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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has almost 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 design … More »

LiveWorx 2015: PTC Drives Home Its IoT Future – Part 1

May 7th, 2015 by Jeff Rowe

So, you think that the Internet of Things (IoT) is a fad? Based on my experience at PTC’s LiveWorx 2015 in Boston this week, IoT is a big part of the future, not only for PTC, but for all of us.

Still not convinced? Just the attendance figures alone from this year over last might help convince you – LiveWorx 2014 (~350 attendees); LiveWorx 2015 (>2,300 attendees). Numbers don’t lie and that shows the growing interest in IoT.

Because of the amount of material covered in just a couple of days, and the major implications surrounding IoT and PTC, I’ll be writing about some the major (and some minor) technology and business announcements, as well as how this all fits together and might shape PTC’s strategy going forward, including:

  • The benefits and advantages of IoT from PTC’s perspective
  • Problematic IoT concerns that persist, including security and safety
  • ThingWorx 6.0
  • PTC’s partnership with ServiceMax for connected field service management
  • PTC’s ThingWorx Converge as an IoT integration hub
  • The ColdLight acquisition for handling big data and predictive analytics
  • The ThingWorx Marketplace that has apps and related tools for IoT
  • How IoT fits in with Creo and Windchill

LiveWorx 2015 Highlight Reel

In mechanical design and engineering, while many of the hardware and software vendors have expressed interest in IoT, PTC has really embraced it and positioned it as a major part of its overall strategy going forward. PTC has literally puts its money where its mouth, as it has invested over $500 million through acquisitions in roughly the past 18 months.

Although a standard definition is in the works, IoT generally 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 has 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. Today, however, IoT has grown far beyond the capabilities of RFID.

WalMart was an early driver of IoT for increasing the efficiency of its supply chain. However, the company realized IoT at the time 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, however, didn’t stop other companies and IoT continues to charge ahead to where we are today.

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.

Sort of ironic at an event that is so concerned with security was the LiveWorx 2015 Hackathon. The competition, though represented the hacking participants in the context of those who try to understand and make innovative customizations or unique combinations of equipment, software, and communications. In other words, hacker, in the best and truest sense of the word. Teams competed for creating the best IoT project in 24 hours. Steve Wozniak judged the competition and presented awards to the top three teams. Interesting work created by talented teams.

LiveWorx 2015 Hackathon

Starting tomorrow, I’ll discuss the bulleted points above in detail, as well as some other observations I made at LiveWorx 2015.

Disclosure: PTC provided my airfare, hotel accommodations, and some meals and entertainment.

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One Response to “LiveWorx 2015: PTC Drives Home Its IoT Future – Part 1”

  1. […] of the event, entitled LiveWorx 2015: PTC Drives Home Its IoT Future – Part 1 and  PTC ThingWorx Converges On IoT were published shortly after the event last […]

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