LiveWorx 2019, a digital transformation event took place in Massachusetts from June 9-13. This event pulled nearly 10,000 attendees, featured 700 speakers, and delivered over 100 hands-on demonstrations. The exhibit floor and session offerings were diverse, but ultimately the event was designed to bring PTC leaders and technicians together with existing and potential partners around a common goal of harnessing the latest technology to transform how business is done. Here are our six key takeaways from LiveWorx 2019.
According to Robert Schmid of Deloitte (aka “Mr. IoT”), “digital transformation is not in the future. Customers are figuring it out today.”
The level of technology put on display at on the LiveWorx show floor last week made that clear. Nearly 100 transformative technologies were on display and available for hands-on demonstrations. LiveWorx is primarily a showcase of manufacturing technologies. However, there were many signs that this same disruptive technology is also making its way to the Aerospace & Defence, Consumer Products, Electronics & High Tech, and Healthcare industries.
For instance, Windchill’s PLM technology demonstrated capabilities to lessen the wait time and difficulties surrounding the use of CAD (Computer-aided Design) software that will lead to manufacturing entities being able to customize and alter their modeled designs for increased performance and efficiency. The Windchill PLM manages to integrate various technologies at the edge of innovation, technologies such as easing the use of IoT devices and enabling development and use with AR/VR (Augmented/Virtual Reality). Windchill will let designers of any industry consolidate product data to enable rapid access to information in a seamless user interface that helps its users reduce-time-to-market and cut the costs of development.
When companies combine Windchill’s capabilities with the ThingWorx platform, they can bring together the data gathered through Windchill and make it into a comprehensive view of the information with the use of role/task-based apps that have non-expert and non-technical users in mind. The fetched data, through an App Development Kit, will enable the user to combine PLM data from different sources to make a new collection of organized and sensible data. Furthermore, with the use of AR/VR technologies, extensive development and visualization of data are possible in an environment that incentivizes coordination and cooperation between different teams that take part in the development process.
Now more than ever, real-time data plays a pivotal role in the short- and long-term success of any organization. By collecting the right data and putting it in the hands of key decision-makers at the right time, enterprises can empower their teams to take strategic action when it’s needed most.
One common use of “real-time” is that of “real-time communication” (RTC), which has minimal latency and no transmission delays, with no data stored before the information is received. RTC is possible with widespread technologies like the internet, landlines and mobile phones, instant messaging, and video conferencing. Similarly, so-called real-time applications in the form of web technologies are integral to the user experience of many web-based services, including social media platforms, chat apps, and customer service transactions.
The “real” real-time is where true power lies. “Real” real-time means instantaneous insight and a proactive position. Of course, real-time insights don’t just happen: they are built through powerful technologies, platforms, and applications designed to transform disparate data inputs into formats that users can leverage right away. True real-time means having the ability to connect with a real-time bridge that forces multidirectional updates for any create, update, or delete operation. It also involves visualizing real-time data into actionable intelligence.
There are many software platforms on the market, each with a unique development environment. At the same time, developers are seeking flexibility and efficiency in their app development. Any time a developer switches platforms, they are often required to rebuild or alter existing apps to suit the new environment. Needless to say, this is a frustration for most IT departments.
Developers are seeking a set of tools that are agnostic to IoT and IT infrastructure. They are anxious to try services that provide the core functionality and components they need to build next-generation apps, giving them the flexibility to build custom front-end experiences and workflow.
The past few years in IT have been defined by a migration to the cloud, with enterprises of all kinds relying on software tools that store and process data in a remote, centralized cloud database and send it back to personal devices. The cloud migration has been primarily driven by the ease and cost-efficiency of these services relative to hosting all IT activity with on-site, physical infrastructure. Technologies like the Internet of Things, however, are causing many businesses to rethink that.
While centralized cloud computing does offer convenience, it also requires that devices communicate with physically distant servers, introducing the problem of latency. That’s where edge computing comes in. The ultimate goal of edge computing is to extend a business’ operations to the edge and remove the latency/downtime typically needed for data to process or transfer to headquarters and then back out to field operations. By moving compute and storage to the edge of the network — that is, within or right next to the devices that need it — the gaps between the creation, processing, and analysis of data is kept to an absolute minimum. Furthermore, according to Robert Schmid (aka “Mr. IoT”), edge computing will open the opportunity to do things we haven’t even thought of such as real-time video analytics.
The solution to modern IT is not, however, a choice between cloud and edge. Instead, it’s a combination of the two. According to Deloitte, “Most IoT solutions now require a mix of cloud and edge computing. Compared to cloud-only solutions, blended solutions that incorporate edge can alleviate latency, increase scalability, and enhance access to information so that better, faster decisions can be made, and enterprises can become more agile as a result.”
PTC’s AR oriented design, or better said, Jim Hepplemann’s vision on a future driven by mixed reality design stood out amongst the other technologies at the event. PTC, CEO Jim Hepplemann’s put AR on the mainstage with a demonstration of a Volvo truck engine. Jim showcased AR’s ability to distinguish the individual parts of the engine, identify which sections needed improvement, and deliver guided assembly instructions in the corner of the eye (while using the Microsoft Hololens AR glasses). And we are hopeful for Cathy Hackl from Magic Leap’s prediction that the use of glasses to marry the virtual world and the real world will enable us to “take our line of sight away from our phones, back into the campfire.”
The St. Louis Blues won the first Stanley Cup in their 52-year history with a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 7. Is it a coincidence that the St. Louis-based Coolfire team was also in Boston for LiveWorx 2019? We think not. Let’s go Blues!