Internet of Things: What’s the Big Idea?

By Estelle

 

 

Internet Of Things


Written by Hong Bai *

Starting from January 2013, right after Google announced its $3.2 Billion acquisition of NEST, the expression “Internet of Things”, known as IoT, has suddenly become the big buzz word in all different industries. Engineers and business leaders are having all kinds of discussion around this area over social media. And some among them did successfully transform their business by creating disruptive innovations based on IoT oriented technologies, such as Parrot or Withings.

However, among all those discussions and successful business cases, there is one question that was never clearly answered: what’s the big idea about internet of things? I think that everyone may have his/her own answer to this question and there does not exist an absolute definition to which we can look upon. I would like to share my own opinions about the true nature of IoT here.

First of all, to understand the term “internet of things”, we have to start with the word “things” that refers to the products that are enabling IoT usages. There are two important features about these products: mobility & connectivity. These two features have already served in many consumer and industry use cases , and their main purpose is: collecting live information from anywhere at any time. This leads us to the second important element of IoT – data.

When you have one device collecting information for you, the outcome of that process is called data. But when you have billions of connected devices that are collecting all different types of information for you, then it will become Big Data. In my opinion, Big Data is the derived content of IoT. Its purpose is to be analyzed in order to better understand the behaviors of systems or consumers. Once companies can identify the patterns and interrelations among different behaviors, which seem to be random or disordered, they can anticipate events or activities that will occur in the near future and build an offer to bring additional value to users. The best way to deliver such additional value is through services.

Service is the third important element of IoT. It is also the most profitable and valuable part of the entire IoT value chain. If product and data are about creating needs, services are usually designed to be the exact solution to satisfy those needs. For instance, if I have a product which collects information about one’s body weight, it will collect a huge amount of data about people’s weight. From those data, I find out that people will start looking for professional advices once their body weight is 30% above the average. It allows bringing fitness services offering to those people to satisfy their needs. This provides an extraordinary user experience to the end consumers.

Now, the answer to my previous question seems to be obvious, the big idea of IoT is to have connected devices collecting data for analysis, and offer exceptional services based on the result of the analysis, to create unique user experiences.

Are you Ready for the Internet Of Things? Join us at Solidworks World 2015 and attend the session “Mechatronics engineering experience for Smart Devices with SolidWorks”  on Monday Feb 9th  from 10.30  to 12.00 pm.

* Hong Bai is the High-Tech Industry Mechatronic System Design Consultant @ Dassault Systèmes. In his role, Hong is working with worldwide  leading Electronics companies to support their key business process transformation initiatives. 

How to Take Charge of Your Mechatronic Product Development: The Smart Products Case study

By Estelle


Remote Home Control

The move to producing smart products has been gaining traction in the last few years. Consumers want more out of the products they buy: more flexibility and adaptability, connected and even more portability and mobility. On top of the electrical, mechanical and electronics components that you would find in traditional products, smart products are run by software that also gives rise to more innovation and features that were not possible before.

If the consumer market is opting for a refrigerator that sends you a SMS of the things you need to buy at the grocery or a car that drives itself, then how are manufacturers affected by it?

Businesses making smart products know that these stuffs are also more complex to design and create than their more traditional counterparts.  What this means is that you would need the services of more experts and more professionals in order to bring your products to market.  You also need to synchronize the varied design lifecycles involved in the manufacturing process.


Mechatronic Product Development

Other challenges include a longer time to market, quality issues, redesign and rework, more costs when it comes to product development, and problems with software development.   All of these carry a negative impact on the businesses, especially your profitability.  If you are behind schedule and fail to deliver your smart product on time, then it might mean lower sales and lower profits for you.

Fridge And here’s the thing, complexity will only continue to increase. Not only are consumers opting for smart products, they need something new or something better over time.   In the future, they will no longer want a refrigerator that just lists down its content and tells you what to buy, they will want one that does that AND suggest dishes that you could cook with all the ingredients you have in the refrigerator.

So your manufacturing processes would constantly become even more complex.

 

The good news is that you can take charge of your mechatronic product development by using better processes and using technology to provide integration, traceability and visibility platforms.

How do you do this? Here are some steps.

