This IDC Manufacturing Insights blog highlights announcements and customer demonstrations shared at PTC's ThingEvent, held January 28, 2016, in Boston, Massachusetts.
It is rare for a technology analyst to attend an event that feels like a Hollywood premiere. But this is exactly the mood that PTC's recent ThingEvent imbued. Held January 28 in Boston at the Revere Hotel in a space modified to resemble a live TV studio, several hundred industry analysts and members of the press were on hand to hear how PTC is stitching together its vision for Internet of Things (IoT), digital twins, and the impact on the manufacturing industry. An additional 14,000+ attendees enjoyed the live streamed event. This is an excerpt of a perspective I wrote about the event, which will be published shortly.
PTC shared how over the past two years the company has invested more than $700 million to expand its technology platform to leverage its experience with physical products, namely, CAD, PLM, ALM, and SLM, with new technology for connectivity and cloud-based technologies. Among the acquisitions are Kepware and Axeda (connecting devices at edge of network), ColdLight (machine learning and predictive analytics), and ThingWorx (IoT development platform). Most recently, the acquisition of Vuforia, an augmented reality (AR) platform, has accelerated the convergence of the digital and physical worlds.
As PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann stated during the event, "Service is the first killer app for the Internet of Things, and AR is a killer capability for service." IDC Manufacturing Insights couldn't agree with this more, as we stated in IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Manufacturing Product and Service Innovation 2016 Predictions (IDC #259809, November 2015) — by 2017, 30% of the top 100 global manufacturers will arm field service workforces with augmented reality capabilities to bridge the gap between traditional products and connected services.
ServiceMax, a partner of PTC since 2015, shared its experience in applying AR to the service realm. The company's Connected Field Service offering has integrated PTC's ThingWorx to transform the service equation. ServiceMax announced its intentions to further extend its Connected Field Service using AR.
PTC has made great strides in the past 12 months in developing its strategy for smart connected products, and these recent announcements around the digital twin and AR will shore up the company's early-mover advantage in blending an IoT platform with PLM and SLM applications. As IDC Manufacturing Insights predicted in IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Manufacturing Product and Service Innovation 2016 Predictions (IDC #259809, November 2015) — by 2018, 75% of global manufacturers will use simulation to create a digital twin of their products. This will help streamline manufacturing processes and service delivery, leading to optimized product innovation and connected services. Perhaps one of the most compelling aspects of applying simulation so broadly like this to create a rich digital twin is that this potentially accelerates sustainable, customer-driven innovation and can improve sales by enabling lifelike renderings of products that customers can interact with. Stay tuned for further developments around digital twins and the transformation of aftermarket services.