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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 »

Hexagon Announces “The Platform Of Platforms” At HxGN Live: Xalt

June 14th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

Las Vegas is not one of my favorite places, especially in June, but I’m really glad I was there this week to attend HxGN Live 2018 to learn the latest and greatest from Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (HMI) grew out of what used to be known as Hexagon Metrology. Metrology (the science of measurement) is still a big part of Hexagon with its hardware and software offerings, but has grown far beyond that with acquisitions that include Vero Software (CAD/CAM) and MSC Software (simulation/analysis). Hexagon now covers the entire product development process from design to production to inspection.

During the course of HxGN Live, updates were provided on many of HMI’s products, but the most significant announcement was about an initiative for interconnecting Hexagon’s and other products – Xalt – a new framework for accelerating digital transformation by better leveraging and exploiting IoT data.

The goal of Xalt (pronounced “ex-alt”) is to create Autonomous Connected Ecosystems (ACE), a state or condition where data is connected seamlessly through the convergence of the physical world with the digital, and intelligence is built-in to all processes – literally from the core to the edge of a customer’s network.

The Big Leap: Ola Rollen Keynote Presentation at HxGN Live 2018

Xalt’s framework leverages disruptive technologies that address the critical IoT points of leverage: ubiquitous enterprise integration; cloud orchestration; data visualization; built-in mobility; intelligent edge connectivity; and artificial intelligence (AI). As the cornerstone of Hexagon’s ACE strategy, it delivers industry-specific solutions that integrate sensors, data, and software to create “smart” digital realities.

“Perhaps the single greatest need in business today is autonomous insight. This means much more than operational line of sight – it means being able to leverage vast amounts of data behind the scenes, where connected devices and machines interpret what’s happening and why, and then act accordingly autonomously,” said Ola Rollén, Hexagon President and CEO. “Customers need to operate based on the whole picture, not just the big picture – something not humanly possible without the aid of AI and visualization technologies.”

“The promise of the IoT era has always been the vast amounts of useful data it generates. The challenge has always been our ability to put it to use.” Rollén added. “With Xalt-powered solutions, customers will be able to transform more data into actionable information as well as introduce active knowledge into their business ecosystems through autonomous processes and communications between machines. Our vision is to ultimately underpin all of Hexagon’s solutions with Xalt, so essentially, it will come standard.”

By converging the digital and physical worlds of Information Technology (IT) with Operational Technology (OT), Xalt is intended to significantly accelerate a customer’s ability to extract the full potential and value of IoT data. The scalable Xalt platform will equip companies to quickly adapt to technology shifts and innovation, new business models, and changing market demands.

The flow of data has been heralded as one of the greatest achievements in human history, promising efficiencies and productivity at levels. However, in the short term it’s had somewhat of the opposite effect – the gap between data generation and data usage is growing exponentially wider every day.

According to Rollen, “We need an accelerator to close this gap and put data to work for us. This has been the driving force of our research and innovation efforts for the past few years – the cumulative result of which is an enormous leap forward we call Xalt. It’s a framework for accelerating our customer’s ability to harness all data simply, even autonomously.”

The goal of Xalt is to create so-called Autonomous Connected Ecosystems (ACE), where data is connected seamlessly through the convergence of the physical world with the digital, and where intelligence is built-in to all processes.

This not only transforms more data into actionable information for users, but also brings active knowledge to the entire ecosystem through autonomous processes and communications between machines.

Rollen added, “There are many so-called ‘IoT platforms’ out in the market today. They remind me of the geothermal plant on the flanks of Kilauea, trying to contain the power of the planet’s molten core.  Unlike these platforms, Xalt works differently, moving with the data, harnessing it and directing it in a way that taps the most critical IoT points of leverage: enterprise integration, cloud orchestration, data visualisation, built-in mobility, intelligent edge connectivity with AI everywhere.”

“And, most importantly, we’re leveraging Xalt’s framework to build the foundation underneath all of our solutions, so it becomes standard.”

Rollen summed things up by saying, “The promise of the IoT has always been data, but the challenge has always been our ability to put it to use. Now, with Xalt, our customers can put it to work to do the greatest good – a disruption far more powerful than the eruption of new data we will continue to encounter every day.”

Xalt has great potential for becoming a big deal for Hexagon because it is analogous to a “smart” cable that connects Hexagon and other products as a truly comprehensive IoT system. It also helps Hexagon become a major data supplier and information hub for virtually all aspects of manufacturing. Hexagon may be rolling the dice with Xalt, but the odds are in its favor for coming up a winner.

Editor’s Note: So much was introduced during HxGN Live 2018 that we will be discussing details over the next few weeks. As important as human-to-machine communication is, Hexagon is at the forefront of recognizing the vital importance of machine-to-machine communication.

Disclosure: Hexagon provided conference registration and some meals.

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