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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New CIMdata study on “Virtual Workstation” solutions

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Citrix just announced a new collaboration with partners that will deliver Design Engineer Virtual Workstation solutions to meet the growing demand for secure anytime, anywhere access to 3D design applications.

To help support this announcement, CIMdata recently conducted research on the need for 3D remote visualization technology to support mobile product lifecycle management (PLM). This survey was intended for product development or manufacturing personnel that create or access computer-aided design (CAD) technical data or IT staff that support users who create or access 3D content. CIMdata was attempting to validate several use cases for remote access to 3D data, referred to in the survey as “remote visualization,” and wanted to understand if the respondents’ companies were experiencing issues related to these use cases and the importance of each. The use cases described include:
 

  • CAD Education – To ensure optimal usage of complex 3D technology many companies have an internal training environment consisting of a physical or virtual training room, with workstations with software. Maintenance of a training environment can be time consuming. Workstations are typically reloaded or reimaged to ensure that they are properly configured and will work correctly during the training.
  • Collaborative Design – Collaborative design can occur both synchronously and asynchronously. Collaboration environments can be physical or virtual. In the physical realm, creating a collaborative space can be as simple as making more physical space by consolidating the number of computers used by each team member. In the virtual or online realm, access to data and applications is the key requirement. Providing the appropriate collaboration environment enables teams to make better decisions faster which improves business performance.
  • Disaster Recovery – Business continuity or disaster recovery planning is an important aspect of business strategy. Disasters can range from a major power outage due to a storm through the destruction of a facility. An example of a major disaster would be companies that operated within the evacuation zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant. Many companies were not able to get access to their facilities after the disaster. The following questions are oriented around your need to access 3D data if your company’s access to data was interrupted by a disaster.
  • Hardware and Software Upgrades – As applications gain features and data sets grow larger more computational power is required. Companies must often invest in new hardware to obtain the value of new capabilities. Deploying new hardware as a unit across the enterprise is expensive and may replace many workstations unnecessarily. Deploying new hardware only where it is needed adds complexity to the environment and infrastructure. Distribution of applications and software fixes to hundreds or thousands of geographically dispersed workstations can be time consuming and costly.
  • Mobile access to data – access to data contains two key characteristics. First, the data is accessed wirelessly either over Wi-Fi or a cellular network (3G, 4G, etc.). Second, the device being used to access the 3D data is small and lower performance when compared with the typical 3D desktop computer. Example devices include laptops, netbook computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Within the context of this survey, mobile PLM means accessing 3D data away from a user’s desktop solution, or in a remote office away from the data center.

Overall, CIMdata believes that the survey attracted the right type of respondents to help us understand the relative value of the five use cases. Over 50% of the respondents come from companies larger than $1B, which represent an appropriate target market for advanced hardware and software technologies.

A majority of the respondents reported that they are active users of 3D in their job role, with 63% acting as authors, reviewers, or viewers of 3D data. Nearly 90% of the respondents came from North America and Europe. Ideally, the geographic spread of respondents would be broader, but based on CIMdata’s annual global PLM market analysis these geographies have historically invested more in PLM-enabling technologies, making this a valuable set of survey respondents.

The collaborative design use case had by far the highest rank. More than half of the respondents rated it number one or two. It had more than twice the number of number one votes than the second place use case. The remaining four use cases were within about 10% of each other in importance.

For more information on the results of the survey, look for the detailed paper on www.cimdata.com. You can find more on the Citrix announcement at http://www.citrix.com/news.html. Follow Stan on Twitter @smprezbo.

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Stan Przybylinski

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