PTC (www.ptc.com) is a leader in the (physical) product development industry. PTC provides CAD tools and a number of other manufacturing-related tools to help the entire lifecycle of product design and development.
In January of 2009, PTC shipped their first product with an integration on top of SharePoint, Windchill ProductPoint. Windchill ProductPoint provides a collaboration and team communication layer on top of PTC’s Windchill product line.
The benefits of social computing in product development, especially when the people involved in different lifecycle phases can come from different partner companies, and from around the world, are massive. The SharePoint application development platform provides an infrastructure that allows PTC to incorporate social computing into, and around, their existing application offerings.
PTC has identified a number of other process and applications of theirs that will also benefit from the addition of a social computing platform. PTC is working on and will be shipping, over the next year or two, an entire infrastructure of manufacturing applications that will leverage the SharePoint platform to tie people and processes and data together in ways that advance the process of product development.
PTC is calling this new approach “Social Product Development”.
You can read about it here (http://www.ptc.com/WCMS/files/90767/en/4466_SPD_FeatureArticle_Update.pdf)