Okay, so let’s talk about Vertex. First off, what is it and, what does it do?

Essentially, it’s a 3-D visualization tool that is cloud-based and browser accessed with no app to install. The tool lets you open, spin, pan, and zoom a 3-D model. There’s an extreme emphasis on performance so that you can get very, very large 3-D models. It’s also device-independent, which is beneficial for a lot of different applications.

What can you do beyond visualizing a 3-D model? Well, there is quite a bit of extra functionality. The model, when you visualize it, is streamed from the cloud rather than your desktop. For IP sensitive circumstances, that is a good thing, because you can define the access certain people have. It’s also bill of material configured. Imagine you can set up a 150% assembly model with every single part that you want, then point the model towards a bill of material and the tool will configure the visualization. You can then share the visualization with whomever you want. You can create and save views. You can zoom in on a specific area and look at a particular part, then zoom back out and go to another area, reorient the part, and save and share that as part of the visualization. You can also select a part and start a conversation with someone from a browsable list. Since the visualization is multi-access, lots of people can look at and collaborate on the same thing in the cloud. People can highlight parts and see each other’s comments.

There are also plans for the tool to connect to and overlay metadata from, other enterprise systems such as ERP, procurement, or supply chain management with information such as inventory and lead time. These are not current features, but being a cloud platform, they can be added over time as part of a longer-term vision.

So we talked about functionality, let’s talk about applications across the development cycle. Any non-technical or technical team such as project management, suppliers, or manufacturing can access the 3-D model.

Is it worth it? Do we need another 3-D visualization tool? The thing that is different about this tool and where it provides value is that it is a granular solution. We see 3-D visualization becoming part of these cloud PLM solutions. That can be good for certain organizations, but you’ve got to go through these fundamental steps and get data management, release management, and change management under control. With this type of granular tool, you can adopt it very quickly and easily. You can point it at a particular problem and solve that problem without the baggage that comes along with a large integrated system.

It’s cloud-based, so it is going to evolve. Vertex is pushing updates roughly weekly, sometimes biweekly to get new functionality into the platform. This isn’t an on-premise system where you have to push the update yourself. You’re always going to take advantage of the latest version and functionality.

There are also advantages in protecting intellectual property. When you share, you’re not sending the 3-D model; you’re giving access to a visualization. The geometry is never directly downloaded unless you permit the download. There is never access to the actual 3-D model, which can put you at risk of IP theft.

Is Vertex worth it? Yes, I think there’s still enough pain in the industry around the problems Vertex solves.

That’s it. Take care and talk soon.