Croser makes move from Bentley, looks to expand Pointools’ channel
LONDON—Joe Croser, formerly director of global marketing at Bentley Systems, maker of the MicroStation software suite, has made the jump to Pointools, a maker of software that specializes in manipulating point clouds, based here. Croser will serve as VP of products, with oversight of product management and sales strategy, and has been added to the company’s board of directors, joining founders Faraz Ravi and Tony Rogers.
“It’s a very different opportunity, personally,” Croser said, “moving from a huge company to a small company with big ideas. It’s really exciting to join a small company which is growing quickly in a market that’s just starting to take off, and to have an opportunity to grow that business and set up the product strategy for the future.”
High on Croser’s list of priorities is building out Pointools’ sales channel. Croser feels Autodesk and Rhino resellers, for example, have an opportunity before them in Pointools of which they may not be aware. Though AutoCAD 2011 can read in billions of points, only 1.5 million points can be displayed at a time. [How well a point cloud engine dynamically allocates which points are displayed as a user pans and zooms is at the heart of system performance. –ed] Croser says AutoCAD 2011 users can be driven to decimate the point cloud in order to create CAD geometry. The Pointools plug-in, however, enables AutoCAD users to work with very large clouds on screen without decimation, so they can “quickly capture the context of their designs, and use the point-cloud models almost like a virtual canvas for their 3D model creation,” Croser said.
“Everything is designed to sit in context somewhere,” he reasoned, “whether it’s a building or a piece of infrastructure, or a production line. We’ve done a lot of work with Ford, historically, and they’re realizing productivity gains by scanning existing production lines and modelling the pieces they need to introduce as new as part of the existing infrastructure.”
Thus, “with a very straight face,” said Croser, AutoCAD and Rhino resellers can “present their users with incremental functionality.” And, for AutoCAD especially, the Pointools plug-ins will help resellers continue to make the case that point-cloud-based modelling is a growing market.
Croser realizes, of course, that it will take work on Pointools’ part to get that reseller channel up to speed. “For them to be successful, we need to make it so they fully understand the value proposition, train them to be able to use it and demo it, and support them through marketing and lead generation. All of that is on my plate as my number one priority in my new role.”
What of potential competition issues with Autodesk, which has its own engine for working with point clouds? Croser doesn’t see it: “They don’t currently have tools for the processing side of things, the cleaning up of scan data post registration,” he reasoned. “We do. So, as we look to sell—and this is key for resellers—as we sell that plug in, which can be leveraged for better work flows, that really opens the doors to selling our Pointools Edit for point cloud clean-up, so that AutoCAD users can do more with that scan data.”