I have just come across an interesting document. Brigham Young University are applying for a grant to study the possibility of having a part or parts designed simultaneously by several designers at once.
Among the people who have given their support for the grant is Tony Trecapelli. Tony was one of my GM bosses when I worked on the joint Saturn Opel project.
It was the comment fom Siemens that I found interesting:
"Collaboration technologies exist today, but they typically involve passing a control token back and forth from one participant to another. There is only a single "cursor", so the process is still essentially serial. The team at BYU have observed that on-line games provide a much richer environment, allowing multiple participants to engage in simultaneous activities. Each user can control his own cursor and his own view of the "world". A similar environment would be useful in design collaboration."
"Current CAD systems are based on the idea of a single "event" stream. The same is true of most rich document-centric applications. Some fairly fundamental architectural and user-interface changes will likely be needed to accommodate multiple users driving multiple cursors. It would be interesting to know what changes are necessary."
"Clearly, multiple cursors without some management would be an unworkable state of anarchy. So, there are interesting questions about ways to sub-divide the work. There are issues with control, security, and management of the data and the process." (George Allen Technical Fellow & Chief Technologist Siemens PLM Software, 2/15/2009)
The idea of design being carried out 24/7 globally is now an old concept! This was based on a single designer working on a part in say the UK. After 8 hours he hands it onto his counterpart in Asia. An American designer then continues for another 8 hours, handing it back to the UK..
As you can imagine this means the design parameters must be well laid out, and each design centre needs to be able to accomodate the others ego different viewpoint etc.
Simultaneous design would mean that theoretically 10 designers would be using the same design part at the same time, whilst I assume being in different geographical locations.
Controlling this would be very difficult. Who wins the design contest? Who deletes what and when?
Controlling the different design iterations will be interesting to say the least!
Time to market is the mantra. Speed of execution is the key. Good luck to Brigham Young University.
I have embedded a Math model tutorial... A little fantasy never hurt anyone.