It’s much talked about as ‘Made in China 2025’ in China; as ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ in North America and as ‘Industry 4.0’ in Europe. Lately, there’s been a natural gravitation to the realm of IoT not only in the western world, but also across the Indian landscape. Universally, IoT stimulates a heightened level of cognizance about a platform from which to monitor the reactions to the varying circumstances. Very analogous to the internet itself, IoT enables a myriad of applications, ranging from micro to macro, and from the trivial to critical. Today, from healthcare to smart homes to now smart cities, there are different sectors that are being touched by the IoT with the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ wave.
With an effort to crack IoT from a concept to reality phase, PTC recently concluded LiveWorx 2016 at Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The business event on IoT featured industry leaders, pioneering technology and real-world application, highlighting the potentials of the technology. Today, the blend of the physical and digital world is the new reality, which creates state-of-the-art opportunities for innovation. Keeping this in backdrop, the four-day event was an eye opener to the businesses gaining a competitive edge in the marketplace. Attendees included professional who design, manufacture and service today’s products, as well as those who develop the applications and experiences that will unleash the future potential.
Merging the two worlds
With a footfall of around 4000 people, LiveWorx 2016 hosted 200 breakout sessions and presentations from business leaders, sharing the challenges and successes on an extensive range of IoT topics in a series of content tracks for design, development, manufacturing, and service. It also witnessed the unveiling of the brand’s new logo with X’tropolis, an expo hall where attendees experienced hands-on demonstrations of IoT and Augmented Reality technologies.
Keynote presentations from the greatest of visionaries and industry stalwarts were delivered at the technology-driven conference that was moderated by David Pogue, Yahoo Tech Founder & Industry Writer. “We are becoming the citizens of new world” he said, while he summarised the consequence of IoT and discussed a roadmap for business leaders.
Underlining the amalgamation of the physical and digital eras, Jim Heppelmann, President & CEO, PTC, kicked off Day 1. In his keynote session, he averred that the DNA of the product—physical products, now communicates to the cloud environment. “The concept of digital product cloud changes manufacturing operations, design, service & sales, and business sectors, and IoT is a game changing innovation.”
Taking the discussion forward, Heppelmann was later joined by Terri Lewis, Director—Sales & Technology, Caterpillar, to present on IoT combined with Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality. He discussed the business benefits of AR and VR, and included Analytics as a critical component of the IoT platform. Speaking on the dynamics of Analytics, Erich Von Gemron, Vice President—R&D, Flowserve, explained how the company demonstrates Analytics to their customers.
IoT—the evolutionary journey
The next keynote session was addressed on the topic ‘The power of Platform’, jointly presented by Rob Gremley, Group President—Technology Platform Group, PTC; Jay Wright, President & General Manager—Vuforia Technology, PTC; Joe Biron, SVP—ThingWorx Technology, PTC and Mike Campbell, EVP—Vuforia Technology, PTC.
While Gremley discussed how solutions are developed by PTC, he explained that a platform enables developing and operating a solution or technology easily, by putting across the right tools for all applications. Sharing the augmented reality experiences was Wright, as he discussed the platform capabilities of Vuforia™ Studio Enterprise – a powerful new tool for authoring and publishing Augmented Reality experiences for the enterprise. The Enterprise was officially launched by Campbell at the event, wherein, he discussed its integration with ThingWorx and emphasised the newer capabilities to break the physical and digital world. Lastly, Biron emphasised that connecting things is the most fundamental aspect of IoT. While discussing its applications, he highlighted its connection with Kepware ThingWorx that leverages the right combination of best-of-breed components from ThingWorx and the 3rd party device clouds to suit their specific goals, environment and needs.
This was followed by another interesting keynote session on the journey of transformation, where Craig Hayman, Group President—IoT Solutions Group, PTC, explained the fundamentals of a business cycle. According to Hayman, digital engineering services are grabbing eyeballs today. “The relation between suppliers & customers are changing, and, therefore, we have to focus on how a company can become agile,” he said. Speaking further on agile engineering, Joe Justice, President of Scrum in Hardware, Scrum Inc, briefed the attendees on PTC AgileWorx. “Similar to engineering teams, PTC AgileWorx is designed around products, not projects. It links to ALM, PLM and CAD systems of record used every day,” he added. The keynote also witnessed discussions by Kevin Bollom, Vice President—Building Services, Trane, and Howard Heppelmann, Divisional GM—Manufacturing Solutions, PTC.
