SolidWorks 2009, Barcelona, Spain

SolidWorks just held its annual Media event in Barcelona, Spain to showcase Version 9. The city is a pastel jewel full of palm trees, international travelers, and mind-blowing architecture by Gaudi. I took a stroll earlier on the boardwalk by the Mediterranean Sea. People here are quite sophisticated -- a topless beach nearby brought not one single stare. There are plenty of long-haired Spanish beauties, but to balance things out, there are also millions of buff young hulks.

Back to business....SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray in his opening speech says in a global economy with new players such as India and China, the best products have a high quality, low manufacturing cost, new fuctionality, better performance, and high customer satisfaction.

He also explains that the recent company name change -- SolidWorks is now officially Dassault Systemes SolidWorks -- symbolizes a closer working relationship between the companies. Dassault can benefit from SolidWorks' strong reseller channel, and SolidWorks can benefit from Dassault 3D and PLM technology. Although SolidWorks and CATIA are each CAD programs, they target different markets, says Ray. "CATIA is big in aerospace and some automotive. You have to respect the way the customer does business," he says. "You can't get caught in the trap of believing your own bullshit or marketing hype."

Ray notes a convergence between gaming technology and design, so the company is buying a lot of gaming IP. The goal is customer satisfaction, and -- always -- profit. "Profit is an instantiation of the customer's belief in you," he says. Ray also says soon computing will be done "in the cloud," with programs such as SolidWorks online.

Probably one of the most interesting customer presentations was that of PAL Technology in Abu Dhabi. It has developed a humanoid robot that walks, talks, sits on chairs, holds a cup and pours coke in it, and the like. The robot also recognizes faces, self-localizes, and plans its path to avoid obstacles. Check out the robot

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