[PODCAST]: Producer Online

Geospatial Leadership

In this podcast, Hexagon Geospatial president Mladen Stojic talks about the Producer Online, a rapidly scalable, cloud-based NaaS solution that delivers GeoMedia and ERDAS IMAGINE securely to your desktop. 

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Welcome to HxGN Radio. This is your host Kathleen McNeil. Thank you for joining us for today’s podcast episode brought to you by Hexagon Geospatial. Hexagon Geospatial helps you make sense of the dynamically changing world. Hexagon Geospatial Solutions are able to fuse geographic sensor data with business information, transforming multisource content into dynamic and actionable information. Hexagon Geospatial Solutions enable customers to quickly sense, decide, and act as change occurs. In today’s podcast, we’re talking to Mladin Stojic who is President of the Hexagon Geospatial Division.

KM: Mladin, thank you for joining us today.

MS: Thank you. It’s great to be here.

KM: So, you’ve recently launched the Producer Online. Can you tell the audience what the producer online is?

MS: Absolutely. So, for those of our members listening right now they’re probably familiar with just the producer suite which is our desktop offering products, which of course include— IMAGINE and GeoMedia, and of course all of the associated add on modules and extensions. Since last year’s release we’ve been approached by many customers given the movement of the Cloud and sort of the movement to the Cloud a lot of people have asked, “You know what? I really like what you guys are doing here. But just the cost and the overhead of maintaining all these licenses, and the IT infrastructure needed to do that, every time you do a new release, every time you do a service pack, I’ve got to go up and install all these changes and sort of keep all that stuff fresh and maintained.” The question basically was, “Can I get the same level of functionality of the same products but online? Can those products be streamed and delivered online?” So, we started looking at the challenge and that opportunity because in our space a lot of the customers we deal with, not just our government, but whether they’re in oil and gas or whether they’re insurance based they have a lot of sensitive data, right? So, that data typically resides inside an organization. When you go to the Cloud typically, and I say typically, data has to go with you, right? The data goes with you to the Cloud, and that’s a problem. So, we could have put our software on the Cloud with no problem like a lot of companies have done using Citrix and virtualized machines and all that stuff, but we wanted to, and not just wanted to we had to do something different. So, we came up with a clever way to basically upload and cloudify our flagship products like IMAGINE and GeoMedia, put them on the Cloud but also came up with a clever way to say, “You know what? The software’s on the Cloud but your data remains local.” So, we deployed a technology which when you log on and access, or at least request a product the software gets paged from the Cloud which means it gets delivered from the Cloud, you connect to it on your desktop or your browser, whatever, and it gets delivered to your desktop and what happens there is the computing power of your machine is actually still being used to process the software and so forth while the data doesn’t really have to move. So, it’s a really clever way of solving a very complex problem which is basically delivering the software over the Cloud, and then still being able to dynamically connect to content with data that resides locally within the organization. So, we basically took IMAGINE and GeoMedia, like I said earlier and put them on the Cloud. We cloudified them and now someone can log in, pull those software packages down and continue using the same data sets they use, continue using the same scripts or customizations that they’ve had, those will still function and work. But it’s a lot easier now, every time there’s a change in the service pack or new version we’ll update that out on the Cloud and you just subscribe to it. So, the other thing that’s changed with this is the pricing model and the subscription model. Before and in the past, the software business was always based on these perpetual licenses so if you for example, come to me and I saw your product, you buy it once and you’re done. I mean you have a license, right? We of course have maintenance, and annual maintenance subscriptions and so forth, but that was it, right? But a lot of people when they work on projects consider perhaps the price is too much if they’re not heavy users. So, contractors who perhaps only use the product with several jobs a year. There was an obstacle for them to start using this product because of the cost. So, we came up once again not only with the technological solution but also a pricing and business solution for them to subscribe on a monthly basis when needed to access these products. So, it’s really a win-win for not only Hexagon Geospatial but really the community and the industry at large.

