SOLIDWORKS World 2015: Monday General Session Recap

This morning nearly 6,000 attendees packed the Phoenix Convention Center’s main hall to celebrate their passion for engineering and design. As phones were silenced and the lights dimmed, former CEO Bertrand Sicot was accompanied by a Parrot drone to the SOLIDWORKS World stage. It was an fun entrance, but Bertrand recognized that the passionate crowd running to their seats was far more impressive. SOLIDWORKS World is all about the community and Bertrand encouraged attendees to enjoy their event. Bertrand reflected on his tenure at SOLIDWORKS, which began in 1997, and discussed his thoughts on the connections he’s made over the years.


Bertrand moved on to review the last year at SOLIDWORKS. Starting with the introduction SOLIDWORKS 2015, the most successful SOLIDWORKS release to date, SOLIDWORKS Inspection, MySolidWorks Professional and SOLIDWORKS Mechanical Conceptual, now SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design. Education was another point of great success in 2014. SOLIDWORKS Education surpassed 2 million licenses worldwide, with more than 3 million active student users alone. 2014 was a great year for SOLIDWORKS, but Bertrand set the table to discuss the big things to come.

Dassault Systèmes CEO Bernard Charles took the stage to congratulate Bertrand on his 18 years of service at SOLIDWORKS and discuss some of his SOLIDWORKS career highlights: growing the community by 2x and increasing partner growth by 38 percent just before snapping a picture of Bertrand in front of the best community in CAD.

Bernard moved on to cover the company’s focus on people, partnership and passion. The power of 3D design and the world of experience is having a major influence on how we live and work. To demonstrate this, Bernard introduced Bryo as an example of how the 3DEXPERIENCE platform does more than create a cool product – it creates winning experiences that are specifically tailored to the customer. The thinking: the higher customer engagement, the more they’ll want to use your products.


After hearing about the age of experience, new SOLIDWORKS CEO Gian Paolo Bassi greeted the audience with a preview of things to come. Gian Paolo addressed the crowd by talking about his shared dream of creating the world’s best products. His tagline: We want to embrace the future. We want you to embrace the future. However, SOLIDWORKS will respect its legacy and continue to build on the last 20 years of CAD innovation. The company will continue to invest in the desktop generation of products and improve on the software that millions of designers have come to rely on.

That brings us on to the future, which Gian Paolo dubbed as the cloud generation of products. By 2020, there will be 200 billion connected products. Engineers love data and need to take advantage of it make better and more informed decisions. Gian Paolo pointed back to this need for a connected network that takes advantage of big data to announce a new product built on the Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE platform: SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design

SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design embraces the social, conceptual and collaborative design world in today’s age of experience. The application accelerates the product design process by providing engineers with a cloud-based tool to design and collaborate on complex organic shapes—from concept to final product— whenever they want and where ever they are located.


Constraints of traditional industrial design software, including data incompatibility, extensive rework of designs and a disconnect between industrial and mechanical design teams, lack of collaboration during the design process and difficulty in evaluating multiple concepts can slow down the product design process and reduce cost efficiency and time-to-market.

The SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design application eliminates these barriers by offering a flexible, intuitive single modeling environment that improves the overall industrial design process. With Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform, SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design provides social design capabilities and transparent data management that allow engineers and designers to quickly solve industrial design challenges and easily transition to mechanical design. Read this blog post for an in-depth preview of SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design.

Gian Paolo then called Kishore Boyalakuntla, Director of Product Management, Next Generation Products, onstage to demonstrate how to design a customer experience in SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design. Kishore discussed how his idea to create a plant watering nozzle was started from market research and collaboration through design. This included building a final product based on known customer preferences and needs. Kishore walked the audience through the single modeling environment for his product and how his concept is shared with his larger team for feedback who can share their opinions from anywhere, at anytime. Kishore then showed how the nozzle is connected to SOLIDWORKS and that design data is available to share inside and outside of an organization thanks to SOLIDWORKS Model Based Definition (MBD). With design and data combining to create an experience-inspired product, this nozzle is ready to manufacture. As an added bonus, SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design is available anywhere and easily transitions from desktop to tablet. The future is all about connecting with your entire business and partners to build products that your customers will run through the door to purchase.

