Autodesk and DWF
Autodesk (www.autodesk.com) has the largest installed base in the CAD market by far. They released the DWF format several years ago, enabling Autodesk and competitive CAD users to translate 3D data with free DWF writers and visualize the data with free DWF viewers, which have been available for many years. Last year, Autodesk released Autodesk Design Review, a new design review workflow tool that automates collaborative processes and projects. Also of note, UGS and Autodesk recently announced cooperation aimed at mutual support of their JT Direct and DWF formats. It remains to be seen what will come of this partnership.
As customer demands quicken, products get more complex and globalization spreads resources around the globe, collaboration is pre-requisite to success. Yet collaborative product development is handicapped by endemically poor interoperability of product data. Progress is being made on many fronts, but much work remains. And the consensus success of global manufacturing may well depend on it.