Thursday Apr 30, 2015

Merging the Desktop and Mobile Metaphors

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that my cellphone is almost two years old - in the tech world that's almost as bad as still using smoke signals to communicate.  Despite that, my cellphone (a Samsung Galaxy S4 for those keeping score) is more powerful than (and has a much higher resolution display than) most of the computing devices I've used through-out my professional career.  That makes it perhaps unsurprising that Microsoft announced yesterday  Continuum - their intention to bring together the desktop and mobile 'metaphors' into a single device.   

The idea is simple (and was in fact also proposed by Ubuntu as part of their 'Ubuntu Touch' solution back in 2013) - your phone becomes your only computing device.  If you are sitting at a desk you connect it to a keyboard/mouse/display or perhaps a laptop-like keyboard/trackpad/display clamshell, and you get get your familiar 'desktop' metaphor, but when you disconnect and use the cellphone by itself you get the same data, files, etc - but with a UI that makes sense on a 5" screen, rather than a 20" screen.

What does this mean for enterprise visualization?  Instead of providing separate environments for phones, tablets and desktop/laptops, enterprise visualization systems will be able to provide solutions that morph from a phone UI - suitable for taking a photo of a problem found while onsite for instance - to a tablet UI - suitable for reviewing a change request while on the train - to a desktop UI - suitable for doing detailed design reviews, measurements, etc.   

There will be huge advantages to being able to carry your entire computing environment around in your pocket - the photo you took of a problem while onsite will be right there when you are sitting at your desk creating a detailed change request, and the notes you took during a design meeting yesterday will be right there if you want to refer to them while on the train.  

Of course, you may also be able to use Microsoft's Hololens to see a full-on 'holographic' display of the data off your cell phone while on the train - but that is starting to sound like it comes straight out of a sci-fi novel...

Monday Apr 20, 2015

Real-Time Collaboration With AutoVue

I have been working with AutoVue for more than 15 years now and when I first started talking to customers, way back when, about what features they would like to see added to AutoVue many said they would like to be able to share what they see on their screen when using AutoVue with others.

I remember one person I met at a trade show telling me this feature alone would save him the time and expense of a monthly trip to Texas from his New York office to review CAD files with his people there. For him and others like him, who needed to share their data in real time, we came up with AutoVue’s Real-Time Collaboration tool or RTC. This has been a part of AutoVue for a number of years now and, in my opinion, I think it is still under-utilized by our customers, and that is a shame because RTC can help organizations to connect everyone securely via the web, be it employees, partners, suppliers or customers, they can communicate as if they were in the same room, even if they are located on the other side of the world. They can  share ideas, inspect and markup documents, assign action items, and resolve design issues, all in real-time. Because of this, users can streamline communication, drive innovation, and expedite document and design reviews throughout the product or asset lifecycle without ever setting foot in the same room. Exactly what that gentleman from New York was looking for all those years ago.


• Simultaneous viewing and markup of documents via the web
• Identify contributors feedback with color-coded markups and chat
• Create an audit trail and capture session information
• Investigate areas of a document privately during a session using Unlock View
• Show Tracker Window allows unlocked participants to track the common view in a separate
• Pause sessions and resume them at a later time

Here are 2 users that can be thousands of miles apart but they can see the same information on their
screen and see each other’s comments, in real time, and of course everything is saved for future reference