  1.  Set the goal and make sure that everybody is aware of what these goals are so that they all work towards it. To be effective in setting goals, you should consider what are needed to achieve that goal.  To illustrate, imagine that you are working on a new smartphone, do you know what your customers are expecting it to have and offer?  In this case your goal would be to create a smartphone that is useful to your customers without cramming in too many features that your customers would not use.
    Now here’s the challenge: product requirements from different domains often have different systems and formats and this leads to fragmented information.  This in turn leads to overlooked requirements or over designed products.
    What you need is a way to consolidate your requirements that are drilled down to actionable details.  These requirements need to be version-controlled so that it could go through the entire product life-cycle, become guidelines for your product’s design and used for product validation.  You can also save time if you can keep this centralized document visible so that you could also update it in the future.
  2. Working with your requirements, you need to come up with a conceptual design. Getting the conceptual design right would help you avoid expensive reworks and redesigns when you find a major flaw along the way.What you need to do is systems modeling and find a way to simulate systems behavior to help your design engineers come up with optimized concept products.
  3.  Validate your product often. Smart products are quite complex so you have different factors that you need to analyze.  When you can simulate the system’s behavior, you can easily validate your product to show that you have made the right decision when it comes to design.  It also helps your designers to analyze, interpret and report results.
  4.  Design by discipline. If you have laid all of your products’ requirements, you can easily have different parts of the product designed simultaneously.  The challenge at this stage is that different disciplines usually mean different tools and different design lifecycles.  However, parallel design efforts can help you cut the time to market.What you need to do is make sure that every member of your team knows what the others are doing through collaboration and communication.
  5. Revise when necessary. Always address errors and bugs in a timely manner, so you might want to manage these changes as well.  The thing with changes is that a change in one component would mean that designs for the others would also change.  As such it is imperative that everybody working on the design of your product knows all of these changes.

In all of these steps, a mechatronics collaboration platform can  help you do what needs to be done to make your smart products even more competitive.

Tech Clarity White paper

 

If you want to know more on how to master the development of your smart products, advance your business processes and systems maturity, and improve your products quality and time-to-market, download the Tech-Clarity white paper here.

How Microsoft Devices Group Streamlined its Global Development and Manufacturing Processes

By Estelle

 

Microsoft phone devices

Mobile devices and phones are a ubiquitous part of our daily lives.  Various manufacturers have come into the scene, offering differentiation on anything – from features, design, price and everything else in between.

Microsoft Devices Group has one goal in mind: to come up with technologically advanced products that are also something that you would want to have and proudly show off to the world.  Not only do their products have to be beautiful and technically superior, these also have to be functional: helping people do more while enjoying great experiences with their devices.

It is an interesting time for Microsoft.  With increased competition, the company needs to have that phone that would surpass all of its previous releases.  And design is one of the most crucial factors.

Being a multinational corporation, Microsoft has design talents in different parts of the world, and they needed to simplify the way they designed and developed their devices.  This involved changes to their process and organization on a global scale as they had people in different countries that needed to share ideas and work on these ideas.

At that point, Microsoft Devices Group was using third-party applications that they have to heavily customize to fit their needs.  As a result, they were incurring huge costs to maintain the software.  The company realized that they needed to standardize the installation of software at all their developmental sites in order to achieve the following:

  1. to make sure that they have shorter design cycle times for their products,
  2. to enable every stakeholder to access updated and accurate information about these products and
  3. to make their manufacturing and R&D units more efficient.

In the case of Microsoft Devices Group, they are able to leverage the Smarter, Faster, Lighter Industry Solution Experience and the HT body Industry Solution Experience to meet their needs.

 Easy design navigation and review with the 3DEXPERIENCE platformConcurrent Hardware Design with Smarter Faster Lighter solution

 

 

 

 

 

Those solutions used by Microsoft Devices Group currently for their design processes are working so well that the company plans to include other stakeholders into the mix.  Rather than limiting it to the design, engineering, manufacturing and other teams, they are now thinking of letting suppliers and similarly interested key parties get access of the information available on these platforms.  This way, it will be easier to send and receive information back and forth, while also allowing these key stakeholders to participate in the design process.   This would help the company come up with phones and devices that fit with their own goal of helping their customers “do more”.

Find out how Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE® platform and its High Tech industry solutions helped companies like Microsoft Devices Group get a lead on their design process by downloading the case study  and the video now  or by visiting the High Tech Ressource Center.



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