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
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
We’re in Boston’s Back Bay this week for PTC’s LiveWorx 2015 conference on the Internet of Things (IoT).
This event is a new one for us and one that largely foretells the future direction of PTC.
If you’re here, let’s talk. This is all brand new to me, and I’m on an educational mission. I’d like to hear your opinions on what’s good, what’s bad, and what might potentially be scary, as well as game-changing in this new foray for PTC.
This year 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).
The Internet of Things: Dr. John Barrett at TEDxCIT
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.
The Internet of Things Explained
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. (more…)
It appears that PTC is wading deeper into Internet of Things (IoT) waters with the announcement that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Axeda Corp., a pioneer in the development of technologies that connect machines and sensors to the cloud. Paying approximately $170 million in cash, PTC’s primary motivations behind the acquisition are Axeda’s innovative technology, customer base, and partnerships that could directly complement the PTC ThingWorx business across the entire Internet of Things technology stack.
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment of a series of four evaluation articles of CAD/PDM systems for SMBs.
PTC Windchill PDM Essentials is intended to bring collaborative engineering to smaller companies for organizing and managing product content so that they can improve design reuse, broaden access to product information across roles, and ensure control over design versions and release processes.
PDM Essentials is basically a role-based, template-based, pre-configured bundle in an optimized Microsoft Windows environment.
PTC Windchill PDM Essentials is a scaled-down version of PDMLink, Windchill’s primary data management solution, allowing smaller firms to manage CAD data and product development-related Microsoft Office documents.
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
Last week at its annual user conference, PTC announced that some of its PTC Creo design and analysis applications will be available and supported later this month in a Virtual Desktop environment. Five Creo apps – PTC Creo Parametric (formerly Pro/ENGINEER), PTC Creo Direct (formerly CoCreate), PTC Creo Layout, PTC Creo Options Modeler, and PTC Creo Simulate, have been verified as Citrix Ready and ready for virtualized prime time.
Starting with PTC Creo 2.0 M060, these applications will be supported by PTC when running on virtualized desktops on an IBM server through a Citrix and NVIDIA-powered integration. It will also let users work on a wider variety of operating systems – including mobile – through the Citrix Receiver and NVIDIA GRID vGPU technologies.
PTC’s Virtualized Creo Environment
By supporting virtual desktops, PTC also lets users employ a device of their choice – a device powered by Windows, Mac OS X, or any of the major mobile platforms, such as iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile. This will add an additional element of flexibility and accessibility for PTC users by eliminating the need for every member of an extended development team to have a Windows-based device solely dedicated to design or analysis tasks.
I couldn’t locate any brand new video on the new virtualized Creo apps, but here’s an older one on Creo View Mobile to give an idea of what the new apps might look like.
“Some power users experience network bandwidth limitations when they work with their largest assemblies, simply because they need to move a lot of data from a PTC Windchill server to their local workspace. This inefficiency slows the design process for some of our customers’ most proficient users,” said Mike Campbell, Executive Vice President, CAD Segment, PTC. “But now imagine working on huge assemblies in PTC Creo with little to no network latency impacting your part load times because all of the data is right there – potentially on the same server rack as PTC Windchill – and is therefore almost immediately available. You actually have a better user experience than if you tried loading the data across the network to your local machine.”
In addition to the performance edge, running PTC Creo in a virtualized environment offers customers a level of IP protection that is not available with alternate deployment methods. Company data stays on its servers, allowing customers complete freedom to collaborate with external design partners in real time utilizing the same design data.
The Citrix Ready program helps customers identify third-party solutions that are recommended to enhance virtualization, networking and cloud computing solutions from Citrix. PTC Creo applications completed a verification process to ensure compatibility with Citrix XenDesktop with Citrix HDX 3D Pro and an NVIDIA GRID K2 board with two high performance NVIDIA Kepler GPUs.
PTC says it expects PTC Creo 2.0 M060 will be available in late June (June 21 to be exact). However, the timing of this or any product release, and any features or functionality, are subject to change at PTC’s discretion. Standard PTC floating license pricing applies to the new virtualized Creo apps.
Honestly, based on announcements and conversations a couple of years ago, I never would have imagined that PTC would be this cloud centric at this time and moving forward. As more becomes known, and as they become available, we’ll let you know how the new Creo virtualized apps contrast, compare, and perform with their desktop counterparts.
This announcement could help to finally provide the momentum and customer uptake that PTC has been hoping for until Creo 3.0 is released early next year.
Along with about 1,900 attendees, we just returned this week from the 2013 edition of the PTC Live Global conference and exhibition in Anaheim, CA. We saw and heard several interesting things from PTC employees, partners, and customers.
