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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 »

ANSYS Gets On The IoT Train By Acquiring Delcross Technologies

September 3rd, 2015 by Jeff Rowe

ANSYS, a major provider of engineering simulation (CAE) software, announced that it has acquired substantially all the assets of Delcross Technologies, a developer of computational electromagnetic simulation and radio frequency system analysis software.

The acquisition is intended to let ANSYS users to understand how antennas interact within their operating environments and how this behavior affects the system’s overall ability to transmit and receive data without interference. As usual, and not surprisingly, terms of the deal, which closed earlier this week, were not disclosed.

So, what does this really signify? Simulating not just large-scale antenna systems, such as those found in giant aerospace projects (which will surely go on after the acquisition), but on a much, much smaller scale for Internet of Things (IoT) projects.

Although it’s almost a year old, below is a video presentation (click on the image) from Delcross Technologies for modeling installed performance of antennas on electrically large platforms, such as aircraft and automobiles.

Delcross Technologies

Delcross Technologies Simulating Antenna Performance

Driven by development for the Internet of Things, antennas are becoming increasingly pervasive across industries and products. Autonomous vehicles, smart metering, drones, bio-sensors and wearable electronics are just a few examples of products that now use one or more antennas and wireless systems to provide such services as voice, data communications, sensing and navigation. But these antennas and other electronic components can disrupt the operation of devices, a phenomenon known as electromagnetic interference, or EMI. Delcross’ solutions identify and help mitigate EMI issues.

“ANSYS will bring Delcross’ industry-leading technology to a broader market and further strengthen our leadership in antenna design, wireless system performance and EMI prediction,” said Jim Cashman, ANSYS president and CEO. “The combined ANSYS high-frequency solution will deliver an unequalled portfolio for wireless system design. When we pair this expanded electronics offering with our best-in-class structures and fluids solutions, our users can create more complete virtual prototypes of whole systems.”

“The combination of ANSYS and Delcross provides a powerful solution for next-generation wireless system design,” said Matt Miller, Delcross president. “The acquisition opens new system opportunities and better positions ANSYS to meet the simulation needs of these important applications. That’s why the Delcross team and I are pleased to join ANSYS.”

For those not familiar with the company, Delcross Technologies specializes in developing commercial computational electromagnetic (CEM) and RF system analysis software products. Its products include EMIT for RF Cosite Interference Prediction, Savant for Installed Antenna Performance Simulation, and Signa for complex radar signature analysis

The past couple of years we’ve attended several technical meetings and conferences in the design, engineering, and manufacturing realms and have heard one concept/phrase repeated much more than anything else – Internet of Things (IoT). That said, we consider IoT to be the most significant technology of the year for 2014.

Simply, IoT is a newer implementation and outgrowth of an older technology known as Machine-to-Machine (M2M).

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. The initial thought was, if all objects and people in daily life were equipped with identifiers, they could be managed and inventoried by computers.

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. Both of the technologies are expected to enable billions of new devices in the near future (I’ve seen forecasts of 20-100+ billion connected devices by 2018 or 2020).

In most M2M and IoT scenarios, the device being monitored and/or controlled contains an integrated sensor and wireless transceiver connected through a cellular, WiFi, or other wireless link to the Internet. Keep in mind that all devices are assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address for unique identification and role purposes. The Internet connection communicates with a remote server that contains the application software. The monitoring device then makes an Internet connection to the same server to complete the service request loop.

Data from the communication is then captured, displayed, stored, and control commands are issued as a result of it.

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 their overall strategy going forward.

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

Secure connectivity, and the ability to leverage machine data to create new business value, are critical components of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology stack and are in increasing demand as more companies pursue a smart, connected product strategy. In the IoT technology market, Axeda currently processes hundreds of millions of machine messages daily across multiple industry sectors.

This is all well and good with the huge interest in IoT and M2M; however, an increasing amount of attention will have to be paid to the safety and security of the data being communicated to and from devices. I consider this issue to be paramount and could be the limiting factor for growth, especially for sensitive or critical applications.

Although it is being addressed and efforts are advancing, another limiting factor for M2M/IoT development and adoption is the relative lack of formal standards that define wireless technologies, as well as access methods and protocols (how data is packaged and transmitted). Like the CAD world, standards are vital for interoperability of products from different manufacturers. Things like design guidelines and specifications to build and test to are essential. Let’s hope the interoperability issue is resolved more successfully for IoT than it has been for the perpetual problem of CAD interoperability (or lack thereof).

So, with all that’s transpired in the past couple of years with IoT, we considered it the technology of 2014. Continuing for the foreseeable future and beyond, look for greatly increased adoption of IoT as current and sideline players get ready to participate.

This looks like a good move by ANSYS and will help diversify its business by riding on one of the major waves of future technology – IoT.

Editor’s Note: IoT/M2M constitute such a burgeoning amount of technology, it deserves much more extensive coverage. To this end, in the future, we will delve into how of some of the major players are faring and where things are heading. We’ll include work being done by companies in design and manufacturing contexts that will include CAD and CAM vendors. IoT is a brave new world with potential that is only beginning to be realized.

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