In today’s fiercely competitive and consumer–driven marketplace, organizations are continuously challenged to deliver better, cost-efficient and faster–to–market products. The recipe to remain successful is to continuously innovate. It is critical for companies to question status quo and ponder upon questions such as: Can we create a culture of innovation? Can we ensure every member of the organization is encouraged to share information/ideas? Can collaboration become part of the regular workflow?
Collaboration is the key to Innovation. Forward thinking organizations are already acknowledging this fact and are continuously investing in building ecosystems to foster innovation.
“Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Altair 365 (Figure 1) has been purposely–built from the ground up to support innovation through collaboration. It provides a visually interactive environment for product designers/innovators to collaborate. It also provides instant, on-demand access to Altair’s best–in–class simulation tools and high-performance computing resources for unlimited design exploration.
Here are the top 5 reasons Altair 365 can truly help organizations through their digital transformation journey and improve their product innovation process. Let’s explore them in detail:
1. Instant and Ubiquitous Access
The millennial effect of a connected workforce requires the productivity tools and the data to be instantly accessible in a secure fashion from everywhere, and on every device. The instant access to tools/data provides flexibility to maintain a good work life balance and freedom to conduct business from a motivating and supportive environment. The outcome of working in such an environment produces differentiated, well-designed, high-quality products launched faster into the market. It also enables human cloud, crowd sourcing or social innovation that is bringing together many hunches and individuals with varied expertise to work on a single innovation.
With just a browser and an internet connection, Altair 365 users can access Altair’s best in class, incredibly broad portfolio of simulation tools from anywhere, any time, and on any device. One of the key differentiators of Altair 365 is to support the complete design process right from the ideation stage, all the way to manufacturing feasibility (Figure 2) in a single unified visually collaborative environment.
An idea can strike in the middle of the night, during vacation, or over a cup of coffee. Using Altair 365 to convert that idea into a digital prototype is just a few clicks away.
A colleague of mine proudly narrated how he and his friends helped a group of farmers by designing a smart farm gate grader (equipment used to separate dirt & debris from food grains (Figure 3) while sitting with them and using his smartphone to provide internet connectivity to access Altair 365. This is a great example of how easily accessible tools can drive social innovation.
Altair 365’s goal is to empower product innovators to utilize their full potential by bringing the required resources at their fingertips. Our digital future is about improving productivity as well as enjoying a better quality of life together!
2. Managing Design Ideas and Data
During the design process in a product development organization, it is quite common to find various files generated in different formats by multiple simulation tools while editing and analyzing designs. These files are often a huge blob of data containing vital information regarding product behavior, performance, validation and design processes, but are not necessarily searchable and classifiable. Engineers and designers spend nearly 40% of their time searching for the correct data to simulate and validate performance. Delayed communication regarding design changes results in many simulations being done on obsolete data causing wastage of human time and compute resources.
Built on top of Altair’s HyperWorks® technology, Altair 365’s extensive meta data extraction framework automatically extracts metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) from these files and stores them in an easily searchable database. Data digitization is the first step towards digital transformation. As and when contents are created in the system, data extraction happens automatically without disturbing the user’s typical workflow. This frees expensive human resources from non-value-added tasks of data capture, classification, tagging, attribution, and lets them focus on design, interpretation and analysis. This metadata can further be queried, filtered, prepared and wrangled to be used for creating predictive and prescriptive machine learning models.
Additionally, users can create multiple versions and branches (Figure 4) of a project to save intermediate milestones or design alternatives during the development process. This allows users to freely investigate multiple design options without worrying about overwriting but still maintain the traceability to the initial design.
3. Enable Cloud Scale Computing Capability
Analysts and designers are forced to limit their design studies to fixed size computing resources as it is not economically feasible for the organizations to build and maintain large on-premise data centers for peak workloads. On-premise resources are not easily scalable and cannot be updated frequently to leverage the rapid advancements in high performance computing architecture. Product innovation is expedited through design exploration and to remain competitive, organizations must bridge this gap by considering alternatives such as cloud scale computing which offers multiple advantages; reduced capital expenses and access to the latest computing resources.
Altair 365 provides on-demand access to a virtually infinite pool of high-performance computing resources including the latest hardware (both CPUs and GPUs) thereby enabling users to explore multiple design variants, simulate high fidelity models and complex multi physics scenarios. Altair’s Multiphysics solvers are highly scalable and can effectively utilize high end computing resources to considerably reduce the simulation time e.g. A full car crash simulation can be done in almost 1/3rd of the time by running Altair Radioss™ on 60 CPU cores compared to 24 CPU cores (Figure 5). The reduced time coupled with opportunities to simulate multiphysics often leads to better designs and competitive advantage.
4. Fearless and Confident Collaboration
Modern product development is highly demanding due to complex functional and regulatory requirements. As the mandate from executive management is to reduce costs with faster time to market, product designers must collaborate with cross functional teams to achieve these goals. The teams are often geographically distributed across multiple time zones; therefore, it is critical for them to have access to a platform that allows them to easily share models and results in a reliable, secure, and visual fashion. The system should keep track of the changes and provide full transparency and traceability of the information throughout the design and validation process.
Altair 365 is purpose-built to foster easy, secure collaboration among users by providing real-time notifications, instant and reliable access to the correct data, an efficient way of commenting and marking up models and projects for review and approval processes (Figure 6).
It is amazingly simple to share models with users within teams, and any changes to the model are immediately visible to all team members who can review and provide feedback simultaneously without overwriting changes. The built-in role-based access control enables users to collaborate freely without worrying about losing their data or intellectual property to unauthorized users.
“Altair’s professional services division Altair ProductDesign is using Altair 365 to collaborate with its customers. We find it extremely easy to securely share the models with the customer project teams and let them review/comment live on the model without waiting for a formal review meeting.” Ed Wettlaufer, PDD Technical Manager
5. A Disruptive Business Model
Although there is a growing trend towards complete cloud adoption, due to data security and regulatory requirements, many organizations are taking a more cautious approach with hybrid environments. Traditional business models that work well for desktop software and on-premise installations are not suitable for cloud or hybrid environments. These models need to be enhanced or completely redesigned to support license portability across on-premise and cloud deployments. They must allow license usage independent of location and devices for customers to take full advantage of the mobility offered by software as a service (SaaS) solutions. Cloud solutions promise unlimited computing capacity to support design exploration, but the success and pace of adoption largely depends on the business model of the SaaS providers.
Altair 365’s friendly licensing model makes it very easy to get started with the platform. Users don’t need to worry about purchasing an extra subscription or different types of tokens. The same solidThinking units which they have been using for Altair desktop products can be used to leverage cloud applications and services within Altair 365. Users are free to choose the applications, the solvers they want to run, the resources they need and for however long they are required. The units are checked out from the pool while the cloud services are in use and checked-in as soon as the job or session is finished. This portability and mobility of licensing units across desktop and cloud provides tremendous value to customers and is unique in the Industry.
The Altair 365 mission is to enable the makers of today and tomorrow to realize their dream at their convenience! Anywhere, Anytime and on Any Device!
With the recent acquisitions of cutting-edge technologies such as Altair SimSolid™, Altair SmartWorks™ and Altair Knowledge Works™, Altair is well positioned to evolve Altair 365 as “The Platform for Digital Transformation” to support our customers in their journey towards a digital future.
I encourage you to try Altair 365, and provide your feedback to help us improve, so that we can better assist you. To learn more about Altair 365 please visit https://solidthinking.com/product/altair365/. Stay tuned for further updates over the next few months, as there is great progress underway in the next generation of Altair 365.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Patna, India and a Master’s degree in Structural Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India