I never thought I’d sit at home in front of a screen for most of a day (7 am CDT until 3:45 pm CDT) although part of the time I was on my iPhone driving to an errand still watching. In fact, I answered a survey from my friends at Rockwell marketing with a neutral-to-negative view of these virtual conferences. I was actually hoping for the trip to Boston. My wife and I celebrate one of those landmark anniversaries Friday, and I thought Boston would be a good place to celebrate. <sigh>

However, PTC assembled a great group of speakers. The internal speakers were professional quality presenters. Even the weakest presenter of the day was superior to many I see live. Of course product enhancements were emphasized, but thought leadership about where both PTC and Rockwell Automation were heading (Rockwell is an investor and CEO Blake Moret got the unenviable final speech slot) formed the backdrop.

PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann interwove his vision of the company and industry with a variety of product roadmaps and use case examples. To speak “PTC” one had best learn to spell “SaaS”. He enumerated four skills enhanced by cloud-based, or SaaS, applications. Mobility and resiliency; Flexibility–supply chain and production; Bringing digital technology to front-line workers; and, Remote Monitoring (something I’ve been talking to many people about lately).

Going forward, Heppelmann discussed adding AR to IoT and AI leading to “Spatial Computing” and “Spatial Analytics”. PTC has products and applications going in that direction. Listening to him, I immediately saw possibilities.

You can follow my Twitter thread (@garymintchell) for other thoughts of the day. Aside from PTC executives laying out product and application roadmaps, presentations relevant to the day and well done were from Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of Afectiva and author of Girl Decoded (excellent story told on Tim Ferriss blog) who discussed emotional intelligence for technology; Kimberly Bryant told the story of Black Girls CODE–powerful; Nir Eyal discussed ideas on product development from his book Hooked (but I preferred his book Indistractable); and Stacey Higgenbotham, who is the IoT journalist. I think I saw seven of the eight presentations. I think I need an adult beverage!

Moret talked of the many benefits Rockwell Automation has provided to customers through its partnership with PTC and acquisitions of PTC partners. Many years ago, I saw some demos of Rockwell working with CAD/PLM supplier trying to bring that technology and automation together. Siemens did it by acquiring UGS quite a few years ago. That integration seems to have succeeded, but it was rough going for a while. Meanwhile, aside from the important benefits of ThingWorx from PTC, OnShape, the CAD SaaS application, combined with Vuforia products, ThingWorx, and acquisitions in the simulation area potentially make Rockwell extremely competitive in that market.

I think we are seeing PTC and Rockwell Automation breaking out in a new way that is exciting.

[Note: I am an independent writer and thinker, not an analyst who it paid by the companies.]

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