PTC/USER 2005: Better than Ever
Regional User Group chairs attend a working session on improving their organizations.
By any measure, the PTC/USER® World Event 2005 in Orlando, Florida was a tremendous success. The introduction of new educational features as well as enhancements to the traditional Pro/ENGINEER® and Windchill® programming pushed attendance to 1504, the largest number since the record-setting conference in 2000. Conference-goers were treated to several major PTC announcements, including the new Pro/INTRALINK 8.0 software.
After the welcome on Monday morning from PTC/USER President Evan Caille of HP, PTC CEO and President Dick Harrison discussed the state of the company with the audience. The business outlook for PTC is strong and very much improved over the recent past, which should reassure anyone concerned about the longevity of their investments in PTC technology. Details on Dick’s presentation are available for download at the PTC/USER member website, members.ptcuser.org.
Jim Heppelman speaks before a standing-room-only crowd on Conference Monday.
Jim Heppelmann, PTC’s Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President of Software Solutions, made perhaps the biggest splash with his announcement of the release of Pro/INTRALINK 8.0. The next generation software provides improved usability, enhanced performance, expanded PDM capabilities and web integration, allowing non-engineers to access product data through a standard web browser. The software offers a subset of the capabilities built into Windchill 8.0 and eliminates the need for the Workgroup Manager product. It also supports seamless upgradeability to Windchill PDMLink and the full Product Development System. For more details on the Pro/INTRALINK 8.0 release, please see the interview with Brian Shepherd, also in the current issue of Profiles Magazine.
In response to customer concerns surrounding product quality, Jim also announced changes to PTC’s plans for Wildfire 3.0. The original release plan called for the First Customer Shipment (FCS) to occur in September, 2005. PTC is now planning for a second pre-production release instead in September, with the full production release pushed back to March-April of 2006. This will allow PTC time to implement dramatically more stringent FCS release criteria as well as eradicate many annoying “medium” bugs. The end result will be an improved product for customers so they can implement Wildfire 3.0 with confidence.
Jim also announced two acquisitions made by PTC: Polyplan, a innovative company offering advanced manufacturing planning technology; and Aptavis, which offers FlexPLM, based on Windchill. PTC/USER members can also download Jim’s presentation at the member portal.
Star power was also evident in this year’s keynote speakers, representing world-class organizations that utilize PTC technology. Thierry Penet, Manager of Industrial Applications for Rolex S.A., shared his experiences on how the world’s foremost maker of watches applies PTC software in its product development processes. On conference Wednesday, Dr. Luca Pignacca, Chief Designer of Dallara Automobili, and Dr. Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director of Maserati Racing, gave a detailed presentation on the roles played by Pro/ENGINEER and Windchill PDMLink in the creation of Maserati’s legendary high-performance race and street vehicles.
Members honored several presenters for their efforts this year: In the Create Track, attendees favored “An Open and Shut Case for Flexible Components” by Michael Mongilio of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. “U.S. Army Future Combat Systems - Advanced Collaborative Environment” by Col. Steve Bristow, United States Army, and Richard Crispo of Boeing won the Collaborate & Control Track. “Armed and Dangerous” by Tom McGuire, Magellan Engineering Services, and Steve Curtis, Pinnacle Consulting Group was selected as the Best Overall presentation.
The John Deere 328 Skid Steer Loader.
For the third time, John Deere took home top honors in the annual PTC Awards competition. The 328 Skid Steer Loader won the Heavy Equipment category and was chosen the overall winner by PTC/USER members from a very competitive field of entrants. You can see the winners in all categories as well as download a cool screensaver by visiting the ptc.com website (www.ptc.com/appserver/mkt/ptcawards/winners.jsp).
(Left) One of our many raffle winners. (Right) Attendees enjoyed one of the largest exhibits of technology in PTC/USER history.
The 100 exhibits in this year’s Exhibit Hall represented the biggest showing of technology ever featured at a PTC/USER World Event. Some of the brightest stars in the technology universe such as HP, Intel, Sun Microsystems, IBM, AMD, Adobe Systems, Dell and NIKA demonstrate their leading-edge products and services at the World Event. We had twenty-three new partners join us in the Exhibit Hall offering the latest innovations for PTC software users, including:
For the complete list with web links to each exhibitor’s web site, visit www.ptcuser.org/2005/exhibits.html.
The 1504 attendees represented a diversity of geographies and industries. Members traveled from twenty-seven nations to be in Orlando. They hailed from aerospace and defense contractors, biomedical firms, government laboratories, educational institutions, consumer products companies, automobile manufacturers and just about every other sector imaginable. Attendees came from the entire enterprise: designers, engineers, system administrators, technology implementers, managers and executives. About 60% of attendees came from very large organizations (over $250 million in annual revenues) but about 10% represented small companies with revenues of less than $1 million per year. Despite the many differences, they all shared a common set of interests: learning about the latest developments in PTC software, discovering the best techniques to maximize their productivity and networking with their peers to exchange knowledge.
Our annual survey of attendees helps PTC/USER identify the key concerns among our members. Educational opportunities are the most sought-after sessions. New features such as the Solutions Laboratories, offering direct interaction between participants and PTC staff, were popular among attendees. PTC’s eLearning Laboratory, a room of dedicated workstations to access any online PTC University course desired, debuted to rave reviews.
Members "network" after a long day of technical sessions.
Attendees also rated the agenda very highly this year, with a score of 3.9 out of 5, one of the highest numbers ever recorded. The agenda was quite comprehensive, with over eighty sessions in two tracks covering the product development paradigm of “Create, Collaborate, Control.” Ted Bradshaw of Lucent Technologies, Director of Conferences and Education for PTC/USER, has spent long hours over the past several years to refine the entire process of soliciting, developing and presenting papers. His efforts have borne fruit in the form of greatly improved quality among the expert user presentations.
People seemed to be quite taken with the depth and quality of the PTC/USER World Event. One conference attendee remarked that “the impression of all the users that I spoke with, people that I work with daily from the Army, Boeing, United Defense, Swales and elsewhere was that this was an amazing event and one of the best they have been to. They were delighted and felt very much that it was a very good investment on behalf of their organizations.” There were many similar sentiments expressed by other members. More than three of four attendees indicated they would be back to the World Event in 2006. Of those not planning to return, 49% of them said the reason was that someone else from their company would be attending the conference. Thus, nearly 9 of 10 attendees plan to attend or have someone from their company attend. We really appreciate the confidence placed in us by the members to deliver the education they want.
Please be sure to mark your calendar for the PTC/USER World Event 2006, to be held June 4-7 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Conference Center on picturesque Lake Grapevine. Just six minutes from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, this expansive venue will be the perfect backdrop for the World Event. Attendees will enjoy state-of-the-art facilities for meetings, with extensive options for shopping, dining and entertainment all located on-site. We hope to see you there!
The Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center, home of the PTC/USER World Event 2006.
Rick Snider is Executive Director of PTC/USER. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.