We’re working with 3D technologies and 3D assets almost every day at Younite-AI. Not just from the executional level, but also with the underlying technologies to build out dynamic solutions that come to life in a variety of publishable endpoints.
Through this experience we have become accustomed to the flexibilities of 3D and, as a result, what it will supersede as the technology evolves. It also exposes us to the underlying complexities of 3D production that often make what sound like simple ideas far more difficult to execute on in reality.
As we navigate this evolving technology, we are finding more and more ways to build in efficiencies and flexibilities in our own production process. In doing so we are discovering and creating strong technical foundations that can have a big impact on business when implemented effectively.
PIM generally stands for “Product Information Management”. There are a number of other acronyms you will also hear when discussing 3D and 3D asset management, such as MDM and PDM. But thats a whole other article to explain the differences and nuances and how they work together.
In our world we also sometimes use PIM to refer to our “Product Information Master”. For us, this is a standardized structural concept that allows us to create true blueprints of products based on the metadata associated with them. In manufacturing and engineering, 3D models contain many many layers of information. Variants, textures, materials, physics… and the list goes on. In fact, 3D “models” in their implementable format can be thought of as a collection of many individual assets, all working together to create the outputs we see. Some of these individual attributes and assets can be switched on or off as required based on the desired rendition needed. In short, a single “model” may actually be 10, 15, or ultimately any number of different rendered outputs.
Content Creation & Management with PIM
With our PIM information being the lens into our 3D assets, we now have an adaptable blueprint that allows us to define what to show and when. This means we essentially have any visual rendition of literally any product, anywhere we need it and, thanks to real-time rendering technologies, delivered on demand. We can replace a massive library of static images for use on websites and marketing communications with dynamic renditions generated from the PIM information of a single global master. We can even replace video assets for products with increasingly photo-realistic results thanks to the rapid pace that 3D real-time technologies are evolving.
Easy Cost Savings with PIM
Creating these 3D outputs still takes manpower and expertise to craft experiences and outputs we want. However, when a formulaic 2D output can be automated, we lose the need for elaborate and expensive product photo shoots, as well as all the individuals associated with such a production. When a vehicle driving along winding roads through a scenic mountain landscape can be created with 3D animation, the cost comparison to a live video shoot is night and day. The cost savings for large scale manufacturers on the marketing assets alone can easily run into millions.
But there’s more…
We can also look at where PIM can result in even more savings for manufacturers by looking at other aspects of the production process that often trip up teams and result in spiraling costs.
At Younite-AI, we have found ourselves working with clients on outputs intended for a product that is still in development, and ones that we cannot be allowed to see visually until after the public product launch. I am honestly not sure how marketing teams would have navigated this issue before other than creating very specific teams with very high level access, all at a risk of information being leaked out. With PIM information, we can actually start the process of producing outputs for a pending launch of a product before the final design is complete. As long as the data structure is built to a standard from day-one, we commonly have enough to get production confidently started, knowing changes and evolutions will dynamically flow into our outputs. No more costly change orders or redoing production tasks because of last minute product changes. More chunks of cost cutting to be had.
One Source of Truth, Millions of Endpoints
What we are describing here IS the foundational aspects of creating digital twins for physical products. Because we can reference the budgets we know are spent on marketing products, we can see a very apparent and immediate cost savings. But digital twin technology extends far beyond marketing.
With digital twins we can build in efficiencies and improvements into the entire product lifecycle, from a product conception, through design and development, into manufacturing, and even into the ownership experience of customers. All of these areas offer us up as much cost savings as those in marketing for a business, and often even more.
Leveraging PIM we can also use exactly the same information to create similar experiences across a variety of outputs. Meaning we can create a Build and Price product configurator for the web, for a VR experience, or for a standalone execution ALL from the exact same model info regardless of whether the output is WebGL, Unreal engine, Unity or any other publishing technology. We simply need to have children versions of our master model, in the form of application ready assets, to feed into the relevant application based on the publishing needs. The creation of these application ready assets is also on that can be automated to further optimize production times and costs.
Benefits of PIM driven system
PIM is essentially the foundational building block, and DNA code of any product. a DNA that we can now build applications and tools on top of, while always binding them to a true data master source that is controlled and governed by the manufacturers.
1. Better visual quality assurance & control
With a well executed system, all end points will access a master that’s fully under the governance of the organization. So regardless of what application the assets are being used within, or whoever may be accessing them internally or externally, the end visual output will always be an organization approved rendition.
2. No repeat production of end-point applications
The tether to a master exists in perpetuity and is simply referenced by coded application that trigger the delivery of whatever state the assets are in at the point of asking. This means that when something changes at the physical product end that needs to be reflected in generated outputs, the assets are updated and the coded applications need no recoding. Yup, the end of production change orders.
3. Added flexibility and options
3D and 3D renditions are increasingly just a small piece of the puzzle. An important one that opens up new ways deliver experiences. But to unlock the true benefits of applications that leverage 3D we need to look at layering in other technologies such as AI and dynamic data integration. These technologies can be crafted to influence our PIM and allow us to facilitate truly dynamic and real-time renditions, all with the control a dynamic 3D delivery system allows.
4. Shift focus to solutions, not technology limitations
The recreation of assets to fit a desired delivery method is the root cause of major production costs resulting in many versions (often not accurate) of models existing across many communication channels. It also sucks up effort and resources to tackle a technical problem that then eats into and negatively influences the creative ideation. With a well implemented system the ability to creatively explore with a solution and experiential focus is opened up. Your challenge simply becomes defining what you want to happen, and where you want it consumed.
Of course, in an article we can only scratch the surface of what this can unlock for businesses. Every business has unique needs, so different benefits may be more or less relevant. Regardless, all trigger cost savings.
At Younite-AI we work with companies to find these benefits, set the foundation up for growth, and create the beneficial applications that realize a quick, and ongoing, ROI. If that sounds appealing (and why wouldn’t it?) drop us a line.
While working in the advertising industry he led teams focused on technical innovation and exploring how it can be leveraged for marketing campaigns and brand building platforms that resulted in forward-thinking projects showcased at events such as Googles Sandbox, and even being recognized in Time Magazine as an “Invention of the Year”.
At Younite-AI, his focus is on building a team that can tackle any challenge, look beyond their boundaries, and grow the collaborative relationships we desire with our clients.