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Early Takeaways from PTC Live Global 2015: Integrating the Voice of Products

Posted by Sumair Dutta on Jun 9, 2015 3:15:57 PM

This week we’re tracking the PTC Live Global event in Nashville. There are a lot of announcements made and discussions being held across all of PTC’s businesses, but our major focus resides with PTC’s updates on IoT and Service Lifecycle Management. Today’s post will focus mostly on strategic business announcements made in keynote sessions that impact service organizations.

There is plenty to talk about with PTC and IoT given the recent acquisitions and investments that the company has made over the previous 2-3 years. Some of the discussions and announcements made today (similar to those made at LiveWorx in May) revolved around:

  • Increased consideration of how IoT data impacts existing CAD, PLM, and SLM applications. While net new IoT-enabled applications are possible via the ThingWorx platform, PTC is finally addressing how IoT data will impact its traditional PLM and CAD businesses. At PTC Live, we saw demos tied to the development of an Enterprise Bill of Materials aimed at providing the entire organization with visibility into the as maintained product.
  • The concept of the Digital Twin. On the heels of the Enterprise BOM, PTC also discussed the concept of the digital twin, essentially a digital representation of a physical product as supported by the Enterprise BOM. Think of it as a VIN for each product delivered but with enhanced data available in a digital representation.
  • Integrating IoT data with other Enterprise Applications. For those not running the entire PTC stack, the ThingWorx Converge platform allows for integration of machine data into non-PTC enterprise applications. While you don't get capabilities such as the Digital Twin, you are able to take advantage of data transmitted via instruments in the field.
  • Integration and Co-innovation with ServiceMax. The PTC-ServiceMax partnership was announced a month ago. Nothing new was announced today, but worth noting was the fact that PTC and ServiceMax will be co-developing IoT-enabled apps to enhance field service. These organizations have a unique opportunity to deliver a slew of IoT apps for a receptive field service audience. Success will be determined by functionality, ease of use, and ease of scale.
  • Augmented Reality for field service and support. One of the field service demos shown today featured the delivery of augmented information and augmented procedures in a field service environment. These augmented capabilities are enabled via the digital twin and Enterprise BOM updates highlighted earlier. While Augmented Reality (AR) can have a significant impact on improving field service resolution (and there is interest in the use of AR for field service), I believe that it will still be sometime before the use of AR becomes ubiquitous in field service work. Nonetheless, PTC is showcasing whats possible and that's often necessary to get organizations thinking. Prior to that, there will need to be a greater acceptance of video-based support to enhance field service delivery.
  • ColdLight Predictive Analytics for service and more. PTC acquired predictive analytics provider Coldlight in May 2015. While Coldlight’s Neuron solution is still being integrated into ThingWorx, PTC envisions a future where the ColdLight solution analyzes IoT-enabled data and enables an organization to:
    • Predict product maintenance needs prior to failure
    • Understand buyer behavior
    • Allocate service resources tied to future demand
    • Detect patterns leading to production yield issues
    • Optimize the supply chain

The announcements represent PTC’s continued focus on becoming the IoT platform for the manufacturing enterprise. We are also seeing more information from PTC on how IoT data will be integrated into existing PLM and SLM applications. This link back into existing applications is key to moving IoT from a ‘nice to have’ concept to one that disrupts and drives businesses. What waits to be seen is how IoT-enabled enterprise wide applications will be accepted by businesses that are typically extremely silo-ed. In addition, what role will PTC play in helping manufacturers convey the IoT value proposition to customers? Customer acceptance to connectivity will also be key in the success of PTC’s IoT push.

On a final note, the opening keynote sessions also featured a talk by Malcolm Gladwell, who is as good a storyteller on stage as he is in his books. Gladwell outlined the three attitudes/attributes necessary for an individual to take advantage of transformation.

  • The individual must be disagreeable with the norm and willing to tackle something unpopular
  • He/she must have an active imagination and be able to reframe challenges in the wider business context
  • He/she must be filled with a sense of urgency

If you’re at PTC Live Global 2015, drop me a note at or join my session in the service track on Wednesday, June 10.

Topics: Internet of Things, Service Management, ColdLight, News, Field Service, PTC, ServiceMax, Perspective, ThingWorx, LiveWorx, IoT

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