Gian Paolo then released the drones. Parrot founder and CEO Henri Seydoux and Lead Designer Karim Fargeau
joined Gian Paolo onstage to talk about how his company designs, develops and markets high technology solutions; including some of the world’s most advanced drones. Parrot is a SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design Lighthouse Program, meaning they were given early access to SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design.

Henri explained that Industrial Design was important to helping Parrot to develop fashionable high tech, faster and with more freedom. The Parrot drones are a product of this freedom. It helps Parrot’s designers work more like fashion designers who can churn out ideas as an extremely rapid rate. Karim then discussed how SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design contributed to Parrot’s hydrofoil project, a boat drone. Karim shared his experience in working on this product for years before Industrial Design allowed him to build a satisfactory product in minutes. For Parrot, a long-time SOLIDWORKS user, SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design is the future.


SOLIDWORKS Senior Director of Innovation Rick Chin stepped onto the stage and covered new cool technology that you can use with SOLIDWORKS. Channeling his inner Tony Stark, Rich introduced the Thalmic Myo and the Thalmic Labs’ Design Evangelist Chris Goodine. The Myo is a motion and gesture controlled armband that uses arm muscle activity and EMG signals to control digital devices and software – including SOLIDWORKS.


Goodine went on to discuss interesting applications from world-renouned DJs spinning with Myo to how surgeons are using their gestures to zoom in on images in a sterile setting without interrupting surgery. Tying back to big data, the Myo was designed to one size fits all – how? More than 10,000 data sets were created to examine how the band would react to different sized humans. Based on this research, the design was built to suit anyone. Further, Myo relies on its developer community to create killer apps. If you’ve got a great idea, make sure to stop by the Thalmic booth in the Product Showcase to share and test drive Myo. The company is on the cutting edge of big data, internet of things and collaboration. It’s future mission is to ensure that we are enabled to interact with this technology in a natural way.

Today’s session culminated with a presentation from Bre Pettis, former MakerBot CEO and current Chief Innovation Officer at Bold Machines. One of the leading thinkers in the maker community, Bre discussed the next industrial revolution that is pushing 3D printing into new frontiers. Bre is obsessed with manifestation that anyone on the world has the power to make things exist. Right now, Bre said, “I’m in the room with 5,500 Merlins.” These are people dedicated to fixing and creating. For Bre, his goal is to help people live up to their creative potential.


NYC Resistor was proof that one way to innovation was to create bad ideas. Try something that’s not possible and you’ll never know what you’ll learn. The experience with NYC Resistor spun off to build MakerBot. At this stage, Bre measured innovation by cases of Ramen Noodles, but the team pushed on all the same. It took some time, but the team created a 3D printed.

It wasn’t that long ago that you needed to be a tycoon with a house in Newport to manufacture products. Now, nearly anyone with a computer and an idea has the opportunity to bring something to life. There are no longer excuses or barriers to entry. There are only the rules you create for yourself. Bre shared his version of rules to inspire his fellow SOLIDWORKS wizards: the cult of done manifesto and for MakerBot this was called the MakerBot way.

Bre went on to share some of the cool products using MakerBot, including Thalmic Labs and natural history museums, but his favorite is Robohand – a high-quality prosthetic for kids without the $50K price tag. Another amusing story: using 3D printing to skirt height requirements at amusement parks!


Being a former teacher, education was a key talking point for Bre during his presentation. It the responsibility of our entire community to educate the next generation of engineers and make sure that they’re receiving the necessary education to create a better world. CAD users can have a deep impact on people’s live and a future in the community’s hands looks a lot brighter than the future dreamed up by politicians. Bre left the audience with two challenges: first, make sure you take advantage of being with similar minds at SOLIDWORKS World. You have the power to change the world and you’re even stronger as a collective. The second challenge “because we have too many dudes in the room:” fathers need to inspire their daughters to become the next generation engineers and innovators.

A packed day one presentation then concluded. Be sure to check out our other blog posts to stay up to date with #SWW15 news and new product announcements. Remember, you can stream tomorrow’s general session live by registering here and follow the conversation by following #SWW15 on Twitter.


Mike Fearon

Mike Fearon

Senior Manager Brand Offer Marketing, Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS. Video game world champion and whisky advocate. I like turtles.