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SPD Series Feature 4: Resolving Technology Challenges

As we discussed earlier in this series, it’s likely more and more traditional product companies will look for solutions that let them migrate to the connected product path easily, scale quickly, have a technology that “retrofits” to protect their existing investments, minimize their team size, and help them create new business models for the modern world.

Yet only a few organizations have everything it takes to quickly and securely develop scalable technology to bridge the gap, to move their product from disconnected to connected. Harvard Business Review summarizes it well, saying, “Smart, connected products require a rethinking of design. At the most basic level, product development shifts from largely mechanical engineering to true engineering.” And building a “smart product” can be expensive, time-consuming, and risky.

Smart products aren't limited to any any particular industry
Smart products aren’t limited to any particular industry

For companies looking to move fast, scale up, and stay secure, they’ll need a reliable and secure device communication technology, edge compute and orchestration platforms, data storage, drag-and-drop stream processing development, real-time data visualization, and machine learning tools. And all this needs to be a seamless extension of the larger product engineering R&D. This is evident in what our survey respondents had to say to the question concerning technological challenges.

What our survey respondents said were their strategy's biggest challenges
What our survey respondents said were their strategy’s biggest challenges

Respondents do realize that when it comes to smart product development, there are many considerations starting from, and extending beyond, mechanical and structural design engineering. Electronic system development processes, including the design of electronic hardware and firmware, as well as the sensors, actuators, and the antennas on a device, require special focus.

Electronic System Development is a specialized subject in itself
Electronic system development is a specialized subject in itself

Connectivity is another critical aspect to consider when designing smart products, which covers antenna simulation and placement, radio coverage, network planning, spectrum management, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC/EMI), bio-electromagnetics, and RF devices.

This is followed by another vital piece of technology comprising edge and device management, and to ensure two-way communication between the device and the IoT infrastructure, enabling efficient collection, management, storage, and use of data for varied applications, including building digital twins for specific use cases.

Speaking of digital twins – it’s a logical extension of smart product development. It’s a digital model or a virtual replica that connects to a real life asset, mimicking its every action.

The digital twin operating loop
The digital twin operating loop

Pairing the real and virtual worlds lets users remotely monitor assets, understand its behavior, and analyze the in-field data by using physics-driven and data-driven models. The smart product development process accounts for the design, connection, and analysis that can be leveraged for digital twins.

Altair has the knowledge and technology to help you realize your smart product development vision from beginning to end – from conception and optimization, all the way to launch and operation.

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