Dassault Systemes: Reimagining 3D Design Environments

Bernard Charles, Vice Chairman and CEO Last year, while celebrating Milan Design Week, Dassault Systemes launched its global user conference under the theme: “Design in the Age of Experience.” Bernard Charles, Vice Chairman and CEO of Dassault Systemes, came right to the point, “Your customers don’t want a product; they want an experience.” The message was immediately accentuated by immersive videos that aimed to imbue the audience’s minds with multiple “what if” possibilities: like harvesting wind-energy from high in the sky, building self-sufficient skyscrapers and underwater cities, and packaging foods in edible containers. These concepts not only demonstrate engineering excellence but also represent a bigger picture.

Charles notes that modern-age digital designing has become intensely co-creative and participative, enabling ideas, talents, and intelligence to come from all the members across a multi-disciplinary ecosystem. The greatest challenge, however, lies in connecting all the individual concepts, concerns, and insights to craft relevant, meaningful, personalized experiences. This is where Dassault is able to imprint its significance in the digital designing world. Dassault’s experience-focused solutions portfolio enables companies to bring their different departments together in a holistic manner to drive innovation in products, new business models, and customer experience successes.

The Journey toward Sustainable Innovation

The 3DEXPERIENCE company provides businesses with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations, transform the way products are designed, produced, and supported, enabling businesses to craft delightful customer experiences. With its online architecture, the 3DEXPERIENCE environment helps businesses to test and evaluate the experience that the companies would be delivering to their customers. “In a nutshell, 3DEXPERIENCE powers the next-generation capabilities that drive today’s experience economy,” summarizes Charles.

Backtracking to the history of the company, Charles notes that the success journey of Dassault can be broadly segmented into three phases. The first phase started with the introduction of their CAD solutions, which was later fortified by the acquisition of SolidWorks in 1997. Both programs were then strengthened by PLM workflow software, starting with the acquisition of Smart Solutions in 1999.

Dassault is not just committed to pushing the boundaries of 3D design; it is also committed to helping designers create a sustainable future

Acquisitions became more rapid and steadfast with the turn of the new century, marking the beginning of its next phase of growth. They were vital in shaping Dassault’s later brands and packages. In fact, these acquisitions were categorized as the building blocks of Dassault’s product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions.

The company’s third and current phase is post-PLM. “We have been steadily broadening our focus from engineering-centric design and product lifecycle, to an enterprise or company-wide view,” comments Charles. Further with the advancements brought by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, Dassault has made it clear that the future of their company is all about offering integrated and specialized software solutions.

Supporting Innovation

Dassault is more than just its products; it actively fosters an appetite for innovation and supports entrepreneurs in the early stages of their product development. For companies that meet the eligibility criteria, Dassault’s SOLIDWORKS for Entrepreneurs program offers software, training, and co-marketing resources to help a startup from its ideation process all through its product lifecycle.

Additionally, Dassault also offers 3DEXPERIENCE Lab— an open innovation laboratory and startup accelerator program dedicated to nurturing and empowering disruptive projects and transforming society. With 3DEXPERIENCE Lab, Dassault helps startups that are developing physical products capable of improving cities and lifestyles. This one to two-year program gives startups access to Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE platform, technical skills, and mentoring to create digital experiences to optimize and validate their product and processes. This is the same content, technology, applications, and expertise that have transformed the design, engineering, and manufacturing of most of the products that societies rely on today. In addition, Dassault’s worldwide ecosystem helps accelerate a startup’s product launches and international presence.

‘Passion for Innovation’ is another unique initiative undertaken by Dassault. The program initially began when a disabled Dassault employee couldn’t drive a sports car because of his medical condition.
To combat this problem, the employee designed a new clutch system but had no means to test the efficacy of his new invention. Dassault granted him free access to their technologies to virtually test the design, and later supported the employee in building the clutch system. The success of this project eventually enabled the employee to fulfill his dream and drive a sports car. Apart from this, the ‘Passion for Innovation’ initiative has supported many other enthusiasts in the development of their projects, which includes the creation of a 3D replica of the Khufu pyramid and design of an immersive virtual journey into Paris at different points in history—from the Gallic period to the late 19th century.

On Sustainability

Dassault is not just committed to pushing the boundaries of 3D design; it is also committed to helping designers create a sustainable future. With the growing issue of carbon emissions and pollution, many designers are looking for ways to create more sustainable vehicles and aircraft. A recent innovation in aircraft was the Solar Impulse 2 airplane, which was designed using Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE products. The uniqueness of Solar Impulse 2 airplane was in its ability to complete an around-the-world trip—involving 17 stages—in less than 17 months. What was more interesting was the fact that it was the first circumnavigation of the Earth by a piloted fixed-wing aircraft that used only solar power.

"The 3DEXPERIENCE company provides businesses with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations, transform the way products are designed, produced, and supported"

That said, Dassault has also contributed to the development of renewable energy solutions. Their recent partnership with hydropower firm Hydrochina Chengdu aims to enhance hydropower engineering capabilities and minimize the impact on the environment. Alongside, Dassault also works with Vestas Wind Systems to create a virtual manufacturing referential to promote re-usability and collaboration when responding to local requirements.

What Lies Ahead

As a roadmap for the future, Dassault envisages continuing to broaden its reach to newer industries. For instance, the company has expressed its interest in helping the transportation industry in designing, producing, and maintaining driverless cars. Along with that, Dassault will also concentrate on enlarging its 3DEXPERIENCE adage where technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality will feature strongly. This transition from desktop screens to VR headsets could potentially change the entire learning curve of CAD. With more of such developments underway, Dassault Systemes is willful to carefully nurture its solution ecosystem that resonates innovation and maintains excellence in execution.

Dassault Systemes

Vélizy-Villacoublay, France

Bernard Charles, Vice Chairman and CEO

Provides businesses with virtual universes to transform the way products are designed, produced, and supported