Product data and the notion of similarity

If you live the life of a young company (as we do), you may find yourself in an environment where you’re always trying to stay ahead of the “next big thing”. Right now, most people consider the next big thing to be in social, cloud, mobile, 3d printing. I’ve been reading an interesting article on the T.N.T blog, The Next Big Thing. The post talks about Amazon’s plans to help identify “similar groups of people” based on their consumption patterns on Amazon (specifically, base on their book readership knowledge base). I found the following passage fascinating:

“It is what we specifically find interesting and useful in those books that reveals deep similarities between people – the hi-lites, bookmarks and the notes will be the connectors. Our choices reveal who we are, and who we are like! Today, Amazon introduces you to similar books.  Tomorrow, they will introduce you to similar readers.”

The idea of “similar readers” made me think about “similarity” within manufacturing, product data, and what Inforbix is all about: connecting diverse sets of product data together.  But let me take it step-by-step.  If you are in the engineering world, you probably are very familiar with the topic of “interchangeability”. If you’re not familiar with this term, navigate to the following wikipedia article.  At the same time, the definition of interchangeable parts is very complex. There are multiple factors that can be used to define “interchangeability”, such as form, fit and function. The complex definition of “interchangeable” parts can lead to the topic of similarity or the ability to find similar elements of product data.

Inforbix develops products that understand the notion of similarity between different product data.  These similarities are represented in data snippets which include drawings, assemblies, models, excel spreadsheets, and pdf files. The idea of data similarity is based on a specific set of expandable rules (some of them we define and some of them can be expanded). Inforbix identifies and analyze these elements of data and organizes them into a data snippet with links to related or connected data.

Here are two examples of product data snippets created by Inforbix.  Note the links which connect to other related data such as references, tables, parts, drawing BOM, and related files such as AutoCAD and PDFs.

Conclusion. Inforbix develops mechanisms that automatically expose and establish connections between “similar elements” of product data. It helps user find and discover related information quickly. It also simplifies the process of work related to “interchangeable” elements by providing users the ability to navigate between disparate sources of related information.
How much product data is spread across your company?  Would Inforbix help you?  Find out by registering to use Inforbix on your data.

Best, Oleg