Siemens Holds on to History

In an earlier post titled “PTC Joins the Direct Modeling Bandwagon” referring to PTC’s announcements and demos at PTC/USER 09, I wondered:

“So does that mean that like Siemens, PTC is abandoning the history based feature modeling approach that they pioneered years ago?”

As it turns out there was something fundamentally wrong with the question. I have access to Solid Edge only and assumed that Synchronous Technology was implemented in NX in the same way, which apparently, it is not. An anonymous commenter pointed out:

“In NX, you can CHOOSE to have Synchronous features seamlessly integrated with the ‘old’ history-based modeling approach, OR, to go with a completely history-free approach. It is UP TO THE USER TO DECIDE. In Solid Edge, it seems you have to choose one or the other.

… [snip] …

It is very unfortunate that the differences in implementation of ST between NX and Solid Edge are being confused (by everyone, from Siemens to the blog media etc).”

This is precisely the reason why I allow anonymous comments on my blog. So after I was enlightened I decided to get it straight from the horse’s mouse. So I asked Dora Smith, Director – Global Social Media at Siemens PLM Software, two specific questions:

(1) Will Siemens continue to develop new technologies that are based on the “history based” parametric modeling?
(2) In the future will Siemens ship a version of Solid Edge and/or NX that will not have the “history based” parametric modeling option.

Her reply to question 1 was:

“We have definitely NOT ‘abandoned’ history-based modeling. We continue to invest in history-based modeling AND synchronous technology. The feedback from our customers so far is they want the best of both worlds: history-based and history-free modeling.”

In response to question 2, Dora said:

“We have no plans to deliver NX or Solid Edge without a history-based option.”

So there you have it. As far as Siemens is concerned, history is not going to be history. I was pretty alarmed by something that Al Dean said in a comment to the same post:

“I’ve heard of users reevaluating their Solid Edge licenses, some even dropping it and moving to another direct editing system that’s more mature. Why? because of this notion that history is being dumped.”

If Al is right, then maybe Siemens is not doing a very good job getting the message across to its customers. Either way, I am still trying to figure out the reason for implementing Synchronous Technology differently in Solid Edge and NX. It is quite obvious to me that giving a user the option to integrate Synchronous features in the history based modeling method is far better than not giving the option. So why is Solid Edge being left out of the party? Is Siemens facing the same problem that Dassault is facing with smaller brother SolidWorks stepping on the toes of bigger brother CATIA? Or is there something that I am not seeing here?

If any of you know the reason why Synchronous Technology was implemented differently in Solid Edge and NX, I would appreciate it if you could enlighten me a bit further.

  • Matt

    Deelip,When I visited the Solid Edge folks to talk about Synch Tech last October, Dan Staples said directly that the plan at that point was to eventually abandon history-based modeling in this blog post:http://www.dezignstuff.com/blog/?p=637But 10 years is a long way out to predict the future. Still, at the time when he said that, the hype was still high, and there were a lot of people who believed this stuff was going to turn the market upside down. The tone currently is more subdued. I think people are coming to the realization that like Spaceclaim claims, its not either-or, you aren't going to see the extinction of history modeling. Unlike Spaceclaim, I think that means that you will see both types of tools inside a single package, and unlike current Solid Edge, they will be available simultaneously. You are going to see direct modeling worked into the workflow of smarter history-based tools. The larger direct edit discussion has been valuable for history modeling because it has pointed out the flaws in how history modeling has been implemented, and maybe more importantly has pointed out the strengths of the competitive systems.

  • Matt

    Deelip,

    When I visited the Solid Edge folks to talk about Synch Tech last October, Dan Staples said directly that the plan at that point was to eventually abandon history-based modeling in this blog post:

    http://www.dezignstuff.com/blog/?p=637

    But 10 years is a long way out to predict the future. Still, at the time when he said that, the hype was still high, and there were a lot of people who believed this stuff was going to turn the market upside down. The tone currently is more subdued. I think people are coming to the realization that like Spaceclaim claims, its not either-or, you aren't going to see the extinction of history modeling. Unlike Spaceclaim, I think that means that you will see both types of tools inside a single package, and unlike current Solid Edge, they will be available simultaneously. You are going to see direct modeling worked into the workflow of smarter history-based tools.

    The larger direct edit discussion has been valuable for history modeling because it has pointed out the flaws in how history modeling has been implemented, and maybe more importantly has pointed out the strengths of the competitive systems.

  • Anonymous

    This is what I have been told by long time users of SE and I assume they are pretty aware of how things really are there. It is their opinion that Synchronous was developed by SE but as Siemens bought UGS out they also got to dictate who got what developement wise. Complaints about lack of marketing got Dan to say his hands are tied in regards to things like marketing budgets so I can assume that is true in other areas to. NX is considerably more expensive and like Catia you need to own a bank when it gets into the cost of addons. So yes like Catia keeping tech from SWX so does NX keep what they took from SE in it's fullest capacities for themselves and let their sibling exist in a crippled state. Really stupid policy in my book as with the economy looking bad for an indefinite time they seem to fail to realise that companies are looking and indeed demanding cheaper solutions. The real growth for Siemens I think will be in the mid range MCAD and not the eat you alive one. What is a typical SE users perception of how they are treated by Siemens in comparison to NX users? This year I read that PLM World had 37 SE users there and over 1000 NX users there. Evidently SE users feel there is a problem. Not a visionary corporate policy I dare say.

  • Anonymous

    This is what I have been told by long time users of SE and I assume they are pretty aware of how things really are there. It is their opinion that Synchronous was developed by SE but as Siemens bought UGS out they also got to dictate who got what developement wise. Complaints about lack of marketing got Dan to say his hands are tied in regards to things like marketing budgets so I can assume that is true in other areas to. NX is considerably more expensive and like Catia you need to own a bank when it gets into the cost of addons. So yes like Catia keeping tech from SWX so does NX keep what they took from SE in it's fullest capacities for themselves and let their sibling exist in a crippled state. Really stupid policy in my book as with the economy looking bad for an indefinite time they seem to fail to realise that companies are looking and indeed demanding cheaper solutions. The real growth for Siemens I think will be in the mid range MCAD and not the eat you alive one.
    What is a typical SE users perception of how they are treated by Siemens in comparison to NX users? This year I read that PLM World had 37 SE users there and over 1000 NX users there. Evidently SE users feel there is a problem. Not a visionary corporate policy I dare say.