Dassault Systemes Customer Conference 2011 – Day 1

Today was the first day of the Dassault Systemes Customer Conference 2011 at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. I found the speech by Dassault Systemes CEO Bernard Charles during the general session quite interesting.

He spoke on a variety of topics, although the main focus was on something he calls “lifelike experience”. His face literally lights up when he uses that phrase. He explained that his was the first company to do a “digital mockup” of a product. Everybody does it now and it no longer is a differentiator. What he is interested in doing is taking things to the next level. Basically simulate life itself in a virtual world. How a product will behave when placed in the real world. For example, how will a guitar sound when you pluck the strings. How will it sound when you connect it to an amplifier. Even to the extent of how it will burn if you set fire to it. Bernard disclosed that over the next five years DS is going to invest 200 million dollars on a project whose goal is to digitize human cells.

Bernard wants to differentiate how his PLM solution is different from his competitors, who he thinks are aging. His PLM solution differs by the lifelike experience that it gives the user. At least that’s the vision. Now how far Dassault Systemes has reached in fulfilling that vision, I don’t know.

One statement that Bernard made caught my attention. He said. “We have gone too far in outsourcing manufacturing and production to other countries“. I have my own views on that topic and maybe one day I’ll write about it here.

Bernard always makes it a point to take a dig at Autodesk using DraftSight as a stick. Today he didn’t miss the opportunity and told the close to a thousand strong audience to stop paying money to Autodesk for AutoCAD and instead spend the money on software from DS. “It’s a good deal“, he laughed.

Speaking about moving his solutions online, Bernard said, “I took the risk of investing two billion dollars to rearchitect all DS products to use a common cloud platform. That project was called Convergence. And the platform is ENOVIA. Many thought we were simply trying to bundle our products. But that is not the case“.

Last year at DSCC 2010 I asked DS PR to fix me up with a license of CATIA V6. That didn’t happen. I asked again this year. Let’s see.

Here is a panoramic view of the DSCC 2011 Technology Showcase during the evening reception. This is the place where DS and its partners highlight their products and services.

Click to enlarge

Later in the evening DS took the media and analysts to watch Cirque du Soleil at Treasure Island. It was pretty good and quite different from what I am used to seeing back in India.

Disclosure: Dassault Systemes paid for my airfare, hotel and conference fees.