Product Lifecycle Management for Smart, Connected Products

The Internet of Things (IoT) and its Impact on Product Development

The Internet of Things and smart, connected products are changing the way manufacturers develop and service products, by bringing the digital world (internet) and the physical world (products) together. Jim Heppelmann, CEO of PTC, was recently interviewed about how the IoT is redefining traditional product development concepts, including Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

PTC has been focusing lately on IoT. How does IoT relate to PTC’s roots in CAD and PLM?

We see IoT as a disruptive force that will transform existing industries, especially in our core markets like manufacturing and engineering. PTC responded early to the growth of software-intensive products and service-oriented business models. Adding connectivity to the product and service lifecycle solutions PTC already provides enables our customers to close the loop and transform the way they create, operate, and service their products.

How does PTC’s vision for IoT-enabled products go further than retrofitting RCM-like (Remote Condition Monitoring) applications onto existing assets?

The retrofitting approach is important and will continue to play a role for many established long-lived assets and products. However, there’s a new breed of products emerging that have been specifically designed to leverage the IoT. For these products, connectivity is not an optional add-on; it is designed into the product. Many of the core features of these new products will rely on this built-in connectivity. Physical products and related cloud services are forming new ecosystems, like Apple devices and iTunes cloud services. We call this new breed of products “smart, connected products.”

How will PLM for smart, connected products be impacted?

Traditional PLM tools really focus on the early stages of the product’s lifecycle—product design and development. We need to look at the entire product and service lifecycle, including product design, manufacturing, sales/marketing, customer operations, and after-sales services.

This interview was first published in Enterprise IoT, a digital book that analyzes and documents IoT use cases in various industries, including automotive, energy and manufacturing.