- PTC held a virtual version of its annual LiveWorx event on June 9, highlighting its own products but bringing in discussions from customers, partners, and leaders in related technologies such as augmented reality, the Internet of Things (IoT), and digital transformation.
- The event worked pretty well with a combination of live and recorded events, losing some of the detailed product discussions while – needless to say – lacking the dynamism of the ‘Xtropolis’ exhibit hall that usually showcased new PTC and partner solutions.
PTC’s LiveWorx has always been a lively and informative show for those interested in areas such as CAD-enabled product development, product lifecycle management (PLM), manufacturing automation, augmented reality, the industrial IoT, and digital transformation. Rather than playing to the analyst community per se, the LiveWorx audience has always included existing and prospective PTC customers as well as a roster of its diverse set of strategic, go-to-market, and integration partners.
PTC managed to pull it off pretty well, in contrast to other recent virtual events that have been Zoom-like or consisted of a large set of stilted pre-recorded PowerPoint sessions. A combination of live keynotes along with on-demand technical or deep-dive content sessions kept the pace going, and the quality was good, mixing videos with live content as well as slides with bullet points for future reference.
Not surprisingly, a key theme this year was the ability of digital technologies to play an even greater role than before in helping businesses cope during (and after) the COVID-19 disruption. A shift to a SaaS model for many of PTC’s key software products, facilitated by the acquisition of OnShape last year, was also important to the company, allowing its manufacturing customers to stay on-line as they design and build products. The use of AR and IoT technologies is also aimed at operational efficiency, providing enhanced training and maintenance, as well as the ability to keep facilities running remotely, with fewer employees having to endanger themselves in a crowded facility. These all play into the theory that IoT will not only thrive in spite of COVID-19 but eventually be shown to have been very important to the business community during and after the crisis. As GlobalData has been noting in recent reports (see “COVID-19: As IoT Ramps Up, Will COVID-19 Tamp It Down or Will the Ecosystem Find Ways to Help Detect and Combat the Pandemic?”), we believe there are opportunities for the IoT ecosystem to further validate its ability to provide benefits to the business community and add solutions in areas such as disease detection, prevention, and containment as well as ongoing healthcare and public safety initiatives.
While we continue to share optimism with PTC that IoT has a lot to offer in dealing with the pandemic, we also acknowledge the short-term hit new projects or deployment expansions are likely to take in 2020, causing a fall in projected growth rates of IoT connections and the revenues associated with connectivity, software, equipment, and services.
At LiveWorx, PTC also provided an informative snapshot of its product lines, including recent releases and roadmap items. For its ThingWorx IoT platform, new capabilities relate to the following key trends: IoT market maturity, which requires adjustments for greater scale, to meet new requirements, and to provide PTC with differentiation; the increasing integration of IT and OT; commoditization of IoT platforms and features; and the importance of alliances. PTC considers its most strategic alliance partners to be Microsoft and Rockwell Automation these days, with a number of integrated solutions and go-to-market initiatives with both companies.
Some of the capabilities just released or soon to be offered include: more pre-built application workflows and solutions for different use cases; expansion of app-integrated analytics; expansion of the Solution Central portal to accelerate deployment, provide lifecycle management, and improve event handling; solutions to increase high availability, stability, scalability, and security; improved interoperability with partner products; edge improvements for content management; and support for internal and regulatory compliance/audits. It is clear that PTC in particular – and the IoT ecosystem in general – is not slowing down plans for growth.