SOLIDWORKS Will Help Engineers Bring Products on the Internet of Things
Shawn Wasserman posted on March 17, 2016 | 12941 views

Engineers Need New Tools and Skills to Build IoT Designs

(Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS.)

(Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS.)

With the Internet of Things (IoT) industry booming, engineers in various industries will be tasked with turning their products into the next connected device.

“IoT and smart devices will be a four-trillion-dollar marketplace by 2020. If you are going to become a leader in your market, you will connect your devices to the cloud,” said Kishore Boyalakuntla, senior director of Product Portfolio Management at Dassault Systèmes (DS) SOLIDWORKS.

Unfortunately, creating a product and making it a connected device isn’t as easy as it seems. It requires a new set of skills and tools to guide the engineer through the mechanical, electrical, software and systems-level design challenges they will face.

As a result, engineering software providers, such as Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS, are offering engineers the tools to help ensure that their next designs will be a successful connected device.

SOLIDWORKS’ Strategy for the Internet of Things

The basic anatomy of a connected device includes three things. First, there is the main assembly. These are the standard components of the design that meet their intended function. Second, you will need power and sensors that give the device an ability to collect the data. Finally, your design will need to connect the device to the Internet to distribute and assess the data and allow for remote control.

The three foundations of a connected device. The product, connection and analysis/automation will be handled by SOLIDWORKS, Xively and Netvibes respectively.
The three foundations of a connected device. The product, connection and analysis/automation will be handled by SOLIDWORKS, Xively and Netvibes respectively.

In other words, the three pillars of IoT design are a.) the product itself, b.) connecting to the Internet and c.) controlling the product and data remotely. Dassault Systèmes’ IoT strategy for SOLIDWORKS is to help users bring these pillars into their design involves its in-house products SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS PCB, and Netvibes as well as its partnership with Xively by LogMeln.

“SOLIDWORKS helps with the product design, Xively helps to connect the device to the cloud, and Netvibes will aggregate, analyze and automate the data,” said Boyalakuntla. “We have met companies that have transitioned from mechanical to IoT, and the transformation is very drastic. You go from a mechanical-heavy company to one that works on mechanical, electrical, systems and software. On that path, SOLIDWORKS will give you the best-in-class tools that will talk together beautifully.”

Therefore, it appears that Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS is marketing a series of separate tools based on how they can be used together in a single workflow to design IoT devices.

SOLIDWORKS PCB Merges Electronic and Mechanical CAD

SOLIDWORKS PCB blurs the line between the mechanical and electrical CAD design. (Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS.)

SOLIDWORKS PCB blurs the line between the mechanical and electrical CAD design. (Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS.)

These IoT devices will not only need to be engineered mechanically, they will need to be engineered electronically.

This is where the new product, SOLIDWORKS PCB, comes in.

The tool is powered by Altium and allows for better integration of mechanical and electrical CAD (MCAD and ECAD) data without the need of a translator.

This allows engineers to create 3D CAD images based on the electrical design and use them in the SOLIDWORKS ecosystem to ensure that the mechanical design and electrical design work well together.

For more on SOLIDWORKS PCB, read this article.

SOLIDWORKS’ Connected Ecosystem for the Internet of Things

Xively Connects Devices to the Internet

The next step of an IoT design is to ensure that it will connect to the Web. This is a function that Xively can fill. Xively is an IoT platform that provides management and application modules to create high-speed machine-to-machine communication.

The SOLIDWORKS IoT ecosystem includes the following software options: SOLIDWORKS PCB by DS for electronics design, Xively by LogMeln for web infrastructure and embedded systems and Netvibes by DS for data automation.
The SOLIDWORKS IoT ecosystem includes the following software options: SOLIDWORKS PCB by DS for electronics design, Xively by LogMeln for web infrastructure and embedded systems and Netvibes by DS for data automation.
Xively’s management capabilities are able to track how a company, users and partners interact with a product. It is focused on capturing user identities, setting securities, authenticating and creating directories of the device’s current state.

“Partnering with a proven industry leader like LogMeIn helps our customers take the guess work and complexity out of developing products specifically for the IoT,” said Suchit Jain, vice president of Strategy and Community at Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS.

Connected Devices Need Data Analytics, Control and Dashboards

http://www.engineersrule.com/how-to-merge-the-mcad-and-ecad-experience/

The Netvibes dashboard provides users with insights about the data their IoT device is collecting. (Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes Netvibes.)

Once the product is connected, it’s going to be collecting a lot of data. If you don’t use that data, then you are missing the point of the IoT entirely.

Xively and Netvibes both provide cloud storage so users can analyze the data that is collected from the device.

With this data, companies can change the relationship they have with their users. They can take a more proactive approach to customer service and improving the user experience.

“[If your] product needs servicing, or has parts that need to change, you will update customers for replacements and maintenance. This creates a fundamental change in relationship because of smart devices and IoT,” said Boyalakuntla.

So, using an IoT scenario, how can you tell your customers that their products need to be fixed? How can the data be used to find flaws in your designs that you never thought of before? The answer is to perform analytics on the IoT data and create useful dashboards to monitor the data results through charts and graphs. This can all be done with the drag-and-drop programming capabilities of Netvibes.

“Because Netvibes is an analytics dashboard, businesses can automate actions based on data insights: it’s business intelligence meets artificial intelligence,” said Florent Solt, CTO of Netvibes, which is owned by Dassault Systèmes. “Netvibes’ [dashboard] automatically generates charts and graphs, [and] users can then explore the data visually. With Netvibes . . . users can simply drag and drop two charts together to instantly compare them and identify trends and correlations.”

Creating a Netvibes Potions to control an IoT device. (Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes Netvibes.)

Creating a Netvibes Potions to control an IoT device. (Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes Netvibes.)

Netvibes users send commands to their IoT devices using a set of instructions called Potions. The Potions are created using drag-and-drop programing, which simplifies the process for new users.

These Potions are based on one or more analytical triggers, which activate a set of instructions to be performed by the IoT system. Once certain conditions are met in the data or the data analytics, Potions will tell the device or the app to perform an action.

For instance, if the data analytics suggest that a part is vibrating, Potions can notify the lead engineer that maintenance is needed on the product. This will help to reduce expensive breakdowns.

“Because Netvibes Potions supports multiple triggers and conditional actions, users can program complex interactions to make the Internet of Things do exactly what they want,” added Solt.

Shortly, ENGINEERING.com will be discussing with Dassault Systèmes how its strategy for SOLIDWORKS will be fitting into the overall strategy for the IoT and the 3DEXPERIENCE (3DX).

Currently, Netvibes and SOLIDWORKS are both on 3DX, but this isn’t true for Xively. Since 3DX is Dassault Systèmes’ interconnecting platform of platforms, it is a perfect fit for the IoT. Just take the data you collect from the IoT and create a digital twin of it on 3DX. This digital twin data can then be used with other engineering tools on 3DX, such as SIMULIA, BIOVIA or ENOVIA. 

Have you used Netvibes or Xively to connect your IoT device to the web? How did it go? Let us know in the comments below. For more on SOLIDWORKS PCB, follow this link.

For more engineering stories about the IoT follow: @ENGcom_IoT

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