Maps and product lifecycle aggregation layers

Maps and product lifecycle aggregation layers

Technological innovation is fascinating. CBInsight Tech Trend 14 trends that shaping tech in 2019 report is full of absolutely crazy examples. If you’re a technological geek like me, take a look – you will find a bunch of interesting things – from smart homes, automated last mile product deliveries, total personalizing of your environment and cars that can be fully reconfigured based on the passenger that gets in.

My favorite tech example is related to maps -Maps become a layer for all kinds of real-world data.

But there’s more potential for maps than just locating nearby happy hour spots — in the future, maps might offer a user bar recommendations based on past preferences, connect them with friends in the area, and even warn them from visiting locations that have high pollen counts. In 2019, maps will begin to become a layer on which we do everything from communicating to compile data.

Here are just 2 examples:

In October 2018, Google rolled out detailed electric vehicle charging station information, including the number of chargers and charging speeds available.

A project last year launched in collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund and Colorado State University involves adding sensors to Google’s Street View cars so they can track methane leaks as they pass through streets.

It is an interesting opportunity. Because the map can be used by PLM systems connecting virtual and physical space. A map is one of the best contextual filters allowing also to create relevance in information collection and visualization. Working in both aspects, the map can because a layer to communicate about product-related activities. It can help different organizations in manufacturing company from sales to support to provide specific information and help to make intelligent decisions. An entire value chain can be optimized using a map as a communication layer.

Do you think PLM technologies are ready for such a shift. Not really, in my view. Existing PLM technological platforms have deep relationships to a single version of truth inside of the company and have very little to connect outside. An average PLM use case is to extract information to Excel and connect supplier to the PLM database. There is nothing wrong with that, except these technologies cannot be expanded to work across multiple company borders.

What is my conclusion? It is a time for PLM technologies to expand their horizons and step beyond a traditional product lifecycle focusing on data control and change management. Even, this is basic of PLM, it is also a big limitation, which closes PLM technologies to engineering only. Outside of engineering, PLM can be connected to business functions and change the value proposition of product lifecycle business. Digital transformation is a popular word in a lexicon of PLM vendors these days. But digital transformation is impossible without getting outside of engineering and connect to a real physical world. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud-based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups, and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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