What did I write last week about the opportunity in PLM for small companies to innovate — and ultimately be gobbled up by a giant? Dassault Systemes announced yesterday that it was buying Engineous Software, a “market leader in process automation, integration and optimization”, according to DS’s press release about the deal. Engineous has long marketed two distinct products, FIPER and iSIGHT. FIPER is highlighted in DS’s press release about the acquisition; it’s the result of a consortium-funded effort to develop a unifying platform for sharing, integrating, automating and collaborating on CAE. Clearly, DS wants to use it as part of its efforts in the whole simulation data management space. How FIPER will tie into ENOVIA, MatrixOne and ABAQUS remains to be seen.

I’ve always found iSIGHT to be the more fascinating product. iSIGHT lets analysts explore a design to find optimum solutions, balancing trade-offs between weight, strength, range of motion and other variables. When Dr. Siu Tong, iSIGHT’s developer and the founder of Engineous, first showed it to me perhaps 7 years ago, it was extremely difficult to use with a truly awful user interface that only a PhD could love. The company has expended significant resources since to fix this and the latest release, iSIGHT-FD, boasts a drag and drop interface, among other features. iSIGHT’s beauty: the user defines steps in the analysis of a particular object, then automates and executes those steps through exploration tools like optimization, design of experiments (DOE), and design for six Sigma (DFSS) techniques. In essence, you start with the design for a car door, with material properties, thicknesses, connections, etc. then let iSIGHT manage the different analyses. Come back the next morning and explore an optimal design based on your input parameters. Even better: the design changes and you can execute the exact same process again and again and again.

Repeatable. Verifiable. Traceable. Cool stuff.