Let’s start off on Day 1. After a short introduction, PTC’s president and CEO, Jim Heppelmann took the stage with the song “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath blasting. What’s that about? The early focus of his address was the focus of not only PTC, but just about every other software vendor – mobility.
This dramatic change of tune comes just a couple of years after Heppelmann derided the notion of software as a service and cloud computing as nothing more than “vapor.” Today, mobility to PTC, according to Heppelmann, consists of products being delivered as a service, with the line blurred between product and service.
He then introduced the concept of reverse innovation to accommodate different unique requirements for different customers. Interesting concept, but I need to get more details on exactly what this means.
He went on to say that for products in general, value is shifting away from hardware to software, especially embedded software. Increasingly, products are defined, upgraded, and updated via software. Traditional hardware manufacturers are beginning to employ more software engineers than mechanical engineers. As handy as these software innovations might seem, do they offer too many choices and ultimately frustrate customers and drive up costs? The verdict on this remains to be seen, but I tend to say, “yes,” too many choices can be overwhelming, especially for products that are meant to be simple.
What he was getting at, though, is that increasing numbers of CPUs and software mean “smart” products connected to the Internet. In other words, an “Internet of things,” thanks largely to increasing connectivity.
With 10 Creo apps currently available, and although the next release of Creo (3.0) won’t be available until early next year (Q1?), a few hints were given about what it might look like. Think scalability and interoperability – more on that later, though. PTC says that today, one in four Pro/ENGINEER users has upgraded to Creo, but sees adoption rate at 50% uptake by the end of this year. That seems just a bit optimistic, but potentially doable.
I’ve just begun with the highest of highlights about the conference and the future as PTC sees it. Over the few weeks I’ll discuss some of the most significant announcements coming out of PTC’s user conference with regard to new products/technologies, corporate direction, and customers’ reactions. From what I witnessed this week, PTC’s future looks brighter than it has for quite some time.
For almost 100 years, Aston Martin has been an icon of automotive speed and sophistication, winning the most distinctive races in the world throughout the 1920s (French Grand Prix), 1930s (Biennial Cup at Le Mans), and 1940s, as well as the 1950s (Le Mans 24 Hours).
But, for more than 45 years, Aston Martin stayed away from the racetrack.
In 2005, however, the company resurrected its racing heritage when it returned to the world circuit as Aston Martin Racing (AMR). That first year out, AMR’s DBR9 gained a CT1 class victory. Two years later, Aston Martin triumphed at Le Mans. Based on the Aston Martin DB9 road car, the DBR9 retains the chassis, engine block, and cylinder heads of the road car’s V12 engine. The rest of the car was re-engineered for high performance competition use. The DBR9’s bodywork is a blend of optimum aerodynamic performance and the styling of the DB9 road car.
More recently, AMR has geared up with some extra digital technology in its pocket. For a car company like Aston Martin, where prestige and precision have been part of its heritage since 1913, going digital for design and engineering was a big step forward.
After an extensive benchmarking process, AMR chose PTC Creo and PTC Windchill in 2011 for 3D CAD design of its racing vehicles and for PLM in its racecar division.
With the Creo suite, Aston Martin can start with simple sketched designs, refine them in Creo Parametric, and make them work on the track. AMR performs CFD analysis in Creo early on, and designers can make designs more aerodynamic. Instead of waiting for expensive prototypes, problematic areas are now digitally tested and corrected early in the design process using Creo.
In a three-minute video, PTC interviews Rick Simpson, Design Engineer at Aston Martin Racing. He explains the specifics of how PTC’s Creo design toolset helps them reduce lead times from design and fix design issues before going into manufacturing.
Interesting stuff from a company with a large legacy, long period away, and resurrection on the racetrack.
I recently attended a web-based company update by way of a quarterly PTC Virtual Corporate Visit. Over 500 people registered for the event that featured Jim Heppelmann, PTC’s President and CEO, as well as a customer, Dave Winter, VP R&D Lifetime Products. This time, though, I’ll focus on what Mr. Heppelmann had to say.
He started off by saying that PTC has a product and service advantage, meaning that PTC vision is being the premier provider of technology solutions that are transforming how products are created and serviced. PTC focuses on product companies and the processes that determine what and how they will create products and where and how those products will be serviced.
What PTC is offering is not just better products and services, but rather, a better way of creating products and services.
To explain what differentiates PTC’s offerings from ERP, Heppelmann said that ERP optimizes operations through operational coordination, while PTC optimizes product strategy (what-if) with strategy coordination during all phases of the product lifecycle with different functions within a manufacturing organization:
-Hardware and software engineering
-Supply chain and manufacturing
-Sales and service