All companies are managing a digital thread today. In our series on managing the digital thread for smart, connected products, we are discussing the digital thread and related concepts and the solutions that help manage it. Let’s discuss the solution providers who offer something of value related to the digital twin and the digital thread.
Solution Landscape for Digital Twin and Digital Thread
Altair: You might be surprised to find Altair first on the list. However, the company has a wide range of capabilities to build out a full representation of a smart, connected product. It provides tools to develop and simulate system architectures, mechanical hardware, electronics, embedded software, and IOT conductivity. In the past year, it has consolidated these capabilities and made them available as a standardized, cloud solution. Altair is also one of the first companies to employ artificial intelligence and machine learning to the simulation and analysis space. Don’t overlook this solution provider when it comes to the digital twin and the digital thread.
Anark: This solution provider might also be a surprise to some. However, the Anark solution set provides a range of automation and collaboration capabilities centered on the digital twin. It can be combined with other solutions to support a more formal digital thread initiative.
ANSYS: The digital twin isn’t just about building up a definition of your product. It is also about performing simulations to predict the physical product’s behavior once it is complete and in operation. In that context, ANSYS provides a lot of capabilities. It covers the performance of mechanical hardware with Discovery Live. It covers electrical and electronic development with a variety of comprehensive simulation tools. It offers tools for embedded software development in SCADE. It also provides a solution for building digital twins.
Aras: Another provider that offers strong solutions in the space is Aras. Innovator affords a lot of the ability to customize how you manage the digital thread. Furthermore, Aras directly handles your upgrades to new versions of Innovator, even if you have lots of customizations. Aras also invested heavily into the systems engineering and simulation spaces, both with organic investments in development and acquisitions.
Autodesk: Fusion and Inventor are the two Autodesk solutions at the forefront of the company’s digital twin and digital thread offerings. However, Autodesk does go beyond the support of mechanical hardware development. It now offers integrated board design capabilities as part of Fusion, providing an easier and shorter path to collaborate with mechanical engineers.
CONTACT Software: This small, family-owned solution provider out of Germany offers a surprisingly broad PLM toolset. It provides capabilities that can support a digital thread initiative in most small- to mid-sized companies.
Dassault: This solution provider has one of the biggest, broadest, and most ambitious visions for product development. Its 3DEXPERIENCE platform has an incredibly wide array of functionality to deliver role-specific apps. Dassault has augmented this with many acquisitions over time expanding into industry specific solutions. More recently, it developed 3DEXPERIENCE Works solutions to support the Solidworks community.
Eurostep: Is the information that makes up your digital twin spread out across many different IT systems? Well, you’re not alone. Fortunately, Eurostep has a solution called ShareAspace that will share and synchronize that data across many systems. It is a good way to bring together a federated product definition.
Jama Software: Software is becoming a key, development-intense aspect of smart, connected products. As a result, it’s no surprise that solutions that help manage the software side of development are becoming more important. Jama Software provides both requirements management capabilities as well as a range of application lifecycle management tools.
PTC: Windchill, Creo, Thingworx, Integrity, and PTC’s other solutions form a fairly comprehensive set of tools to support the development of a digital twin and the digital thread. Not long ago, PTC acquired Onshape, a provider of cloud-based computer-aided design (CAD). This acquisition has many implications beyond Creo and mechanical design, including those for Windchill, Thingworx, and Integrity.
Siemens and Mentor: It was clear when Siemens acquired Mentor that it had a vision to deliver the complete digital twin of the product. Over time, Siemens has made other moves like developing web services out of its applications and offering solutions through the cloud. Most recently, it has consolidated its vision of a portfolio of integrated solutions, called Xcelerator, that may be the broadest in the industry.
Zuken and Vitech: if you haven’t been watching Zuken, then you might want to start doing it now. They have long-standing solutions for complex board systems as well as electrical distribution systems. Yet, it is Zuken’s acquisition of Vitech and its systems engineering capabilities that are so intriguing. This is especially applicable in the context of increasingly complex E/E systems, where model-based systems engineering (MBSE) capabilities readily apply.
This concludes our series on managing the digital thread for smart, connected products. Do you think your solution should be included in the digital thread solution provider landscape? Contact us and we’ll schedule a briefing to learn more about your solution.