Let’s be honest, it’s been a pretty ho-hum year so far in the CAD software business. Sure, there have been new releases, but with mostly small incremental enhancements and improvements. There has also been some relatively minor industry consolidation, but nothing like in previous recent years. Those events pale, however, in comparison to the intended acquisition announced last week of relative innovative newcomer, cloud-based Onshape by industry stalwart PTC. This acquisition is something I strongly consider to be a major positive industry disruptor.
Pending regulatory approval and satisfaction of other conditions, the transaction is expected to be completed in November 2019.
A Meeting of the Minds: Jon Hirschtick, Onshape’s CEO (left) in deep discussion with PTC’s CEO, Jim Heppelmann (right). (Image courtesy of PTC)
Onshape will be integrated with PTC and will operate as a PTC business, with current management reporting to PTC CEO, Jim Heppelmann, including Onshape’s co-founder and CEO, Jon Hirschtick.
Most large PLM companies deal with three groups of people that are necessary for survival – employees, customers, and investors. Every company regards and treats the three groups differently, but most of the successful ones acknowledge the importance of all three – although some companies are better at it than others and some companies regard one or more of the groups as necessary evils.
Each of the groups gets the information it needs to make decisions from different sources, such as press releases, news feeds, whitepapers, eBooks, financial reports, and so on. Financial reports for tech companies are especially interesting not only because of what they say, but what they might imply. And, while some companies try to report “alternative facts,” financial figures don’t lie, and some things are obvious, but there are always numbers subject to speculative interpretation.
That brings me to PTC’s most recent financial report that was made public last week. There were some surprises, some good, some not so good, but in many ways reinforced and reflected the direction of the company, namely IoT. Admittedly, IoT was not the biggest source of revenue for PTC, but it’t clear that it is increasingly important to the health and wealth of the company.
About a month ago I spent a few days in Boston at PTC’s LiveWorx 2015 event. It was an eye opener for me and a brief look into the future of PTC with its growing emphasis and dependence on the Internet of Things (IoT).
Beyond the technologies and business strategies presented, what struck me was the relatively young crowd attending with relatively young PTC PR people pushing the IoT platform. Sold out with over 2,300 attendees (up from ~350 in 2014), the draw was similar or maybe more than this year’s PTC Live Global user event. Although Creo and Windchill were certainly present at LiveWorx, they took a back seat to IoT offerings, such as ThingWorx, Axeda, and others.
So what does IoT really mean? I don’t know either because it’s evolving so rapidly and all participating vendors define it so that it accommodates what they offer best. In other words, until standards are established, the definition continues to evolve. I will admit, however, that PTC currently has a leg up on virtually all of the competition for IoT in its traditional design, engineering, and manufacturing space.
A standard definition is in the works, however, and 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, so it’s not exactly brand new.
According to PTC, the Internet of Things has the potential to create trillions of dollars of new economic value in the coming decade. To capture this value, manufacturers will rely on new applications that enable the creation of smart, connected products, thus PTC’s interest and commitment, as shown in the brief video below.
PTC’s Vision for Smart, Connected Products (more…)
In early February I received some interesting information from PTC touting its plans for making some of its PLM offerings available to mobile users. At that time, PTC said:
“Mobility and mobile applications have a way of impinging on our daily lives – for better or worse – more so today than ever before. Whether it is keeping a global project moving during your time zone’s “off hours,” being able to access all the relevant data and product code while out in the field, or accessing product data on your mobile phone, there is just no denying the presence and impact of mobility.
In fact, according to IDC research, by 2014, 46% of employees will be mobile only. Which means that by 2014, vendors need to be able to supply reliable, scalable, affordable mobile applications that can support 46% demand and usage. Couple this with a workforce of young professionals who want, expect and need a modern, mobile infrastructure.
We just returned from the 2010 PTC/USER conference in Orlando, FL last week and came away with a lot of good information about the future of PTC and its products. This is a real time of transition for the company ranging from its executive management to the way it does business to its product/service offerings.
Unlike the past, the company is talking and acting in a confident manner, not arrogant.
In the next issue of MCADCafe.com Weekly that will be published June 21, We’ll discuss what we saw and heard during the PTC/USER conference.