A room with many views: PLM Summit hosted virtual collaboration space

Steve Smith, a principal consultant with telecommunications provider BT Global Services North America, demonstrated his version of a "virtual collaboration room" at the World Trade Group's recent European PLM Summit in Toulouse, France.
By Malcolm Wheatley, senior contributing editor July 23, 2008

Michael Grieves is widely recognized as a product life-cycle management (PLM) guru. He has held senior executive positions at several Fortune 1000 companies, andideas—a lot of people in the industry paid attention.

But Steve Smith went a step further. Smith, a principal consultant with telecommunications provider BT Global Services North America , set out to make Grieves’ vision a reality.

When Smith

Given the green light by BT to build such a virtual room, Smith showed it to Grieves, then analysts, then customers.

“Several customers bought it right away,” says Smith. Their names aren’t yet public, although this is expected to change, he adds.

Smith also revealed his virtual collaboration room at the European PLM Summit, hosted in late June by the World Trade Group

Smith says of the companies he has spoken to about the room, they already have many of the pieces of the technology it comprises as part of their existing PLM,

The BT solution combines Microsoft SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, Windows Server, Active Directory, and Office Communications Server into a single platform integrated with a business’ own telephony infrastructure to

Says Smith,ally routed to instant messaging, where you can negotiate a voice connection. … All without leaving the virtual collaboration room’s desktop on your screen.”

Also powerful is the way that digital design data is made available throughout the virtual collaboration room, without requiring additional seat licenses for the native application in which it was created.

“People aren’t writing to the engineering data, but reading it—searching it, and making it connectable to other applications,” says Smith. “They’re telling us that they’re seeing information they’ve never seen before, and looking at it in new ways: taking this part number, and looking it up in that application, which they’ve never done before.”