Executive Insights

Combining Technologies to Grow in a Connected World

By Sam Mahalingam | Chief Technology Officer | March 3, 2020

Throughout history, trends have challenged us to re-think best practices and consider new methods. This is no different today as we consider the rapid advancements in technology and connectivity. Approaching quickly and growing like a wave, digital transformation is imminent, and companies need to learn to ride the swell or they will be pulled under the surf.

What is digital transformation?

Like all trendy buzz words, digital transformation can be plopped into any article to pull in more readers and gain more views. But what does it actually mean? From a wide lens, digital transformation is the incorporation of digital technology into all aspects of a business. Closer in, this means companies relying more on disciplines like Internet of Things (IoT), digital twin, and advanced data analytics.

Integrating technologies like these into daily operations may seem like an overwhelming task for companies just starting to explore their potential. In fact, every company will experience digital transformation in a different way and some solutions are already available today.


Increasing business value with digital twin

An emerging technology being explored by progressive companies is digital twin. Specifically, at Altair we’ve established a complete, open and flexible platform for digital twins that are physics driven, data driven or a hybrid.

When handling an expensive asset in a project, a digital twin can be used to collect/synthesize the data needed to predict when the asset could fail, essentially detecting the issues before it can occur. Failure is expensive, so knowing when the asset is going to fail, preventive maintenance can save time, money and lost productivity. In this instance, the failures can be simulated, and a dataset would be created to feed an algorithm for accurate failure prevention. The digital twin will provide accurate failure predictions without compromising the physical asset.

The greatest benefits to utilizing digital twin solutions are to:

  • Optimize product performance – develop better products, faster
  • Derive operational insight – gain valuable visibility into the in-service life of a product
  • Extend product life – know when and where to perform predictive maintenance or adjust it for extending the remaining useful life (RUL)


Building a smart, connected future

Every day I see companies rapidly evolving their products to have smart capabilities and these products have become a part of daily living. Connected solutions like these give companies the ability to collect data that can be used in the design process for a future model. As an example, connectivity can offer consumers the ability to have the most up-to-date firmware in their electronics and even their vehicles. Smart products capture data in real-time to understand how the asset is really used in order to improve the next generation of products.

Recently, our team at Altair helped Socomec, a leading provider of energy hardware solutions, transform itself from a manufacturing business to a service-oriented solution provider. The company found it was spending too much time identifying issues with its hardware in the field and, as part of its digital transformation strategy, wanted to monitor its energy hardware remotely, collect operational and usage data and ensure product connectivity. Socomec came to Altair tackle the implementation of complex power setups.

Now with Altair SmartWorks™, Socomec has experienced several benefits including:

  • Faster and greater efficiencies – quicker development time for its maintenance application
  • Easily configurable dashboards with product use information
  • Simple integration with existing services in their ecosystem for advanced analytics and data enrichment
  • Less ongoing system maintenance


It’s all about data

Collecting data has become a regular business practice, but despite the value of the data, often this information goes unused. Utilizing collected data will give real, practical insights to be used in the decision-making process. By employing innovative technologies like advanced data analytics in your business, a successful digital transformation initiative is attainable and beneficial.

Our team is readily available to help you in your digital transformation journey as we offer solutions to stitch together CAE, IoT, advanced data analytics, and digital twin. Learn more here.