The Internet of Experiences / Author: Dick Slansky
At the recent Dassault Systemes (DS) ENOVIA day, which ARC attended, one of the most interesting presentations, along with all the product updates and industry segment briefings, was the DS IoT strategy. I have been saying all along that much of the actual IoT strategies, business solutions, IoT platforms, product design solutions, and manufacturing process solutions for IIoT have been coming from the PLM suppliers. It appears that DS is very serious about IoT and has been very busy developing not only IoT strategies and platforms, but is now focusing on the top of IoT stack: business applications.
If one was able to attend the recent Computer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, certain categories of emerging technologies were very clearly in the forefront: Smart cars were becoming tablets and systems on four wheels; virtual reality and augmented reality were becoming entrenched in our consumer lives as well as in our factories and plants; IoT was going mainstream in smart homes; next generation drones and robots have matured enough to interact with humans activity; wearables and wellness becomes an ubiquitous part of our daily lives; and startups for IoT are sprouting up like mushrooms after a rainstorm. The common denominator here is that this is all about smart connected “things” in our businesses, factories, plants, cities, society, and our personal lives.
DS likes to characterize their vision for IoT as the “Internet of Experiences”, and if one considers all of the parts of our world that this touches, there indeed appears that a case can be made for the Internet of Experiences. They appear to have a more expansive view of IoT: My_Things – connecting things to things; My_Experience – connecting humans to things; My_World – connecting the environment to things. DS views the Internet of Experiences as a continuous value creation for businesses and individuals who develop, implement, and enrich “IoE” ready connected experiences. This would involve the use of their 3DExperience platform and IoE ready industry and business solutions developed on this platform.
From this perspective DS wants to bridge the virtual and physical with both a product design and experience platform that would involve a multi-scale, IoT aware, system modeling and simulation-based connected experiences. The physical would start at the chip/processor level and progress upward to smart sensors and controllers, equipment, production lines, factories and plants, to entire cities.
DS presented their view of the IoT/IIoT stack:
- Starting at the bottom are the connected things and systems of things which involve all of the connected objects like smart sensors, actuators, embedded hardware, cameras, etc. Also, this layer represents the actual design of the smart connected product/object.
- The next higher level is the M2M communication layer for terminal and gateway connections like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, RFID, and other forms of coded readers.
- Next is the network layer of LANS, Internet, broadcast TV, mobile communication networks.
- Next comes the IoT/IIoT data/platform layer. This represents the IoT platforms that enable business and manufacturing to design and architecture IoT ecosystems. IoT data/information is connected, computed, stored, analyzed, and managed. This would involve players like PTC, IBM Bluemix, MS Azure, Cisco, Xively, GE Predix, Bosch, and Oracle.
- On top of this stack is where DS wants to play: the experience or applications layer. This is would be the business applications layer for smart buildings, factories, energy, health, transportation, homes, and cities.
In the context of this stack DS envisions offering business value at the design layer (connected objects/products) with engineering design tools (CATIA, Solidworks brands) and at the experience layer for business applications (ENOVIA, NetVibes, Exalead brands). In between these bottom and top layers DS plans to partner with IoT platform, network, and M2M and communications providers.DS envisions offering an IoE through all elements of engineering design: requirements, systems, mechanical, electrical, software, simulation, and service in the field. Their intent is to provide solutions to harmonize the virtual and physical worlds, not unlike the message from PTC. As DS put it: “From product to connected experience, from device to smart value added services, from shipping to continuously improving”.
Like other PLM providers DS is embracing the concept of the digital or virtual twin from the perspective of B2C (maintenance/warranty of consumer products) and B2B (maintenance of equipment in the field). Also, IoE for DS is about big data analytics where their solutions will 1) collect and gather, 2) find and explore, 3) analyze and track, 4) diagnose in context, 5) automate and predict, 5) context build up. DS offers various brands to accomplish all of this: Exalead, an index-based search engine that ferrets out data/information across the extent of design/build/service lifecycle; DELMIA manufacturing operations management, M2M connectivity, operations intelligence analytics, and production execution applications; ENOVIA PDM platform and single source of all design/build information; and NetVibes, a real-time data streaming dashboard.
It will be interesting to follow DS’s strategy to form partnerships with the middle layer providers of the IoT stack, however this appears to be similar to PTC’s strategy for IoT services. Suffice to say that DS, as the market leader in PLM, is focusing on the business application, or in their parlance, the experience layer for IoT, which represents not only the top layer of the IoT/IIoT, but the area that is the most underserved and lacking in solutions at this juncture in the IoT journey.
with acknowledgement Industrial IoT.com