Carriots IoT Platform Offers Gateway to the Digital Twin
Shawn Wasserman posted on October 04, 2017 | 2446 views
Since Altair acquired Carriots a few months ago, the company has been moving fast integrating the IoT platform into its systems. (Image courtesy of Altair.)

Since Altair acquired Carriots a few months ago, the company has been moving fast integrating the IoT platform into its systems. (Image courtesy of Altair.)

The Internet of Things (IoT) was all abuzz at a presentation from the Altair Technology Conference. This isn’t much of a surprise, given the recent acquisition of the IoT platform Carriots.

Industry trends are pressuring many organizations to create or use IoT products. The IoT data collected on customers, products, systems and manufacturing lines is just too good to pass up. Altair notes that this industry trend was a major factor in the Carriots’ acquisition.

“Recently we’ve had a lot of connected products. There are antennae on everything. You have systems of systems being designed more and more today,” James Scapa, chairman and chief executive officer of Altair, noted. “The IoT market is just exploding. The predictions are enormous. As a company, we are investing in our IoT technology, analytics and machine learning.”

Scapa and his team explained that Altair’s HyperWorks simulation and Carriots IoT technology is going to fit into the company’s concept of the digital twin. Carriots will form the IoT platform that bridges the device hardware to the cloud, simulation/data analytics software and the end-users. For Carriots, these end users can be anyone from an employee of the device’s manufacturer to a customer controlling a connected product at home.

Altair’s IoT Platform and the Digital Twin

Altair’s representations of the digital twin. The internal digital twin sees Carriots and Carriots Analytics connecting data back to the concept, development and validation stage of product design. The customer linked digital twin feeds data back to the user to make important decisions such as maintenance scheduling. (Image courtesy of Altair.)

Altair’s representations of the digital twin. The internal digital twin sees Carriots and Carriots Analytics connecting data back to the concept, development and validation stage of product design. The customer linked digital twin feeds data back to the user to make important decisions such as maintenance scheduling. (Image courtesy of Altair.)

Carriots offers many of the traditional tools offered by an IoT Platform such as device management, application logic and big data storage.

However, where the platform will shine is its tight connection to the digital twin, via Altair’s HyperWorks simulation technology.

“Carriots is an application enablement platform,” Brian Peters, regional managing director at Altair, explained. “It connects the customer and corporate apps to the gateway and hardware on the device.”

“It also sends information to your customers, as well as to different departments in your organization,” Peters added. “It can then make decisions based on this data.”

Carriots can connect to apps on a phone or pad that act as a customer front-end to the IoT system. It can take commands from the user as well as pass on vital information through this app.

The hardware on the device also collects data for Carriots. It passes this information to the system through a gateway. The data is collected through sensors on the device and any inputs that have been made directly to the device.

Carriots can then pass all of this information to the device’s parent company. This data is crunched in Carriots Analytics, formerly Altair’s Envision.

Features of Carriots Analytics. (image courtesy of Altiar.)
Features of Carriots Analytics. (image courtesy of Altair.)
“Carriots Analytics is the front-end for looking at your data. It can look at historical or real-time data to see what has been happening over the last year or you could look at your data as it comes in,” Peters explained. “This is a cloud-based business development tool. As you gather all your data in the cloud, Carriots Analytics will let you do some match ups and slice and dice that data to allow you to make some intelligent decisions to perform some sort of action.”

From the data analysis, Carriots can then make decisions or offer new information back to the user or parent company.

“So, what is Carriots actually doing? Think of it as the big database in the cloud,” said Peters. “It takes any of the big data and uses application logic and analytics to trigger a certain response. Carriots offers device management and communication. It can also detect if there have been any breaches, warning the company that any firmware updates might be needed.”

So, how does all this IoT stuff connect to Altair’s traditional HyperWorks simulation software? Well, the answer is in the digital twin, Uwe Schramm, chief technical officer of Altair, explained. “The IoT is a logical extension to what Altair does,” Schramm said.

Schramm is a strong proponent of combining the IoT with simulations that form the backbone to a digital twin. He noted how this can be used to improve operations and the design process.

“For closed-loop engineering, you can collect the IoT field data and bring it into the design process,” Schramm said. “For example, you can collect temperature data on an airplane. This data can help manufacturers to really understand what happens to a product during the lifecycle of the object.”

As for operations, Schramm noted how the IoT and digital twin can also be used to save money. By simulating the operation process, you can gain insights into what might be happening in the system based on the real-world, real-time data you are feeding into it.

“You can collect the IoT data and bring it into the digital twin and then make decisions on when to perform maintenance,” Schramm said. “This is great for reducing operating costs.”

Key features of Carriots. (image courtesy of Altair.)
Key features of Carriots. (image courtesy of Altair.)

Carriots IoT Platform and the Digital Twin in Action

Using Carriots, Pozuelo city officials have created an IoT smart city. (Image courtesy of Altair.)

Using Carriots, Pozuelo city officials have created an IoT smart city. (Image courtesy of Altair.)

When engineering teams start to implement an IoT and digital twin system, they are going to look for tried, tested and true software. This is why it’s so important for IoT platform providers to have a large scale application story in their pockets to highlight the technology’s capabilities.

Even though Altair has only had this tech for a short time, the company still has one of those applications with the smart city project in Pozuelo de Alarcón, Spain. The goal of this project was to save the city money, cut down on CO2 emissions and to limit the waste of electricity and water.

The tool is also used to assist visitors, patrons and residents with their everyday lives. It monitors various city works from parking spots, garbage receptacles, street lights and water irrigation.

A diagram of Carriots for the Pozuelo Smart City Project. (Image courtesy of Altair.)
A diagram of Carriots for the Pozuelo Smart City Project. (Image courtesy of Altair.)
One of the most successful applications of the Pozuelo Smart City Project is the parking monitor program. Using sensors in each spot, the system could determine if there was a vehicle parked there. This data would be sent to a gateway and to Carriots with a 3G cloud network.

When the spot empties, the system would notify the cloud, which would then update the app that was made available to those in Pozuelo. Users could then use the app to reserve the spot and the app would direct them to the location.

As for the city officials at Pozuelo, they gain insights into the congestion in certain areas as well as spots that have been filled for an excessive amount of time.

This app has been so successful that Pozuelo estimates that traffic congestion has been reduced by 25%. That’s hundreds, maybe thousands of hours of endless driving and CO2 emissions saved.

The Future of Altair’s IoT Journey

So, will we see more from Altair and its new IoT brand? Well, they have only had the brand for a few months and have already integrated it heavily into their systems. It’s hard to believe that this integration has met the completed IoT vision of Scapa and Schramm.

“Our IoT environment is very fresh since the Carriots acquisition. We are still in a mode of learning to understand how to create applications around this technology,” Schramm said. “It’s a good platform that really plays well with out other technology.”

If I were a betting man, based on this, I’d say to keep an eye on Altair for more IoT software in the near future.

To learn more about Carriots, watch this webinar and product demo, here.

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