Introduction, growth, maturity and decline — every professional who has read any management book can tell you that these are the four pillars of a product life cycle. But as emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics and internet of things are becoming an integral part of organisations, the very product life cycle is on the cusp of evolution.
To discuss this ground-breaking phenomenon, Altair, a global tech company that provides software and cloud solutions in the areas of product development, high-performance computing and data intelligence, recently held their annual Though Leadership programme with the theme: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Product Life Cycle.
The event revolved around the discussion about how and why engineering applications are successfully employing the use of ML to give products a competitive edge. Industry leaders from noted organisations such as Bosch, Mercedes-Benz, GE and Aptiv, among others, discussed how AI and ML are changing the way products are being designed and how organisations are now looking to leverage the transformative power of these emerging technologies.
Altair who has worked with all the above-mentioned companies is a noted provider of enterprise-class engineering software enabling innovation, reduced development times, and lower costs through the entire product lifecycle from concept design to in-service operation. Their simulation-driven approach to innovation is powered by their integrated suite of software which optimises design performance across multiple disciplines encompassing structures, motion, fluids, thermal management, electromagnetics, system modelling and embedded systems, while also providing data analytics and true-to-life visualisation and rendering.
Manu Saale, managing director and CEO at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development India Pvt. Ltd, said, “James was just asking me that if I had ever dreamt two years ago that I’d be at this conference talking about AI, I’d have said no… This digital tsunami, which is driven by AI, is now revolutionising the automotive industry, after changing the faces of other sectors like e-commerce, IT and medicine, among others.” Saale added that for Daimler, AI had redefined the business model in many ways and that they fully expected to see their future product portfolio significantly changed by AI.
Sharing his organisation’s experience in the emerging tech world, Alok Nanda, CEO at GE India Technology Centre and CTO at GE South Asia, said, “Our motivation is two-fold — increase in productivity and the potential for growth. The products that will now come out will be powered by digital insight and they’d be much more profitable and would create new and innovative revenue opportunities.” Nanda added that GE firmly believed that over the next 5-10 years (if not earlier), there won’t be any product which will not be touched by AI in some way or the other.
The Indian arm of $396 million global software firm Altair, is one of the leaders in its space and also ranks in the top 3 markets in Asia.
James R Scapa, the chairman and CEO at Altair talked about smart business and product design. He said that the four overarching key points that Altair was inculcating were:
- Global evolution towards smart, connected everything
- Drive for an increased variety of products with higher quality and better aesthetics
- Massive exploration of ideas driving the need for advanced HPC and cloud
- The convergence of data intelligence and simulation
Scapa added, “We have customers spanning across sectors like automotive, aerospace, rail, shipping to industrial machinery industry and electronics and consumer goods, creating an unbelievably wide variety of products and developing technologies. Our goal is to help them design better and ease their decision-making process. We at Altair have always been all about applying simulations and optimisation because that was a big differentiator for us. But over the years we have realised that artificial intelligence and machine learning are going to be a crucial component of that journey — not just in design, but throughout the product life cycle.”