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CIOApplications.comMar 11, 20206 min read

Vertex Software: Pioneering Visualization, 3D Collaboration in Manufacturing Industry


The description of Vertex Software begins with a single question: Are you prepared for digital transformation? One of the perks of digitalization is the availability of an enormous amount of data. But then, how much of the data can industrial systems leverage? Since most industrial systems do not support the latest technologies, managing data is a major hurdle that most industries face. Vertex Software brings a holistic approach to address the data crunch with their cloud-based digital twin platform for 3D visualization and collaboration.

In an interview with CIO Applications, Dan Murray, CEO of Vertex Software, highlights how Vertex Software is the solution for these problems in the manufacturing sector for Industry 4.0. Murray is an industry expert and a serial technology entrepreneur with extensive experience in manufacturing who has built two companies from scratch to a 100 million dollar powerhouse.

Can you provide a brief introduction to Vertex Software?

As companies invest more in digital transformation, the conversion of data from engineering to be accessible downstream or to different departments is a laborious process. Without democratization of data, companies fail at digital twin initiatives, which choke R&D and stalls sales and service. Vertex is bringing a visual revolution to the emerging digital twin marketplace. We cut our customers’ time spent on data transformation and management down to just 2 percent of the time at a mere fraction of the cost, accelerating digital twin initiatives. We offer both pre-built, out-of-the-box solutions that unlocks product data for design collaboration across engineering, internal departments, and complex supply chains. Partners and customers use our platform to build purpose-built solutions all along the digital thread.

What are the current challenges in the manufacturing industry and trends that are influencing the market?

25 years ago, I was a pioneer in creating manufacturing visualization software that is still considered state-of-the-art today. But those tools can’t keep up with the speed of today’s manufacturing business. Businesses demand instant access to the information they need, wherever they are, and from any device. Traditional workstations requiring maxed-out GPU and RAM horsepower just don’t cut it anymore. That’s why cloud-powered streaming services are dominating both business and consumer marketplaces. Now, I’m finishing what I started 25 years ago. We’re driving profitability with a visual collaboration platform for the digital twin. We provide increased efficiency all along the digital thread by delivering a shared visual context from engineering to manufacturing to sales and services. The platform offers a better experience to cope with the challenges the industry is facing. It delivers on a decades-long promise from manufacturing software vendors to democratize product data for the extended manufacturing enterprise. We offer a highly scalable, responsive, cloud-based patent-pending solution that does the heavy lifting for manufacturers by eliminating expensive data transformation costs and makes the long-held vision of the digital twin possible.

An excerpt on your website reads: “Our visual product stories unite the most important characters in your extended enterprise— from internal teams to external suppliers, partners, and customers.” Could you elaborate on this statement?

Across a product’s lifecycle, teams are more effective and efficient when they closely collaborate with a synoptic, interactive 3D product view that includes task-specific product metadata.

Much of this information originates from engineering. However, it can’t be easily shared. We took this concept and built what we call story functionality, the essence of our out-of-the-box solution. Through the power of a cloud-based Vertex Story, every team shares a synoptic view of product design and configuration intent, and it solves cross-functional problems more effectively than ever before.

Vertex is the the only solution in the market that can enable massive model collaboration, scale to unlimited concurrent users, eliminating the need for manufacturers to manage extensive data transformation processes and expensive hardware requirements

Vertex complements CAD and PLM systems and facilitates workflow activities throughout a product’s lifecycle in a secure, easy, and compliant manner. We aren’t replacing your current investments but instead ensuring you get the promised ROI out of them. We partnered with TechSoft3D for HOOPS Exchange to stay compatible with both native and neutral file formats. Once a design is uploaded into the Vertex platform, customers use intuitive functionality to drill down to a specific view, such as metadata search, BOM filter, and spatial queries.

How does your platform solve the current industry challenges?

Our platform is a “system of engagement” that provides visual collaboration for the digital twin. This means it provides horizontal collaboration capabilities across multiple “systems of record” such as PLM, ERP, MES, and CRM systems. This gives all teams an ability to access the information they need in a real-time, easily consumable, visual format. We make it easy to connect teams and documentation in a single visual context from ideation through end-of-life, ultimately empowering companies to deliver high-quality products faster and provide an elevated customer experience.

Today’s solutions require maxed-out RAM, substantial CPU horsepower, and expensive hardware and software sets, all of which are burdens placed on a manufacturer. Instead, our platform does the heavy lifting of visualization in the cloud and gives our customers the ability to access their information from anywhere on any device regardless of computing power. The platform leverages the computational horsepower of the cloud and delivers rich, graphics-intensive images of manufacturing product data through a web browser to any device around the globe.

Vertex keeps an organization’s intellectual property secure by delivering only interactive images to the display device instead of heavy, IP-sensitive CAD or derivative 3D data. We encrypt and store uploaded customer data among distributed cloud-based servers. Our patent-pending data sharing method protects our customers’ sensitive data at rest. No one has been able to scale both model size and simultaneous users the way that we have. With Vertex, our customers instantly visualize 3D models larger than what they can even access on today’s most powerful and expensive workstations. This is due to our cloud-based distributed visualization system, meaning we have achieved something that was never thought possible.

What, according to you, are the company’s key differentiating factors?

We built Vertex to be a complement to CAD tools and PLM suites and help customers get the most out of their current investments, not to be a competitor. We fill the gap between cross-functional collaboration that many CAD and PLM tools struggle to fill. Many other PLM complements claim to provide the cloud-based functionality that we do. However, many of these require delivery of heavy, IP-sensitive data to the end device, necessitating high spending on CPU and GPU-laden computers. In most cases, these solutions cannot scale to meet the model sizes and simultaneous users needed for a seamless, responsive, and collaborative digital twin experience. Vertex is the only solution in the market that can enable massive model collaboration, scale to unlimited concurrent users, eliminating the need for manufacturers to manage extensive data transformation processes and expensive hardware requirements. And we do it all with no lag, no latency, no change in performance, and no security worries.

Could you share some of your success stories?

We are proud to have created a “zero-transformation” 3D collaboration experience. We recently worked with a company that was facing a big challenge in sharing CAD data for one of their products with suppliers. Their process of data transforming was highly expensive and consumed a lot of time to reach the end-user. We cut the data transformation and file distribution time nearly up to 98 percent. Additionally, we untethered our customers by enabling them to view and interact with massive 3D model data on mobile phones and tablets through our zero clients’ end-user application.

Would you tell us about the company’s future roadmap you’ve envisioned for the next couple of years?

Currently, we have strong interest from international customers, which will naturally pull us into geographic sales and support expansion. We are also working with global partners, including Amazon Web Services (AWS). We are expecting to see announcements with multiple global systems integrators this year, in addition to big announcements around our platform offerings.