On Wednesday, Nov. 28, in Stuttgart, Germany, more than 1,800 attendees – and another 2,000 joining virtually – came together for a spectacular one-day event exploring the incredible realities and possibilities of industrial innovation.
PTC Forum Europe 2018 included 70 exhibitors and 23 breakout sessions focused on innovative products and their real-world applications and business use cases. It was a true convergence of the digital, physical, and human worlds.
In her keynote address, Kathleen Mitford, PTC’s EVP of Products, set the tone for the day by speaking to the necessity of digital transformation now – and the hazard of maintaining the status quo.
“In today’s market, if you’re not evolving, you’re fading into oblivion. In this new industrial reality, the only way to step out beyond the shadow of your competitors is to fully define, embrace, and implement your journey of digital transformation,” she said.
To assist in the digital transformation journey, the event afforded attendees the opportunity to gain critical knowledge, take part in hands-on demonstrations, and network with technology leaders, industry experts, PTC customers and partners.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights and takeaways from the inspiring event:
Digital Transformation Is Critical to the Future of Innovation
Companies are estimated to spend over $1 trillion on digital transformation, according to an IDC report. Nearly one-third of that spend is in manufacturing where the applications of Internet of Things and augmented reality are changing the way businesses manufacture, operate, and service their products.
Why are industrial manufacturers making such a significant investment? Milford outlined three main reasons: to power innovation, to be more efficient, and to differentiate from the competition.
And your company’s data, Mitford said, is at the heart of digital transformation.
“[Data] is the DNA that defines your company’s identity, and it is the roadmap by which you will lay claim to your rightful place in this ever evolving, complex industrial landscape.” Mitford said. “True digital transformation happens when you unleash the full potential of your data across your entire value chain.”
With the right technology solutions and partners, businesses are able to leverage and connect their data in real time across the enterprise and use those powerful insights to revolutionize how they do business.
Seek Out and Embrace Strategic Partnerships
To truly achieve digital transformation, companies must embrace partnerships to foster technological innovation. PTC has partnered with powerhouse corporations like Rockwell Automation, ANSYS, and Microsoft to unlock new business opportunities and provide real value to customers.
Brian Thompson, SVP CAD Segment, addressed PTC Forum with a solution for product designers that breaks down barriers and enables engineers to design pervasively throughout the entire workflow.
“Creo Simulation Live, powered by ANSYS, provides you with instant feedback on every design that you make, without leaving the modeling environment,” said Thompson.
Furthermore, a strategic partnership between PTC and Rockwell Automation has enabled customers around the world to connect their physical operations with digital technology.
“The ThingWorx Industrial Innovation platform along with the Rockwell Automation’s Factory Talk Suite allows you to consolidate and connect information technology with operational technology,” said Mitford.
By combining the strength of the Rockwell Automation and PTC partnership with PTC’s partnership with Microsoft, you get a powerful combination of technology solutions that includes IoT, analytics, MES, and augmented reality.
Digital Transformation Is Happening Now
Some of the most inspiring moments of the event came from PTC customers as they shared stories of digital transformation success. Here are a few:
Polaris, a manufacturer of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles, is leveraging data from their smart, connected products to inform future design enhancements that ultimately elevate their customers’ experience.
“Polaris is making better decisions because of real-time product data,” explained Brian Thompson (above), GM CAD of PTC. “They are able to delight their customers with new features, offer greater safety, and improved performance.”
And lastly, the home appliance giant Whirlpool has enabled more agile, collaborative, and innovative processes by first adopting PLM and then adding ThingWorx Navigate.
“When it comes to building their digital twin, Whirlpool is looking to better understand customer pain points,” said Kevin Wrenn (above), GM PLM, PTC said. “Digital twin also makes it possible to reduce time-to-market on new products and features.”
Connect the Physical, Digital, and Human Worlds
From the stage to the exhibit hall floor, PTC Forum attendees were able to get hands-on experience with dozens of exhibitors showcasing PTC solutions, customers, partners, as well as jaw-dropping demonstrations.
“We wanted to build a multi-tool that allows you to interact in the physical world on a digital layer,” said Valentin Heun, VP of Technology at PTC.
Heun demonstrated the Reality Editor during the PTC Forum keynote and provided interactive demonstrations on the exhibit floor where crowds of attendees waited in line to experience it firsthand.
The augmented reality platform allows humans to manipulate the physical world by simply drawing a line between an object and your smartphone. For example, on-off switches and sensors are suddenly operated by a virtual connection.
As the conference came to a close, PTC’s message was clear: companies must create a digital transformation strategy today, embrace partnerships, and invest in innovative technologies that solve real-world problems.