When worlds connect: IBM sees potential for IM, virtual role playing in PLM processes

Web 2.0 technologies like instant messaging (IM) have radically changed the way many people interact with friends and family. Just ask the average teenager how many IMs or text messages they send and receive a month versus phone calls. Now there is a movement within manufacturing to determine whether IM and other Web 2.


Web 2.0 technologies like instant messaging (IM) have radically changed the way many people interact with friends and family. Just ask the average teenager how many IMs or text messages they send and receive a month versus phone calls.

Now there is a movement within manufacturing to determine whether IM and other Web 2.0 technologies can improve product life-cycle management (PLM) processes. “Manufacturers are looking for ways to make it even easier for employees, partners, and others to collaborate,” says Vijay Srinivasan, chief standards and solutions officer for PLM at IBM . “A growing number of companies, including IBM, are evaluating IM as a sort of real-time, high-frequency email.”

The appeal is that via IM, engineers in different locations and time zones can ask each other questions about the latest standards, and where relevant documents are located. Other engineers reply by sending a URL for those documents or standards.

“The main benefit is quicker time to problem resolution,” Srinivasan says. “It's about eliminating turnaround time, because, first of all, IMs are sent and received faster than email, and, second, people generally respond almost instantly to IMs while email may sit for hours.”

IBM also is evaluating the potential of an Internet-based social phenomenon known as Second Life. This virtual world enables users—called “residents”—to interact. Residents explore, meet others, participate in activities, and trade items and services.

“We see potential for Second Life, and are using and evaluating it for virtual meetings,” Srinivasan says. “It gives a different flavor to meeting people and attending meetings. It virtually eliminates travel yet promotes collaboration.”

Says Jeff Hojlo, a PLM analyst with Boston-based AMR Research , “I don't see much appeal for IM, and right now, there isn't a lot of interest in Second Life—but it does offer potential as a means for cross-functional global teams to collaborate.”

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me