I am attending COFES  (Congress on the Future of Engineering Software).
COFES is a gathering of vendors, users, developers, marketing and even venture capitalists in the desert of Arizona. There is an open exchange of ideas and thoughts among the participants that relate to where the various industries are headed and what the future may look like.
There have been involved with many vibrant conversations and presentations since arriving yesterday. Here are some highlights and thoughts that I have come away with so far.
1. Peter Marks of Design Insight  presented on how we can web enable many of the processes that we are not using today. Currently we have enabled mostly just the review process of design and need to move beyond that. He discussed how we have moved through several phases of the maturing of web technology, from using it for transactions like e-mail and FTP, to the current state of “it’s all about me” – like myspace and others, and are moving into the “community” phase where it is all about us and sharing efforts and collaborating on large scale endeavors.
2. Alan Cooper of Cooper Consulting  discussed what he called “the death march” projects. Those projects that seemed to be doomed to failure. He discussed how they got there and how they can be avoided or salvaged. He is the author of “The Inmates are Running the Asylum”. He discussed how some times it is not what we don’t know that hurts but what we do know. Sometimes we are trapped by the fact that we have mastered something and think of things from a preexisting focus.
3. Jerry Laiserin of the Laiserin Letter  provided some thought provoking topics. Such as “Is BIM too focused on building the model?” – in other words, does BIM encompass the whole data and information gathering that the design, build, occupy and maintain process of a building goes through. BIM does not just mean the software used to create the model. Jerry is always thought provoking…
4. Dave Jordani  took up where Jerry left off (or should I say ran out of time to discuss). He discussed FM and the BIM process. What new services are we missing out on? How does BIM interact with Building Life Cycle Management? and the more fundamental – “Does BIM have to be 3D?”
Wow – lot’s to think about and lot’s more to go… COFES 2006