This week, I was in Boston for LiveWorx, PTC's Internet of Things (IoT) industry event, where we heard from speakers like Michael Porter (Harvard Professor and most famous strategist of our time), Steve Wozniak (The Woz, who cofounded Apple), and Charlie Baker (Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts), in addition to Jim Heppelmann (PTC CEO) and many PTC executives and customers.
In short, the event felt like 1998 again.
As in 1998, the hallways were buzzing with ideas and dreams of what is now possible with the latest technologies. There were repeated predictions of industry transformations and the demise of companies as they currently exist. There were recommendations to forge forward and not be left behind while waiting to monetize the ideas. And, there was a hackathon, which had college students and professionals collaborating all night to create working high-tech solutions to feed the hungry, save the blind from traffic accidents, and help people through catastrophic events like Boston's recent snowy winter.
Unlike 1998, though, there were thousands of years of accumulated technology expertise to temper the enthusiasm, challenge assumptions, and recognize the ideas that are most likely to create business value. There was a battle-hardened desire to prove concepts through technology demonstrations and rapid experiments. Everyone was connected with easy access to other information sources to validate and refine understanding of what is possible. And, no one was distracted by a looming Y2K bug threatening to crash the whole system.
PTC and their many partners described and demonstrated compelling concepts, including many from PTC's growing war chest of IoT capabilities afforded by more than $500 million in recent investments in IoT development and acquisitions, including ThingWorx, Axeda, and now ColdLight.
In the demonstrations, the combination of PTC's traditional CAx, PLM, ALM, and SLM solutions with new IoT capabilities transformed from alphabet soup to powerful tools. A few of these tools were connected product management (CPM), digital twins, augmented reality, and the new ThingWorx Converge platform that connects devices with PTC's applications and existing ERP, CRM, and other enterprise applications.
The most compelling stories, though, were from companies that are already using PTC's IoT solutions. Most started by creating proofs of concept that were completed in only a few weeks, far faster than was possible in 1998. And, every one that I talked to described how easy it was to create solutions once their businesses figured out what they wanted to do.
I am excited to ride this wave, and I am glad to see PTC making such a strong commitment to being a leader in this industry.