's important to assess a product's performance earlier and better using a simulation-driven design process. The demos revealed scalable, connected SIMULIA solutions that can amplify one’s SolidWorks performance.

  2. Hassle-free data management: The session featured interviews with three customers who explained why effective data management is critical to product development success.

  3. Future of design and manufacturing: A case study session by the Titans of CNC, who shared a story about a company that could complete a project under an extremely demanding deadline with a safe and secure collaboration using SolidWorks and 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Day two also involved a creative demonstration and a peek into SolidWorks 2022.

Converging faster than ever before

The event’s final day was all about bringing together the audience and the world’s innovation enabled by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The session was kicked-off by Suchit Jain, Vice President – Strategy & Business Development, Dassault Systèmes, delving on ‘Connections to relationships’. He mentioned, “As we look into the future, we take clues from what is happening around us to see how we can incorporate new technologies and new trends to empower our customers.” He further expounded on how engineering stood the test of time during COVID-19 and adapted with innovation.

One such story of engineering standing tall during the pandemic was shared by Matt Carney, Co-founder, Open Standard Respirator. He mentioned, “During the pandemic, I cannonballed into co-leading a team of strangers who were hell-bent on fixing masks. We set out to build a new type of elastomeric, half-face respirators designed specifically to address the pandemic issues. High quality, scalable manufacturing, safer healthcare workers, filter-media agnostic and supply chain resilient – those were the goals we set out to achieve.” Joining his talk was Tej Patel, President, Fluxergy, who is developing diagnostic equipment for testing. He elaborated on the challenges of taking their manufacturing capacity, which was around 10,000 kits a month, and scale it to 100,000 kits to go to a million test kits per month. He revealed, “We went ahead and made a mass investment in automation equipment focusing on designing in-house or own automation equipment that was capable of producing our test kits from raw materials to all the way to final packaging.”

Share, collaborate and exchange

To elaborate on Dassault consumers’ on-going journey of sharing, collaboration and exchange made possible, Jain invited Shawn O’Neil, SolidWorks Community Manager and Dan Wagner, SolidWorks User Group Network Manager, Dassault Systèmes. O’Neil mentioned, “Our community is proof that even if we can’t be in the same room as the other, it’s no time to stop connecting. In fact, it is time to start.” Following this, Marie Planchard, Director — Education and Early Engagement, Dassault Systèmes, engaged in a tête-à-tête with Paul Ventimiglia, Owner & Lead Mechatronics Engineer, APTYX Design and Eric Beatty, Senior Mechanical Designer, Omax Corporation – two gentlemen who took very different paths on their engineering journeys and who are both paying it forward to the workforce of the future.

Following this was a keynote panel discussion comprising Brent Bushnell, Co-founder and Chairman, Two Bit Circus, Nolan Bushnell, Founder and CEO, Atari, Inc & Chuck E. Cheese and Grant Delgatty, Chair of Innovation, USC Irvine and Young Academy. The trio discussed the creation of their respective organisations and the lessons learnt on the way and agreed that failure is an essential part of the innovation process.

Stars aside, now showstoppers

One of the biggest challenges of going virtual is maintaining interaction and networking opportunities, something Dassault has been proud of forever. This year, too, they enabled it with 40 meet up sessions. The event would, of course, not be complete without its ‘3DEXPERIENCE Playground’. This year’s virtual playground featured various zones, like the EDU Zone showcasing how students are using Solidworks, the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab showcasing their open innovation lab nurturing disruptive products for a sustainable world, the Sponsor Hub for attendees to learn about the company’s innovative partners, the Model Mania, which included the 3DEXPERIENCE challenge, SolidWorks challenge and Student 3DEXPERIENCE challenge and the Shop Floor, which had stories from various companies that are keeping manufacturing alive and teaching those skills to new users.

Invigorating the freedom to create

While the world stood the test of time, Dassault Systèmes, through its technologies and solution, contributed to easing the moment's challenges. Unlike most virtual conferences, the 3DEXPERIENCE World 2021 inspired, entertained and reestablished their priority of sustainable creations. Their addiction to human creativity certainly enabled them to give their users the freedom to create and educate.

Image Gallery

  • Gian Paolo Bassi, CEO — SOLIDWORKS, Dassault Systèmes

  • Manish Kumar, Vice President — SOLIDWORKS, Research & Development, Dassault Systèmes

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