SolidWorks World has started, down here in New Orleans. Yesterday they kicked off with a reception on the exhibit floor, followed by a SuperBowl Party sponsored by HP. The party was fun but slightly marred by the fact that the room for the SuperBowl, while filled with big projection TVs, and some decent food, also turned out to be pretty cold. So we waited for the HP commercial in the 4th quarter, and then everyone fled to their hotels to warm up frozen fingers!
Monday was the Keynote, commenced by Jeff Ray, COO, and followed by some pretty interesting presentations from the US Army Corps of Engineers, discussing how they successfully tackled rebuilding the flood barriers throughout New Orleans in an 8 month deadline.
This was followed by a presentation by an MIT engineering student, Anna Jaffe, who is the spokesperson for a student-led consortium that is trying to found an Automotive X Prize, aimed at leapfrogging forward sustainable technology in vehicles. The Vehicle Design Summit (VDS) 2.0 is aiming for designing vehicles that achieve a 95% reduction in energy use, while achieving zero toxicity. Jaffe was enlightening and refreshing, and gave a feeling of relief throughout that maybe engineering can still be popular.
At the end of her presentation, one of the vehicles created during the MIT Summit was driven onto the stage by non other than John McEleney, CEO of SolidWorks. He then took over the stage with his incredible energy, presenting highlights of SolidWorks 2008, presenting SolidWorks Labs and its new products, an highlighting some pretty neat products designed recently using SolidWorks.
In reference to a previous post on this blog, Autodesk has a muted presence with some billboards at the airport and a few taxi-cab commercials, but has resisted advertisements in the local paper. Heather kernahan posted a comment today saying that Autodesk would not be hosting any competitive events during SolidWorks World. For observers here, that makes a nice change!
The SolidWorks event has been, so far, positive and pleasant. Everyone seems happy to be here, which is nice. With some 125 'press', many of whom are user-bloggers, there is a great contingent of industry watchers who are providing some good insight into the new features promised in SolidWorks 2008. For detailed comments on the product, I will leave it to some of the experts for now.
SolidWorks has finally moved in to building up its blog presence (the lack of which I complained about in 2006.) by helping users become bloggers. Two bloggers that have alrady jumped out at me today are Anna Wood http://designsmarter.typepad.com/solidmuse and Jeff Mirisola http://designsmarter.typepad.com/jeffs_blog. You may want to check them out.
I'll have more to say on this when I nail down Richard Doyle of SolidWorks who seems to be responsible for a lot of it. All the bloggers seem to have had little business cards created for them, which are very attractive. I'll have more to say after tonight's press dinner, I am sure!
You will be able to see more about the product at CADCAMNet - www.cadcamnet.com - on Thursday of this week.