Just before ringing in the new year, PTC announced the planned acquisition of ThingWorx, a company providing software tools for developers to connect intelligent devices on the internet. PTC intends to add the ThingWorx solutions to its own product portfolio and to integrate the technology into existing PTC offerings.
This is not a new issue for PTC. CEO James Heppelmann has been discussing issues surrounding smart, connected products, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the idea of servitization openly for some time.
Strategically, this adds capabilities which can be integrated into PTC Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Service Lifecycle Management (SLM) products. The ThingWorx solutions themselves will also be integrated into the PTC product family.
By providing tools to connect devices and to capture data streams of information, ThingWorx makes it easier to develop applications to, for example, keep products functioning in the field longer and to replace them before they fail. Given PTC's focus on tools to help manufacturing companies better service their products, ThingWorx fits naturally into the PTC strategic direction.
James Heppelmann points out that ThingWorx allows PTC to go to market immediately with IoT solutions which accelerates PTC advances in this market. The growth of this opportunity will continue to develop over the coming years.
ThingWorx is a tool for developing IoT applications as well as a runtime environment for these applications. ThingWorx tends to have long-life equipment producers as customers and this compliments well the PTC customer market.
PTC intends to operate the ThingWorx company independently and to maintain the ThingWorx branding. Russell Fadel will continue as the ThingWorx President.
Integrating Internet of Things (IoT) functions into PLM provides tremendous potential. Imagine having your PLM system connected to your products in the field, for example, the ability to manage software updates centrally from your PLM system. Likewise, SLM platforms benefit enormously with the ability to collect field data on products and devices over time and in real-time.
PTC wants to execute a two-pronged approach to the market. One is to allow ThingWorx to continue to develop the market potential outside of the PTC market segment and then integrate ThingWorx technology as fundamental capabilities of its core SLM and PLM products to offer off-the-shelf IoT, connected applications for existing PTC customers and target customers.