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PTC 2022 Predictions: Agility, Automation and Additive will be Key Drivers

vmblog predictions 2022 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2022.  Read them in this 14th annual series exclusive.

Agility, Automation and Additive will be Key Drivers

By Jon Hirschtick, Executive Vice President (EVP) at PTC and general manager (GM) of its Onshape and Atlas divisions 

As we enter the new year, it's clear that businesses and consumers alike will be more open to adopting technologies to get things done in new ways and from anywhere. Yes, we will still be living in the shadows of the pandemic. Based on my regular interaction with our customers, some of the world's leading product designers and manufacturers, I believe that in 2022 these three 3A's will become key business drivers: Agility, Automation and Additive.

Let me explain.

Agility will be the key to competitiveness: The pandemic showed us the importance of business agility. Companies that were able to pivot fast thrived. From large retailers to mom-and-pop restaurants, those that quickly adapted to offer curbside deliveries and contactless ordering are still standing. Similarly, many engineers adopted modern design platforms and evolved their product design process to be what might be called "agile everything" to adapt to the changing world. For example, Dixie Iron Works provided 3D printers so their engineers working from home could use Onshape to collaboratively design in real-time, print tangible items to quickly vet ideas and ultimately get products to market faster. To deal with the chip shortage, the engineers at Tesla developed new firmware that allowed them to source new chips from different suppliers. In today's digital era, organizations must be willing and equipped to adapt to rapid changes in almost everything: which products they make, who's on their teams, locations, supply chains, quantities, shortages, costs, and many other things. To do so, they must have the right technologies and processes in place to collaborate and innovate in real time. Yes, agility is the new competitive edge.

Automation will become mainstream: Whether due to people quitting in hoards, or the Great Resignation, or the relentless need for lower costs, or the desire to reduce human contact in the COVID world, almost all industries - from manufacturing to healthcare to transportation - are facing skills shortages, placing additional pressure on current employees. While business leaders have to find ways to stop employees from leaving the workforce, they also have to run their businesses and meet customer demands. So, to fill today's skills-gap, we'll see greater adoption of automation, creating a world of cobots where robots and humans will co-exist and collaborate. In 2022, expect continued reinvention of more areas of the services industry, which will require innovative thinking and the adoption of cloud product development platforms to quickly design new automation. More restaurants will have a combination of self-serve and automation - from QR codes to order from the menu to food cooked and served by robots. Self-driving cars will gain in popularity, especially since they can improve fuel efficiency by 10% and reduce CO2 emissions by 42 million metric tons a year. In short, we'll soon get used to seeing a fleet of autonomous vehicles delivering packages, self-driving cars whizzing by in the lane next to you and unmanned aerial vehicles or drones providing emergency response.

Additive will boost innovation: Additive manufacturing, like cloud-native, has changed the manufacturing landscape. Also called 3D printing, additive has made us rethink innovation and transformed the way we design and accelerate product development. To keep their supply chain flexible, companies may shift to digital inventory and on-demand manufacturing. In fact, given the disruption in the supply chain and the growing demand for medical supplies during the pandemic, we'll see the popularity of additive manufacturing skyrocket in 2022 and beyond. In fact, the global 3D printing market is expected to grow to $34.8 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 22.5%. Other factors that will drive demand include ever-improving part quality, availability of new materials and government investments in 3D printing projects. For innovators, these emerging additive technologies and high-performance materials will allow them to create and test functional prototypes and get products to market faster than ever.

Bottomline: The silver lining of the pandemic is the availability and adoption of a variety of digital platforms, whether we work from home, in an office or sometimes both. Each tool provides new benefits and new workflows - from cloud-native platforms that allow you to design in real-time to emerging tech that can accelerate product innovation. It's now up to every innovator and business leader to take advantage of the right platforms, processes and people to boost their competitive edge.




A technology pioneer and entrepreneur, Jon Hirschtick is passionate about empowering innovators so they can design products that positively impact society and the planet. He understands the challenges engineers face as they build products for the modern era, as well as the design platforms required to accelerate product innovation in today's connected world.

Founder of Onshape and SOLIDWORKS, Hirschtick is now executive vice president (EVP) at PTC and general manager (GM) of its Onshape and Atlas divisions, responsible for driving strategy and growth, while empowering global businesses to shape the future.

Published Thursday, February 03, 2022 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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