Why Do Software Bugs Continue to Plague Products?

By | Automotive, PLM, Strategy | 4 Comments

Pesky Software Problems Plague Many Products

It seems not a day goes by without reading about yet another software bug that inflicted a catastrophic (or, at times, just ridiculous) malfunction on an everyday product.

In these conversations about software quality problems, the auto industry is often singled out. Indeed, consumer complaints about vehicle software systems have been growing steadily over the past several years, and numerous automakers, including Volvo, Nissan, and Volkswagen, have  initiated large  recall campaigns to remedy software defects. Even Tesla, that usually gets immediate praises for almost everything it does, isn’t immune from releasing faulty software controlled systems (although Tesla does a superior job in fixing software defects via over-the-air updates).

But not only cars suffer from software malaise. General Electric’s refrigerators, too, require software updates to remedy errors that hamper the appliance’s most basic operations, and Samsung’s connected fridge allows hackers to steal a consumer’s Gmail login information.
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Will Brexit Put the Brakes on British Innovation?

By | Internet of Things, Manufacturing, Strategy | 3 Comments

The UK to exit the EU: What are the Implications for Tech Companies?

Most analysts agree:  the economic consequences of the UK leaving the European Union will be bad, and, in all likelihood, the long-term political implications will be even more dire. For British technology firms the prognosis is no better. Leaving the EU means shortage of skills and limited ability to employ non-UK workers, new trade regulations and tariffs, and uncertainties concerning EU’s data protection directives.

In the chaos of the Brexit we’ve nearly forgotten that one of the primary initiatives of the EU was to catalyze long term economic growth through higher levels of collaboration and deliberate investments in innovation. The EU supports several interlinked programs that provide member states €120 billion over the period 2014 – 2020 for research, development and innovation. The largest program is Horizon 2020 with a budget of just over €70 billion.

After Brexit, UK firms will no longer have easy access to EU research grants. Some are quick to dismiss these grants as they represent only a small fraction of the UK’s technology R&D budget, and point out that the UK is actually a net contributor to the EU budget. Between 2007 and 2013, the UK contributed €77.7 billion to the EU, which amounted to 10.5% of the total EU income from member states, and received €47.5 billion in EU funding (6% of the total).

But they may be missing the point.
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Transverse Line Kandisnky

LiveWorx 2016 – PTC’s Internet of Things Strategy

By | Aquisition, Internet of Things, M2M, Service Lifecycle Management (SLM), Strategy | One Comment

LiveWorx 2016

PTC’s LiveWorx, the annual event that demonstrates and affirms PTC’s commitment to the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) space, concluded last week in Boston. It was larger and richer than the previous LiveWorx conference by far.

LiveWorx serves well to clarify PTC’s Industrial IoT strategy and to articulate the role of the various technology pavestones that form PTC’s elaborate IoT path. Not surprisingly, PTC’s CEO James Heppelmann’ keynote centered on IoT application to enhance equipment service and maintenance operations, as were systems demonstrated on the main stage by Caterpillar, Trane and Flowserve, although it was obvious that these were proofs of concept rather than deployed systems. As Mr. Heppelmann reiterated a cornerstone in PTC’s strategy: “service is the killer app of the industrial IoT”.
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King Alphonso Jean-Michel-Basquiat

Virtual Reality—Content is King

By | Manufacturing, Strategy | 4 Comments

We continue to be dazzled by eye catching virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies such as Facebook Oculus, HTC Vive and Microsoft HoloLens. And we conveniently forget that these viewers are essentially just that — viewing contraptions; they have no intrinsic value without the appropriate content. They come to life, if you pardon the choice of idiom, only when they have content to display, virtual worlds to visit, business value to deliver. Think of the role of virtual reality content in Inception, in which Ariadne, an architect, is brought in to design three dream “layers” with paradoxically intertwined architectures and maze-like layouts. This design does not simply provide the visual backdrop—it becomes the plot.

(If you need a refresher on AR/VR display technologies, now may be a good time to pause reading this article and visit “A Gaggles of Goggles” in an excellent article on AR in Wired Magazine.)

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Saint El Camino: Our Lady of Internal Combustion David Stephens

Buying a New Car – Millennials Do It Differently

By | Automotive, Strategy | 5 Comments

A few years ago I was consulting one of Detroit’s automakers on developing what the company dubbed “a new digital strategy”. Management summarized its point of view on the topic by saying “we need to upgrade the IT infrastructure and increase the storage quota because millennials need more space for email”.

That was a while ago. Now even that management team knows that, in fact, millennials don’t use email all that much and prefer the directness and immediacy of instant messaging and social media channels. But the point behind this short anecdote is still extremely important: demographic shifts are having a profound impact on many aspects of all businesses and require a deeper understanding and considerations that go deeper than merely allowing more storage space for emails. Read More