Virtual Reality Series: Interviews & I Spy

By Kate

Does anyone not like virtual reality? I love it and am fascinated that we can trick the human brain into thinking something’s real that isn’t and even shape our brains. And virtual reality’s more than “just for fun.” There are some serious applications out there!

Whether you’re already a VR addict or have a burgeoning curiosity on the matter, well we’ve got some goodness in store for you over the next few weeks.

This week I’ll be blogging live from Laval Virtual, sharing cool applications as I spy them. As part of the series I’ll also be sharing interviews conducted with some of the VR industry’s leaders. I’ve spoken with a mix of folks from the French Association of Virtual Reality and have some interesting perspectives to share on topics as diverse as gear, research, and my favorite, future predictions.

It’s only appropriate however that I start by introducing you to David, and for two reasons. For one, David is Dassault Systèmes’ 3DVIA immersive virtuality domain leader and VR products manager. In that regard, he’s kindly offered to be my tour guide at Laval Virtual. Secondly, David is a member of the French Association of Virtual Reality, and in this role I’ve interviewed him about VR.

Here’s what I asked David:

  • What’s the difference between Virtual Reality and Immersive Virtuality?
  • What are today’s innovations in the virtual reality industry?
  • What will happen to virtual reality as augmented reality and mixed reality become more mainstream?
  • What link does Dassault Systèmes have with VR/immersive virtuality?

Here’s a transcription of the video interview:

Q1: What’s the difference between Virtual Reality and Immersive Virtuality?


Immersive Virtuality is sort of a new term. I started using it as much as I could because people use the term Virtual Reality in a way that doesn’t really describe what it is in the sense that for us, for me and the community of people working on this topic, virtual reality is about immersion. By immersion I mean that the point is to have the body and the sensorial dimension as the central points and not much the virtual. Some people use too much VR, or virtual reality, to describe things like Second Life or QuickTime Via, or whatever. So we started to use Immersive Virtualty as a way to describe what VR really is.

Q2: What are today’s innovations in the virtual reality industry?


The driver of innovation in the VR industry comes from the entertainment world, video gaming, digital cinema, all that. Basically we’re seeing kind of a revolution in the sense that within the gaming world, for example, you find more and more interactions that are engaging the body, and this is what VR is about. Of course there’s the Wii, but there are a lot of new devices and technologies based on this vision that comes from the gaming world. You’ve also got the setup boxes, and also what is being driven by digital cinema that is really moving towards stereoscopy, that is, stereovision. There’s a strong push from Hollywood, and this drives everyone to buy new stereo displays for home. And if you put this together with body tracking devices , you get what VR is about. Sensing and acting, perceiving and acting in the virtual world with your body.

Q3: What will happen to virtual reality as augmented reality and mixed reality become more mainstream?


There’s a continuum between VR and Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality. It’s basically how much you put the virtual and the real together inside a given immersive experiment. So basically we’re talking about the same things. Because we have more and more VR technology that comes from progress in the visual world, we’re getting closer and closer to AR when we do VR. But basically you’re mixing a real human, his real surroundings, which are where he’s standing, what he’s manipulating with his real hands, and the virtual worlds. And no matter where you put the focus, it’s basically the same technology. They’re going to grow together.

Q4: What link does Dassault Systèmes have with VR/immersive virtuality?


DS is probably one of the most important VR software editors by acquiring Virtools, which is a leading solution for immersive technologies. Dassault Systèmes has jumped into this world that was not that much a focus point before Virtools joined the group. And now all this technology, these usages are becoming central at Dassault Systèmes. We’ve invested in a very high-end immersive showroom to demonstrate solutions for our customers that would include immersive technologies within our solutions, industries and services.

If you’d like more information about Laval Virtual or would like to visit the 3DVIA booth this week, all the details can be found on the 3DVIA blog post: Love Virtual Reality? Visit 3dvia at Laval Virtual 2009.

Best,

Kate

Announcing the North American launch of the SolidWorks Engineering Stimulus Package

By Matthew

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Almost as soon as SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray announced the Engineering Stimulus Package (ESP) at SolidWorks World 2009, we started getting questions from many of you, asking about the details. Today, we’re happy to announced that the program is live for those of you living in the US and Canada. For those of you in other parts of the world, we’re working on making it available to you in the next few weeks. I’ll post updates here as I have them.

To quote the SolidWorks website, “the SolidWorks Engineering Stimulus Package provides free SolidWorks 3D CAD software to an US or Canadian resident seeking to develop, upgrade, or refresh the valuable 3D CAD skills that employers need. In addition to the software, you get self-support, free training materials, free certification, and job leads.”

