SOLIDWORKS World 2016 is over. This year’s conference was much the same as the previous 11 I have attended. The keynotes, general sessions, overall schedule, events, software announcements, sneak peaks, etc, follow the same routine every year. That’s not a bad thing, engineers love consistency. It did have me pondering a question however, why have I attended 12 consecutive SOLIDWORKS World’s? After some careful though and reflection I know exactly why I attend every year, why I have a great time and why I’ll be attending in the future. The answer is as simple as one word, people.
What makes SOLIDWORKS World a great event for me is the people. Having been to as many World’s as I have I know a lot of people in the user community, reseller community, vendor community and SOLIDWORKS employees. They live all over the world and the only place I can see most of them is SOLIDWORKS World. Seeing old friends and making new ones is a tradition at World for many and I’m sure “the people” is a large part of SOLIDWORKS World’s success. To all my old friends and acquaintances I saw and all the new people I met this year at World, It was a pleasure spending time with you. 🙂
There were some things at this year’s conference that caught my interest. Some are people related and some are software related. I thought I’d share them here.
The Bacon Brotherhood is something dreamed up by Ed Gebo, leader of the Connecticut SOLIDWORKS User Group and John Matrishon, leader of the Western Massachusetts SOLIDWORKS User Group. In a nutshell the Bacon Brotherhood worships all things bacon and gives out ribbons at SOLIDWORKS World to others who show their allegiance to the “meat candy”. What started out as quirky fun a few years ago has grown into a legendary cult following. I dare say the Bacon Brotherhood ribbon is the most sought after one at World and the hashtag #baconbrotherhood dominates the SOLIDWORKS World tweets. This year Ed and John expanded to Bacon Brotherhood shirts and they even donate a portion of the purchase price to some very worthy causes. Earlier I said “the people” make SOLIDWORKS World the great event it is. Ed and John are perfect examples. Learn more about the Bacon Brotherhood here.
Dassault Systems announced SOLIDWORKS Xdesign. There wasn’t a lot of information released and they would not give product pricing information. They did show a demo video during the announcement and that’s what caught my interest. SOLIDWORKS Xdesign is browser only based CAD software that’s built on the 3D Experience platform. What does that mean? It means the product is built on the same modeling kernel as SOLIDWORKS Mechanical Conceptual, SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer and Catia. In the past this has meant its compatibility with SOLIDWORKS is limited but rumor has it Xdesign is supposed to have more robust compatibility with SOLIDWORKS. That remains to be seen but my fingers are crossed on this. Xdesign is more of a multipurpose modeler rather than a specifically targeted modeler like SOLIDWORKS Mechanical Conceptual or SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer. In my opinion its a product that would be more likely in the future to take the place of the SOLIDWORKS we all know and love than the others mentioned previously. That’s what interested me the most. It’s browser based which is fine in my mind except for the fact that finding a “good” internet connection in my area can be a challenge. I was disappointed they didn’t include pricing with the announcement and the pricing model will probably be the largest factor in the products success so I hope Dassault gets that part “right”. Sign up for the SOLIDWORKS Xdesign beta here.
SOLIDWORKS Apps For Kids was also announced. I have two boys aged 7 and 9 and I thought this would be a great product for them. SOLIDWORKS Apps For Kids is basically a suite of apps that allows kids to capture data (pictures, sketches, video, etc), use that data to design something in 3D, create a presentation to show their design to others and 3D print their design so they have a real life model. My kids (like most I’m sure) love video games, tablet apps and electronic devices. My thinking, this is a way for them to use their electronic devices to have fun while learning at the same time. Sign up for the SOLIDWORKS Apps For Kids beta here.
The last few years there has been a SOLIDWORKS User Group Leaders dinner held on Wednesday nights. The dinner is for, you guessed it, SOLIDWORKS User Group leaders. It’s a great event to talk with other user group leaders and unwind from the conference. What makes this event special is “the people”. The event wouldn’t happen without the hard work of two very great people. Nicole Walden is the leader of the Chattanooga SOLIDWORKS User Group and Casey Gorman leads the Central Florida SOLIDWORKS User Group. Putting on an event of this size is time consuming and requires planning. Finding a venue, transportation for the attendees, catering, music, and sponsors to fund it all is no easy task. Nicole and Casey do a great job. Again, another example of “the people” making SOLIDWORKS World a great event. Thanks guys.