PLM, Smart Products and Internet of Things

PLM, Smart Products and Internet of Things

In my view, the power of the internet is going much beyond current horizons. Back in 2009 I published my first post – PLM and Internet of things. The idea I discussed, in a nutshell, was about how product lifecycle management can cross the borders between physical and virtual objects. That was my conclusion almost 3 years ago:

All physical objects surrounding us designed and manufacturing with a certain level of PLM system involvement. Different manufacturing companies have various levels of PLM deployment, but most of them have CAD to create digital models, they track data about what they were engineering and manufacturing. Since we take more and more environmental responsibilities, we need to track what we designed in real life. This is where I see “the internet of things” are finally connecting. I think RFID technologies is only beginning in the whole story of connected virtual and physical devices.

Now, let’s make fast forward in 2012. The internet is getting into our life in much broader ways. So-called post PC era with the huge amount of mobile devices set a new perspective of what role Internet can play in our life. Internet provides today a global net foundation for things to stay connected. I’d be calling them “smart objects”. Google self-driving car is maybe too sophisticated… However, what about products that will be able to control our different behaviors, informing us about various things and so forth.

A very interesting article was published by the end of the year in NYT – The Internet Gets Physical. It talks about how everything in our life gets connected. What is very impressive is that all “physical things” in our life are designer by engineers using CAD and PLM systems today. Product lifecycle can become a centerpiece of the connection between virtual and physical life. Here is my favorite quote from NYT article:

“We’re going to put the digital ‘smarts’ into everything,” said Edward D. Lazowska, a computer scientist at the University of Washington. These abundant smart devices, Dr. Lazowska added, will “interact intelligently with people and with the physical world.”The role of sensors — once costly and clunky, now inexpensive and tiny — was described this month in an essay in The New York Times by Larry Smarr, founding director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology; he said the ultimate goal was “the sensor-aware planetary computer.”

I’ve been watching a video introducing product called Twine (btw, the similarity with my domain is purely occasional). This product is a very interesting step into converting products in our life into “smart products”. Remember, few months ago, I posted about Toyota tweeting cars? Here is the thing – using Twine you are able to make many products in your house to tweet, but not only…

What is my conclusion? The ability to control object behaviors in real life becomes more important for manufacturing companies. To have an ability to collect this information and convert it into a meaningful output leading manufacturing companies towards specific product decisions can be a trend and interesting business opportunity. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

picture courtesy of NYT Internet Gets Social article


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