KM: Well, that sounds like a very innovative product. So, can you tell us a little bit about the challenges that the Producer Online helps address?

MS: Okay. So, some of the challenges are really focused on, once again if I look at a very large organization not just with— or at least assuming everyone within that organization resides and works out of one location, but they perhaps have— we have engineering firms and larger organizations that have multiple offices within a country and let’s say within the United States, or perhaps they do projects globally where they have to travel to a different part of the world to perhaps complete some work or a project. The problem producer online solves for them at least is the fact that with an online subscription they can start the morning in Atlanta, you know start the work in Atlanta, if they have to travel to Nashville, Tennessee by the end of the day and finish something there. Once they get to Nashville they log in and they can continue doing their work, right? So, it really solves the problem of being able to access anytime, anywhere the same product with one subscription, and I think that’s really cool. Once again, before we lived in a world where the software had to be installed locally, you couldn’t move it, and this just allows for a more mobility and portability of applications.

KM: Absolutely, with more people working from home and traveling it makes perfect sense.

MS: Absolutely.

KM: So, can you go into a little more detail about some of the benefits that customers will see as a result of using Producer Online?

MS: Okay. So, I think starting on the business side, I think the pricing benefit, right? So, it’s a monthly subscription to the software as opposed to a big upfront investment in the application or the product. I think that’s certainly a benefit. So, as you get paid in your projects they could fund your subscriptions to these products. Typically, customers the way their projects work based on percentage of completion consultants, engineers, organizations don’t get paid typically until all of the project— and sometimes they’ll get paid during various portions of projects. But what’s nice about this is it lowers the total cost of entry into using the products so as they get paid, they of course have their monthly subscription. So, that really helps get them on board and helps get them using the application and the product. I referenced earlier, the anytime, anywhere access rights and not just on a business side but you can go anywhere and wherever you are you log in assuming you have, of course, have an internet connection. You log in and you start using the product there. And then I think the last one once again, going back to the data, data is really sensitive especially in the Geospatial arena whether you are an oil and gas company scouting out new geographies for drilling, you don’t want your competitors to know where you’re going. So, there’s always that fear of putting things on the Cloud on the internet, they really hold on to that stuff really tightly. So, I think this approach allows them to continue to do that and doesn’t threaten them. So, we’ve reduced the fear factor associated with these organizations and training into the space which I think is pretty cool.

KM: Absolutely. So, I know you’ve kind of mentioned with the new cost program it maybe opens the doors to some new customers. So, who do you think the Producer Online is really for?

MS: Really, I think it’s for new customers and I also think it’s for those organizations who don’t use— they recognize the power of what our products do both from a GIS and mode sensing and also from a photogrammetry perspective, but they don’t use it every day. They use it on a project by project basis, and depending on the projects they’re working on they may have a need, right? And once again going back to the cost problem, in the past they’d have to buy an upfront license of all these products and that gets quite expensive because they get paid as they start finishing their work. So, it’s really for new customers, it’s for contractors, for engineers. Also, for large organizations who have employees and individuals who travel a lot and that work on these projects. So, I think it’s really suited towards that audience.

KM: Absolutely. Well, I think you’ve given a great summary is there anything else you want to add about the Producer Online?

MS: The only thing I want to add, like we will say at our conference this year, it’s launched this week, so it’s available. You can go to our website and check it out, look at the information associated with the product, and I really think it will help solve a lot of problems. So, please I would urge our listeners to have a go with it and hopefully it’ll fit the solution area that’s needed.

KM: Absolutely. Well, Mladin thank you so much for your time today. We appreciate it.

MS: Thank you.

And you can learn more about Hexagon Geospatial and Producer Online at hexagongeospatial.com. Tune into more episodes from HxGN Radio on ITunes or SoundCloud or at hxgnnews.com where you can also read more stories about Hexagon’s global network of brands. Thanks for listening.