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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »

PTC Live Global 2014: IoT and PTC Creo 3.0 Take Center Stage

June 19th, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

Along with over 2,000 other attendees, we just returned from the PTC Live Global 2014 conference and exhibition in Boston. It was a very good show at a very good venue — the Boston Convention Center.

The two biggest things we noted at the conference were PTC’s involvment and commitment to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the introduction of PTC Creo 3.0. We also noted a more upbeat crowd attending the show this year than in years past. The attendees we spoke with said the lighter attitude was due to PTC’s announcements, PTC’s corporate direction, and an economy that continues to slowly improve.

PTC Technology Update – PTC Live Global 2014 Keynote

PTC and IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. The term Internet of Things was proposed by Kevin Ashton in 1999, although the concept had been discussed since 1991.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) was seen as a prerequisite for the Internet of Things in the early days. If all objects and people in daily life were equipped with identifiers, they could be managed and inventoried by computers.

As a matter of fact, WalMart was an early driver of IoT for increasing the efficiency of its supply chain. However, the company realized IoT wasn’t really changing its supply chain to the degree it had hoped for, so they paid less and less attention to it. That disappointment didn’t stop other companies, though, and IoT continues to charge ahead.

Today, the term IoT is used to denote advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and covers a variety of protocols, domains, and applications.

Enter PTC that got into IoT in a big way when it acquired ThingWorx in December 2013 for its platform for building and running connected IoT applications.

This week at the conference, the ThingWorx v5.0 rapid application development platform was announced.

The new version of the ThingWorx Platform continues to enhance developer productivity and adds a unique federated server deployment option that allows for cloud, on-premise, hybrid, and on-device deployments. Organizations that use ThingWorx technology will be able to quickly build, deploy, and scale Internet of Things (IoT) applications to millions of devices across a globally distributed infrastructure.

The ThingWorx Platform v5.0 provide the following capabilities:

  • Flexible deployment options that permit scaling on a global scale. The ThingWorx server federation capability allows deployment in the cloud, on premise, hybrid or even on-device. This means companies can put applications and analytics right at the location where they are best suited for performance, reliability, autonomy, and security.
  • The ThingWorx AlwaysOn protocol that provides an efficient and secure communications protocol, including low latency bi-directional communications that can be tuned for minimized power consumption and bandwidth usage to significantly reduce operating costs and total cost of ownership. In keeping with the theme of deployment anywhere, ThingWorx also introduced various software development kits (SDKs) that enable developers to create edge devices in programming environments such as Java, .NET, C, iOS, and Android.
  • The ThingWorx Matrix Multitenancy Security Model that is a novel approach that enables simple, secure visibility and access control to devices and information that directly maps to complex business ecosystems. Customers, dealer networks, third party service organizations and internal users can be given the proper permissions to accomplish tasks while protecting sensitive data from users who should not have access.

The organizations also jointly announced that they have joined the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), an open membership group established to improve the integration between the physical and digital worlds in order to accelerate adoption of the Internet of Things.

PTC and ThingWorx join IBM, Cisco, GE, AT&T and other IoT members to develop a common blueprint that both machines and devices from all manufacturers can use to share and move data. The standards being created will help developers of hardware and software platforms to create products that are fully compatible with the Internet of Things.

PTC Creo 3.0

Creo 3.0 was introduced this week, and in a presentation given by Mike Campbell, Executive VP, CAD Segment, PTC, he stated that ~60% of Pro/ENGINEER users have upgraded to Creo, and he expects this to increase to 75% by this coming autumn. This must come as great news for PTC, since Creo uptake was rather slow when it was first introduced.

PTC Creo 3.0 Launch Presentation – PTC Live Global 2014

With PTC Creo 3.0, PTC introduce its new Unite technology that enhances the ability to use CAD files from a variety of systems directly in PTC Creo.

The Unite technology enables reusing existing CAD data as is, in its current format, with no need for translation/migration This means that there is no need to convert entire assemblies to modify individual parts, just convert parts as changes are required

“With PTC Creo 3.0, we continue to deliver on the PTC strategy. Our Unite technology addresses the data and process-related challenges of CAD consolidation. By enabling designers to convert data ‘as needed, when needed’, and only converting the data that requires modification, organizations can save a tremendous amount of effort and cost.” said Campbell.

Unite technology in PTC Creo 3.0 enables CAD data of varying formats to be used directly in the PTC Creo Parametric, Creo Direct, Creo Simulate, and Creo Options Modeler apps.

Campbell was careful to distinguish the difference between importing data, which duplicates it, and opening it natively. PTC Creo 3.0 can open SolidWorks, CATIA, and NX files directly without the need for additional software. Creo 3.0 can import SolidWorks, CATIA, NX, Solid Edge, and Autodesk Inventor files into PTC without the need for additional software.

Virtually eliminating the need to manage secondary formats, and significantly reducing the need to export data in neutral formats, data can be shared in a customer/supplier’s native format. The bottom line here was that Unite promotes data reuse and sharing. It also points to the fact that PTC is gunning for customers who use the supported open/import data formats.

Of course, there were a lot more enhancements to PTC Creo 3.0, and those will be covered as Creo 3.0 actually launches.

Next year, PTC Live Global 2015 will be held June 7-10, 2015 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN.

Editor’s Note: We conducted several video interviews that will be posted in the very near future on the website. We interviewed some PTC executives, as well as several PTC partners that were exhibiting at the show.

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