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DIGITALISATION Giving access to resources and software

Oct 24, 2018

John Fox, Global Vice President, Mainstream Engineering, Siemens PLM Software, in this interaction with Suchi Adhikari, highlights the importance of the upcoming SME sector in India and the solutions being offered keeping their needs in mind. Excerpts from the interview…

You have recently launched the Siemens Solid Edge subscription for the Indian market. Can you brief us more on this development? How will this new launch benefit your customers?

Solid Edge offers the most flexible licensing in the industry. We are happy to launch it in India. We have been adding countries over the years. Customers can buy Solid Edge in the traditional way as well as subscription so we do offer that flexibility. We do not force customers to do subscriptions or stay with the old model. We offer everything in terms of subscription, which can be monthly or annual.

We also recently came up with a new product—Solid Edge 2019, which is available on the store. We have further launched the ‘Solid Edge for Startups’ programme in India recently. This is specifically for startups, who will qualify if they are less than three years old, make less than a million dollars in revenue and have less than a million dollars in outside investment. So, if they are accepted, they get access to resources and software from Siemens. It is also open to all types of companies. We issue licenses depending on how many engineers you have.

Manufacturers today are constantly looking to improve their product innovation, product development and enhance their engineering performance by offering quality solutions. What are the new features, enhancements, changes in the latest Solid Edge version, which will help them achieve the goals? How to optimise its use?

Siemens did a study of the Indian market recently. In India, for the category of companies with less than 100 employees, there are about 15.5 million companies, which is like 98 to 99%, thus forming the majority. Hence, it can be stated that 99% of companies in India are small or medium-sized. They contribute significantly and not proportionally because the bigger companies have more industrial output. In companies with less than a hundred employees, 80% are investing in digital transformation and 20% are hiring staff to support this transformation.

Though the strength of Solid Edge is in CAD mechanical design, what the market is responding to is digitising more than the mechanical design. So, we are expanding the portfolio and the breadth of this functionality. We have also added requirements management based on the Polarion technology.

Given the widespread SME segment present within the Indian manufacturing sector, how are you planning to cater to their needs? What has been the response from them so far?

We have announced a lot of new stuff recently. As we introduce new products and capabilities, it takes a year to gain traction. However, we are already gaining some very interesting responses for the startup programme, where there are hundreds of innovative, young companies. One of them is a Bangalore-based company called Mobile Glass Studio. They design and make furnaces for glass blowing, and it is founded by an artist whose idea was to bring glass to the people. Thus, one does not have to go to a place for glass blowing, rather the furnace comes to the customer. This is a revolutionary concept, which is disrupting this industry. Our study reveals that smaller the company, greater the emphasis on short-term returns. They need to be able to pick and choose to test the waters.

Regarding the start-up programme, SMEs have to be in three categories to apply for the start-up programme. Once they do apply and get selected and qualified, we are providing them licences. The other benefit they are entitled to is marketing. We would love to tell these stories to the world, which is an added benefit, especially for a startup, to get their story out there.

Can you differentiate between direct modeling and feature-based, parametric modeling? What would be your recommendations?

We have covered this aspect with synchronous technology. It underlines a lot of what we are able to do in the mechanical design of Solid Edge. Direct modelling is about pushing and pulling, and a very intuitive interface and parametric modelling is the industry standard.

So, what synchronous is, it's parametric modelling but includes the benefits of direct modelling. We can understand the design intent and make things easier. It also helps us do all sorts of things in importing third-party data. With synchronous technology, we can intelligently recognise faces and things.

If you have to make a design change to a feature in a product, a lot of attention has to be paid to the downstream ripple effects. Synchronous technology changes things and everything ripples through. Also, this technology is exponentially faster compared to the alternatives.

Our objective was to not only explain the technology behind it but also make it easy to understand. Hence, we call this the next-generation design. This whole bundle is a big differentiator for Siemens PLM and Solid Edge, in particular. Therefore, we have convergent modelling and synchronous technology added to the mix, which is a unique solution that is being offered by no one so far.

What is your outlook on the upcoming needs in the Indian manufacturing sector and how is your company catering to these needs?

We have a new cloud-based collaboration product called Solid Edge 4 Portal. Those who sign up to the cloud immediately get 5 gigabytes of storage, which is a massive amount. This is a significant part of what a country like India with many small companies of limited resources needs and this is how we are catering to this need.

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