Lee P Smith has posted some interesting details about exporting hair setups from hairfarm over into Softimage. At first glance, this sounds a completly crazy idea - but its to be rendered with Arnold....so its not such a crazy idea after all.
Having used Softimage for over 6 years in VFX production, I feel qualified to say that its a pile of shit when it comes to rendering and 'getting stuff out'. Remember - the client doesnt care how cool your ICE tree is - if it looks like shit coming out the render/you have difficulty rendering all your data....thats what the client cares about!
Arnold is STILL in beta and covered with NDA and I lost interest in it about a year ago when i found out miltiple UV sets were not yet supported. I heard Platige is coding a port to 3Dsmax - and Maya support is coming along too.
Arnold and perhaps 3Delight are the only options when it comes to getting decent and reliable renderdata out of Softimage - though it will always depend on your personal tastes and skill set on what renderer you wish to use.
The only advantage to getting the Hair data into Arnold would be that Arnold can handle it...and render it with GI. OK - thats technically interesting, but hair has been renderer via scattering and domelights for years now at a completly photorealistic quality - so it seems to be just another step in a pipeline for now. The results are cool so far though. Good stuff Lee.