Moving ahead, Pogue also hosted an interactive session with Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from MythBusters, the Discovery Channel TV show, where the duo shared their unique perspectives in the areas of innovation and collaboration.
Future advancement of IoT
Digital agility is certainly gaining paramount importance with time, and Deloitte, a leading systems integrator, created Deloitte Digital, which they claim is a unique combination of strategy, creativity and technology. Focussing on this, began the first keynote session of Day 2 on ‘IoT: From sensing to doing’ by Robert Schmid, Chief IoT Technologist, Global Leader, Deloitte, where Schmid explained the IoT value proposition and touched upon tech trend 2016—greenfield vs brownfield. “Creating a digital consultancy is the need-of-the hour. Our digital reference architecture comprises of an ecosystem to create, communicate, aggregate, analyse and act,” he addressed. Furthermore, he explained the concept of vertical vs horizontal IoT applications with industry-specific statistics and concluded his session with a pep talk on the human side of IoT.
Next, Colin Angle, Chairman, CEO & Co-Founder, iRobot, presented on ‘Robots and the Internet of Things’, where he discussed how the applications of robots are becoming widespread in the household applications for creating smart and connected homes. “To meet the market trends, we follow the trial & error method and, thereby, earn the right measure to adopt the required feature,” he discussed.
No doubt digital technologies are fundamental to secure a robust and globally competitive industrial base in future. Speaking on transforming the global manufacturing industry was Eric Schaeffer, Senior Managing Director, Accenture. Schaeffer spoke on ‘The Rise of the Digital Enterprise’, and opined that the future evolution of IoT is likely to have four phases—Phase 1 and 2, with numerous options and Phase 3 and 4, with structural changes for long term.
Day 2 concluded with an interactive panel discussion on the disruptive impact of IoT, where panellists Heppelmann, Angle and Prof Michael Porter, Harvard Business School, discussed the key takeaways of IoT research, its areas of applications, research collaboration topics, required collaborations, accelerating impact of IoT, etc. However, the highlight of the event featured Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon Levit, speaking for his company, Hit record, an online collaborative production house that helps in producing films or music by letting the creators collaborate and add value in the process of production.
Tracks for fabricating future
In an attempt to connect every engineer, entrepreneur, maker and inventor, LiveWorx 2016, simultaneously hosted four tracks on Design, Develop, Manufacture and Service. While the Design track witnessed design leaders, from engineering to retail and product development to learn how to tap into connected devices and harness the data produced to reduce rework costs & improve development costs, collaboration, and time-to-market; the track on Develop focussed on application & solution development leaders exploring latest technologies, IoT coding approaches, real world applications and development management approaches. The Manufacture track concentrated on making production smoother by driving production efficiency, improving quality & performance and reducing risk. The track on Service hosted service leaders, learning to harness the power of IoT to reduce service time/costs and increase efficiency.
Vuforia™ Studio Enterprise
Though Augmented Reality is a fast-growing technology segment in the enterprise, its adoption is hindered by a lack of tools for content authors that can leverage existing 3D assets. Providing a solution for the same, LiveWorx 2016 also witnessed Vuforia Studio that addresses this challenge and enables development of new experiences for creating, operating and servicing connected products. Originally announced as Project ThingX, Vuforia Studio Enterprise is seamlessly integrated with PTC’s Creo® 3D CAD visualisation and illustration software and ThingWorx® Internet of Things (IoT) platform to quickly and easily add an Augmented Reality component to connected things – from manufacturing and factory equipment to solar panels and medical devices. According to Heppelmann, “Available as part of the Vuforia Studio Pilot Program, it ushers in the era of Augmented Reality for the enterprise by delivering a set of components that allows, practically anyone, to create an augmented experience, with no coding knowledge required.”
Overall, the strong customer stories highlighted at LiveWorx 2016, demonstrated stories and product enhancements to get customers and prospects to take that new look, buy, implement, and achieve the desired returns. Also, PTC’s rebranding emphasised the paradox of physical and digital, summarising their strategy to support customers developing smart and connected products. According to experts, the company’s strength in industrial equipment design is a good fit for the industrial internet requirements of that segment, and many others.
LiveWorx 2017 will be hosted on May 22—25, 2017, at Boston, Massachusetts, USA.