If you’re not familiar with the ESP, you get a limited-term trial version of the SolidWorks Student Design Kit, which includes:

  • SolidWorks Standard software
  • Animation functionality
  • Library standards
  • Photorealistic rendering
  • eDrawings®
  • DWGeditor®
  • Complete online documentation and tutorials
  • 90-day term-of-use license
  • One chance to take the CSWA exam for free

There’s a lot more to the program than I can go into here, so visit the SolidWorks website to learn more. And if you can use it, download the package and start learning something new.

Here’s Jeff explaining a little more:

PLM Shopping

By Michael

For us every-day users of the internet  buying products online has become the way to go when it comes to consumer goods such as books, DVDs, office supplies or electronic gizmos, but also fixed price services such as a discount plane ticket or your annual horoscope. It’s just so convenient, isn’t it? Gone are the days of suspicion when you were asking yourself if the money transfer will work, if you will receive the shipment of the merchandise and when you hoped to avoid that your credit card number will be abused …

Today we simply enjoy the efficiency and comfort from buying with the click of the mouse. Thank you Amazon, Staples, Fnac, Expedia – to only mention a few – for your advancements in user ergonomics, search engines and performance (driven by the merciless selection process of demanding users). Benefits from online markets respond to the expectations of both the individual shopper and businesses at various sizes: we all want convenience, efficiency, speed and best prices.

Auctions are another big success which went online. Founded in 1995, Ebay as the premier public trading site for products has seen a staggering growth with a $60 billion transaction volume and 86 million active members in 2008. Ebay and look alike’s address the B2C and C2C markets. Within a core service of “search and find” the hits are presented to let the consumer comfortably compare objects and prices. The decision process is supported by additional services such as peer rating, referencing related products and special package offers. These online marketplaces are sophisticated Sell environments which generate a Buy experience to address mind and emotion.

It seems that service auctioning sites are up to repeat the success story. It worked for me! Last year when I did not less than four household moves (see the Guinness Book of Records for details), my experience from using an online platform was very positive: I was able to find the best movers at prices slashed by 60% over standard and at top quality. I became a happy user of MyHammer.

Beyond private shopping, online business exchanges are emerging to support more complex B2B transactions. There are the more generic trading places, such as Alibaba.com, which support the buying/selling of raw materials, commodities, industrial parts, services on a global level. Also there exist online markets which are focused geographically and specifically adapted to serve the needs of a certain user group. TechPilot.net is one example, where purchasers are looking for machined parts to be made according to their design, and suppliers can place their quotation to it, but also offer their capability and capacity versus the market demands. Sounds like a good idea? Yes, over 100,000 portal visits per month speak for themselves.


How does this reflect to shopping for a PLM Solution?

First I think we agree that purchasing a PLM system is not just ordering a product or service.

Assuming that a PLM Solution is unique for each customer situation, the process for designing the solution needs to start with a thorough analysis of the customer’s specific environment and needs. This is experts’ work [full stop]. By taking a consultative approach, a PLM professional, experienced in the customer’s industry, needs to comb through the customer’s product process by talking to stakeholders, with the aim to develop a blue print of the way the customer successfully works to meet his business objectives. Based on this blue print, a PLM expert can design the solution and select the components needed to do the job …

As you know, Dassault Systèmes’ value added channel partners, industry solution partners, in concert with IBM and DS provide those experts needed to analyze, select, plan and deploy a PLM system – independent of size and scope – but necessarily matching the individual customers’ needs. They will choose products and solution from the DS portfolio, but will also want to leverage the vast solutions from DS partners. These software, technology and service offerings are designed to extend the DS portfolio to solve though industry process challenges.


How can PLM solution integrators best include DS Partners’ offerings?

What started as an online showroom of partners’ products at DS France in 2005 has now become a highly efficient business platform where customers can find a partner solution, request a quote and initiate sales with a preferred sales partner. PLM MarketPlace provides the visitor with all relevant information regarding the referenced partner products. Connected resellers access a secured area which additionally contains all relevant sales information, and benefit from a fast and simple process to call in the respective solution partner on a deal. In short: PLM MarketPlace connects partners to deliver to customers augmented PLM value.

PLM MarketPlace’s core team: Jacques Bidault, Anthony Rosendo and Alexandre De Lima invite you to test ride the platform, and to experience how easy it becomes to surf the catalog of our partners’ solutions.

from left to right: Alexandre, Jacques, Anthony

Go ahead and check it out for yourself. Let us know what you think! Finalizing transactions on www.plmmarketplace.com is reserved to connected resellers, but everyone is welcome to request a quote.

Happy shopping!

Best,
Michael

P.S.: … and don’t get carried away (like the guy in the video … )

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