Innovation converges in the $35bn PLM market
IT is driving a renaissance in manufacturing, employing tools such as big data, advanced analytics and AR to help companies reach markets faster and cut costs, according to Lux Research. The renewed push to manufacturing is led by initiatives such as Germany’s Industrie 4.0, GE’s Predix platform and improved PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) software – itself a $35bn market – besides broader technologies such as 3D printing and factory robotics.
“While these new technologies are clearly making CAD (computer-aided design) and PLM better for manufacturing, they still need a strong business case, given the cost to purchase and implement such far-reaching new systems,” said Mark Bünger, Vice President, Research, Lux Research, and lead author of the report Information Meets Manufacturing: Fast-tracking Prototype to Production. “The business case boils down to incremental improvements that can reduce mistakes and speed time to market, and major changes to the design and ideation process itself, which can drive more innovative products and processes.”
Lux Research analysts studied the impact of emerging IT on manufacturing. Among their findings:
- Autodesk, Siemens and Dassault face new rivals: engineering systems were once standalone products, but they are increasingly part of a larger PLM suite. Today, at least 200 companies make PLM components like CAD software; incumbents Autodesk, Siemens and Dassault still dominate but open-source competitors like Google, Thingiverse and GitHub are rapidly improving.
- Open source software creates strategic opportunities: libraries of design objects are great resources and potential disruptors. In the future, libraries have the potential to beat application features in the battle for users.
- Innovations pose challenges: PLM is adding collaborative tools like Dassault’s 3DSWYM, Aras’ product roadmap crowdsourcing and Autodesk’s embedded social media apps. But such open collaboration poses challenges to intellectual property and network security.