More than 10 years ago, I had a conversation with one of telecom manufacturing companies in Europe. I asked – how do you manage to put a right software version in a telecom equipment company was manufacturing. The answer was shocking – we don’t know. It happens “automagically”.
It is hopefully not a case today. We can see software everywhere these days. Modern products are not mechanical devices. In many cases, it is a huge computer. Think about Tesla Model S, which is according to Elon Musk is a computer on wheels. We can even see how software features become actually “features” that people are buying.
In addition to that, software become an important part of business for manufacturing companies. We can see many devices that actually “enabling” software subscriptions for manufacturers. Also, there are hardware devices that completely dependent on selling software services.
Software is also a source of potential danger. Because of high dependencies on software, wireless and mobile connectivity, software can introduce a potential danger and way to hack any device (including your car on the road). This is a source of concern for many manufacturers these days.
So, software is eating the manufacturing world. The question how does it impact product development and manufacturing processes and software?
Few of my earlier blogs on this topic to catch up – The importance of software BoM for hardware security and How to combine engineering and software BoMs.
One of the fundamental things in PLM today is the ability to manage multi-disciplinary data. It comes to mechanical parts, electrical and electronics and software. All together, it is a system with a specific behavior. To model it will become a next challenge for manufacturers and an opportunity for software developers.
In my view, the domains of PLM (product lifecycle management) and ALM (application lifecycle management) are gravitating towards common system modeling, which can allow engineers using the best tool for product development, but control system behavior and component lifecycle in a unified way.
Last, week, I had a chance to speak at webinar by Polarion software. You can watch webinar recording here – The Internet of Things (IoT) and Good Software. Polarion is an example of ALM tool providers. The question how ALM and PLM tools can be integrated is the most important one. Both PLM and ALM vendors are looking for the answer.
For the references, below my slides from the webinar.
What is my conclusion? The role of software in manufacturing is increasing everyday. Modern cars are “computers on wheels”. We have embedded computers everywhere these days. Product features are defined by software as well as our security can be at risk in a new “hardware enabled software”. The integration of PLM and ALM tools into a system that can model product behavior is an important problem manufacturing companies will have to solve sooner than later. This is a note to PLM / ALM architects and software developers. Just my thoughts…