Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Solid Edge and PLM Connection

Solid Edge University 2012 is just around the corner.  If you haven't already registered, you missed the early bird discount but there is still ample opportunity to attend the conference in Nashville.  I am unable to make it again this year, but thanks to the great folks at Siemens, I was able to attend the PLM Connection (aka PLM World) instead in fabulous Las Vegas, NV.

I have been greatly hesitant in the past to attend PLM Connection because it typically lacks depth in the Solid Edge track.  This year, PLM World didn't disappoint.  True to form, the Solid Edge sessions were held in a tiny room in the far back corner of the the Rio Conference Center.  The room held at most 60 people.  But I can't fault the planners for this detail.  I heard through the grapevine that only 40 people registered for the Solid Edge track (that number has not been verified).  There isn't any reason to provide any more facilities than necessary.  So why go to PLM Connection if you are a Solid Edge user?

Pros

  1. If you run Siemens software besides Solid Edge, you won't find topic tracks or networking opportunities elsewhere.
  2. Few people in your track?  Plenty of 1-on-1 time with the experts.
  3. Siemens still sends their best and brightest.

Cons

  1. The Solid Edge track ends on Tuesday, even though the conference itself runs until Thursday.  You pay full price to attend a conference that only runs half the time.
  2. The conference doesn't revolve around the Solid Edge release cycle.  With specific Solid Edge events timed accordingly, Siemens reps aren't willing to give up the farm so early and detract from the other event.
  3. Very few peers to exchange ideas with.
And I could continue the lists, but there is no point when I can summarize my experience with PLM Connection with a single question.  Is there a home for Solid Edge at PLM Connection?

In my opinion, the answer is no.  If you are a Solid Edge + Teamcenter user, then go to PLM Connection to follow the Teamcenter tracks.  If you want to know more about changes to the Solid Edge Embedded Client for Teamcenter, then go to the Solid Edge specific event.  I don't recommend going to a PLM conference to talk about CAD or design.  You'll only get lost in the crowd.  But I don't mean to imply that I didn't get value out of attending.  Because of the small Solid Edge crowd and therefore 1-on-1 time with the experts, I was able to get quite a few very specific questions answered and discuss issues I've been having with the software.  I will write up the details during the #SEU12 event time frame.  (Siemens has not embargoed me, but they did request I not post anything until the official announcement in June at Solid Edge University.)  But I have to wonder, with the growing popularity (demand based, nonetheless) of the Solid Edge University, how long will Siemens commit to sending their experts to two conferences?  Will Solid Edge cease to exist at PLM Connection?

twitter: #plmconx

Disclaimer: Siemens paid for my conference registration fee and two nights at the Rio All Suites hotel and casino.
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