Now that I have relocated to the Houston area, I can participate in local events far from Silicon Valley. On Thursday, April 16, Microsoft had an IoT (Internet of Things) in Action conference at the JW Marriott in downtown Houston. Microsoft extolled the virtues of their Microsoft Azure platform for IoT. Microsoft partners showcased their solutions that they had built using the Azure platform.
I was there to see what types of IoT solutions were being provided. Autodesk makes software for customers who make things. Our customers are part of three industries:
- Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC)
- Product Design and Manufacturing (PD&M)
- Media and Entertainment (M&E)
so what they make includes high-performance cars, towering skyscrapers, smartphones, and blockbuster films. The solutions highlighted at the IoT conference could add value to many of these things, and in the first blog article, I focused on things for the AEC industry. For this blog article, I have decided to focus on things from the PD&M industry.
At its highest level, the PD&M industry has three phases:
It is quite typical for IoT to be applied in the MAKE and USE phases where what is learned is fed back into those phases:
Some examples of this include:
- MAKE: Sensors connected to mobile apps enable real-time monitoring of production and performance of the factory floor to ensure optimal output, quality, and consistency of the manufacturing process.
- USE: Motion sensors that reduce the brightness of street lights when no pedestrians are around. This extends the useful life of the lights.
In these two examples, what is sensed during the phase is acted upon in the same phase. I was curious if data collected via IoT services in those phases could also be aggregated and analyzed using artificial intelligence with the resulting insights being fed back into the DESIGN phase:
At the conference, I found that data from:
- IoT-PREDICT from Action Point can help assembly line designers optimize new production lines.
- Nexeed Production Performance Manager could help Bosch design dishwashers with better performance and improved consistency.
- Emerson Steam Trap Connected Services can help stream trap craftsmen design devices for hard-to-reach places.
- Hitachi could help the company design appliances that require less maintenance.
- NEXCOM iAT2000 CloudSCADA can help factory designers layout factory floors so CNC machines, robotics, and PLC equipment are used more effectively.
- Decision Signage from XOGO could help sign makers design interactive digital signs that leverage the capabilities of the PCs, tablets, or smartphones.
- Xompass Fire Surveillance can help safety experts design devices that detect smoke and fire more accurately.
- AAEEON Light Control Systems could help light makers design street lights that reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.
- Smart Fleet Management from AVNET can help automakers design driverless trucks.
- E.ON Home Energy Management Systems could help appliance designers design home appliances that are more energy efficient.
- LEONI can help energy experts design charging stations that replenish electric vehicles in less time and at a lower cost.
- Starbucks IoT can help them design coffee brewers, espresso machines, and blenders that always work so customers get their drinks without delay.
As we move our software from providing documentation that is the basis for action (e.g., models that allow fabrication to happen with precision) to providing insight that is the basis for decision making (e.g., the selection of materials based on predicted cost), it is great that data captured from the actual making of products and their use using IoT technology can be included in that decision-making process during design.
If we had the insights from these IoT services available, how would you like to see them exposed in Inventor and Fusion 360 to help you with your design process?
Requesting feedback on the internet of things is once again alive in the lab.