While I love every release my product teams create, I have to say this new release of ThingWorx 8.5 -- our market-leading industrial IoT platform -- tops the list as one of my favorites. As I contemplate this on my long flight from Asia, I am just in awe of what we were able to accomplish:
Business leaders across industries recognize that today’s business environment is complex. Every executive I talk to has an initiative related to digital transformation and industrial IoT is a key enabler. They look for not only an industrial IoT platform that meets their enterprise scale and security requirements, but also a platform that quickly allows them to make sense of all the data coming from their connected products and existing business systems, accelerating the speed in which they can gain meaningful insights that help bring innovative products and solutions to market.
Improving upon capabilities that have been classified by Gartner and other analysts as best-in-class, the newest iteration of ThingWorx makes it easier than ever for enterprises to realize the power of digital transformation. There are several reasons to upgrade to ThingWorx 8.5, but these six highlight the most powerful new features and enhancements.
Introducing product changes can result in higher costs if not fully considered. That’s why collaboration is a necessity across people and processes from the initial state of product ideation through to manufacturing, device connectivity, and field service. Configurable by role and built from reusable components, ThingWorx Navigate 8.5 introduces a new Contribute app to enable a broad set of users -- inside and outside of engineering -- to fully participate in a digital change management workflow by reviewing tasks and completing changes online. Cross-functional users can assess change impacts in real time, eliminating the need to manually capture input and improving quality. Increased participation in the change management process adds the value of faster time to market, improved efficiency, and lower costs.
Digital manufacturing is changing how today’s factories operate, with data from connected equipment, lines, and processes providing real-time insights throughout the workforce. While ThingWorx already has significant functionality to support smart manufacturing initiatives, this release makes it even better by enhancing the platform’s automated machine learning capabilities and more tightly integrating the functionality of Rockwell FactoryTalk Analytics.
Aftermarket service provides the basis by which many companies distinguish themselves and build customer loyalty. ThingWorx has been facilitating this differentiation by helping service organizations improve their offerings around smart, connected products. With the direct integration of Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, ThingWorx 8.5 provides the most seamless user experience yet, allowing devices connected with Azure IoT Hub to use the power of ThingWorx Software Content Management as if they are connected to ThingWorx directly.
Microsoft Azure’s leading cloud infrastructure has brought unprecedented speed, scale, and security to ThingWorx customers. ThingWorx 8.5 takes the integration with Azure even further with direct access to Azure functionality from ThingWorx – such as executing logic apps and functions – and an expanded use of Azure IoT Hub with release of a ThingWorx Azure IoT Edge module.
Industrial IoT system administrators need an efficient way to manage IoT solutions across multiple sites and environments. The all-new ThingWorx Solution Central provides enterprise-wide visibility with a centralized, cloud-based portal that enables administrators to discover, deploy, and manage ThingWorx applications with ease, from a single location. That means an administrator can deploy a new app, or a change to an app, to multiple sites quickly!
The ease-of-use and speed at which citizen developers can build apps has always been what sets ThingWorx apart. ThingWorx provides out-of-the-box apps for Engineering, Manufacturing and Service, allowing users to extend the apps for their unique business needs. ThingWorx 8.5 makes app customization even easier with design improvements that prioritize the user experience.
While we all get excited about great new features in product releases, I want to remind our customers that a key reason for upgrading is security. PTC takes security very seriously and each new release resolves security vulnerabilities. We firmly believe that security is a shared responsibility between PTC, our customers, and our partners. We are doing our part by providing a secure release – now we need you to do your part and stay current on the latest releases.
Additionally, on September 19th, I was joined by Joe Biron, CTO IIoT at PTC, along with executives from Microsoft, Carlsberg, and Celli Group to discuss how we are accelerating digital transformation with ThingWorx 8.5. You can watch the recording of the LIVEstream here.
Kathleen Mitford is Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Strategy Officer at PTC. In this role, Kathleen is responsible for overseeing key strategic functions, which includes the Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), Strategic Alliances, Corporate Marketing, and PTC Academic. She is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently 2019 Mass Technology Leadership Council's Tech Excellence Leadership Award. She also serves on the board for the Mass High Tech Council.
Kathleen is a passionate champion of initiatives to drive inclusion and diversity and women in technology within and outside of PTC. She is a frequent panelist on the topics and her expertise helps to drive innovation and digital transformation.