PTC made a big informational splash yesterday by talking about enterprise augmented reality (AR) and Internet of Things (IoT). The special ThingEvent event gathered analysts and media in downtown Boston for few hours of presentation and interactive experience with technologies and product PTC is developing. The presentation part of the event was live streamed. Media and analysts had an opportunity to talk to PTC executives and customers presenting technology and product use cases. The following link will navigate your to the event website, which contains recording of presentations. Also, you can following twitter stream via #ThingEvent hashtag.
PTC new vision – “Take a fresh look at things”
PTC is going big with IoT vision and set of related products. What was before a company developing CAD and PLM software is transforming into a company focusing on Things. According to Jim Heppelmann, PTC CEO, new corporate vision – “Take a fresh look at things” will define the next trajectory of PTC technology, products and customers.
The amount of information about IoT and related connected technologies is skyrocketing these days. Few weeks ago, I asked a question in my article – What is wrong with PLM of Things? My concerns was about how IoT can become another walled garden of information built by IoT platforms similar to how PLM products were thinking about “single source of truth” for the last 10-15 years.
Windchill PLM is source of information about products to build “Things model”
I want to share what I learned about how PTC is planning to connect ThingWorx and Vuforia products to Windchill PLM. In a nutshell, you can think about ThingWorx model as a way to build an informational model about physical product and the way to connect application to physical object. In the picture below you can see equipment and ThingWorx application capturing information in a real time from the equipment.
Augmented Reality is a new way to interface with Things
At the same time AR application is allowing to technician to see this information using different devices (I tried iPad application, but you can use VR glass). These augmented reality (AR) applications are targeting service industry. The use case presented by PTC was about technician maintenance service and application providing step by step maintenance instruction via AR user interface.
Thing Browser is a new “Netscape” for Internet of Products
PTC introduced set of new products and technologies to support IoT and AR scenarios – ThingBuilder, ThingBrowser, TML (Thing Markup Language). PTC is comparing it with invention of Netscape browser many years ago that was driving wide adoption of the internet.
So, where is the Windchill PLM? Here is the thing. According to PTC, the information managed by Windchill is used to build ThingWorx models. So, basically you can think about PLM system as a source of information about physical object (product) and they way information can be extracted from this physical product for the purpose of maintenance and operation.
What is my conclusion? PTC has a big vision about IoT and how AR can transform service industry. The potential is huge and it can transform businesses operating in both industrial and consumer domain. According to the information I captured in twitter stream PTC is invested ~ $700 million over 2 years to leverage heritage in physical products for connectivity and AR. The scenarios and demonstration are fascinating and indicating a huge potential. The remaining two questions that I’m still looking answer for are (1) What is the level of openness of PTC products and technologies that will allow to use it with product data developed by other PLM vendors; (2) How fast service industry will be transforming into a new reality of tablet devices and AR glasses. Just my thoughts…