Monday, October 2, 2017

Digitizing engineering processes – the Munich PLM Symposium 2017

The second Munich PLM Symposium was held at the Munich University of Applied Sciences on  September 13, 2017. According to Prof. Dr. Vahid Salehi “to present the current applications and implementations with regard to digitization in science and industry and to present future potentials of the technologies.”
We at NTT DATA, as founding member of the MPLM Advisory Board, actively helped shape the event. At the booth, our experts from the Innovation & Product Lifecycle Management Competence Center were available for discussions with the around 100 participants.

Whitepaper Autonomous Drive

Our 80 pages in print whitepaper “When the car takes control – A look into the future of autonomous driving” raised special interest. With companies such as Audi, Autoliv, BMW, Dräxlmaier, MAN Truck & Bus, Osram, Porsche, Schaeffler and Volkswagen, some companies that are active in this strategic theme of the automotive industry were among the participants. In his presentation “Driving into Systems Engineering”, Thomas Kriegel from Audi gave a very clear picture of the systems involved, such as Cameras, radar, lidar, sensor fusion and actuators for longitudinal and lateral dynamics.


DevOps for PLM

In the presentation “State-of-the-art software engineering for PLM”, Dr. Andreas Nordgren from BMW and Jens Krueger from NTT DATA presented the current challenges and solutions for larger PLM implementation projects.
The introduction of PLM platforms in larger organizations is usually an extensive IT project with a high percentage of configuration and customizing. Even if current programming languages ​​such as Java are used for system extensions, the practices regarding software engineering and IT project management are rarely state-of-the-art. Agile methods, continuous integration or even DevOps are rarely used in practice. The TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of a PLM implementation is mainly determined by maintenance and operating costs (about 70-80%). However, the drivers for these high follow-up costs are already determined during the software development by architecture and design.
Dr. Andreas Nordgren reported on experiences in building a continuous integration pipeline for the PLM platform of the BMW Brilliance Automotive Joint Venture in China. In larger organizations and in longer-running projects, the transfer of code between different organizational units and subcontractors must also be considered. This can be achieved with development guidelines, code reviews, static code quality checks and structured knowledge transfer sessions.

NTT DATA Altemista – Best Practices for DevOps

In the presentation and on our booth, we presented our integrated DevOps platform for Siemens Teamcenter PLM for the first time. NTT DATA Altemista is an Openshift-based cloud platform with integrated development tools including source code management, build management, test automation including static code analysis and deployment. The cloud approach allows simple generation of new environments for development, testing and, if necessary, production with worldwide access.


With good organization and interesting presentations on “Digitization engineering processes”, Prof. Dr. Vahid Salehi has created a provider-independent conference, which serves the networking of PLM experts in southern Germany and beyond. We are looking forward to the Munich PLM Symposium 2018.

Note: cross-post from the NTT DATA blog at

Monday, March 20, 2017

The NTT R&D Forum 2017: holograms, smart shirts and artificial co-driver in the fog

In February 2017, I was really appreciative of the fact that our parent company NTT invests heavily into research & development. The 6.000 researchers used the opportunity to show their latest innovations at the NTT R&D Forum 2017 in Tokyo. This year, I was hosting our customers from an automotive OEM, responsible for engineering and production IT. And we didn’t regret coming all the way from Germany to Tokyo – what an innovation festival.
The 3-day event took place in the NTT R&D center in Musashino, Tokyo – close to our NTT DATA headquarter with a stunning view over Tokyo. The construction works for the Olympic Games in 2020 are in progress and we are hoping for an open stadium right in front of our office.

Tokyo view from NTT DATA office – 36th floor


Immersive telepresence with Kirari

With this title, we weren’t prepared for what was presented. We took our places in a theatre-like room. As the lights were dimmed, a holographic judo match appeared on the stage, followed by a kabuki performance. The 3D visualization – without glasses – gave us a feeling as if we were there. Unfortunately, Youtube does not even come close to this experience – but take a look over here. When the lights came back, we realized that we are not on board of Star Trek and learned that a number of technologies are required for this stunt: source material in 4k resolution at 60 fps from multiple angles and surround audio, robust and accurate image extraction, fast streaming of the data from the remote location to the theatre, a very wide screen for a 180 degree view and video stitching for the reproduction of the images.


A wearable vital sensing fabric called Hitoe

And again, the title didn’t really prepare us for this innovation. Hitoe, a T-shirt with sensors for heartbeat, electrocardiogram waveforms and accelerometer data. After the wireless transmission through an IoT gateway system, the data can e.g. be used for health monitoring of workers at construction sites and automated industrial plants. Other use cases are in sports, have a look at the Indycar 500 racing car application of Hitoe.

Smart T-shirt Hitoe


Artificial intelligence for humans

Our next presenter was a cute little guy called Sota.

Pretty intelligent robot Sota – powered by corevo AI

In fact, he was built into a car and used his “heart-touching-AI” for natural dialogues and sensing the driver’s fatigue level. This led to motherly statements such as “It sounds like you did not sleep well yesterday. Do not push yourself, drive carefully.” It could also predict intentions of the driver (“Are you headed to Shin-Yokohama? There is a new curry shop”) and maintain a natural dialogue according to the driver’s situation. All this led to a very comfortable and safe drive.
One strength of corevo AI is the advanced audio processing with noise canceling that delivers clean signals required for robust speech recognition. In addition to improved audio conferences or call center applications, this technology was also used for anomaly detection in manufacturing processes. By filtering-out the noise from the actual manufacturing operation, the machine can be monitored and maintained more efficiently.


Fog computing on the edge

The Internet of Things was one of the focus topics at the NTT R&D Forum, bringing together our strengths in IT and communication technology. As IoT devices such as cars can produce massive amounts of data, fog computing uses intermediate ICT between the IoT devices and the cloud for pre-processing of data – the edge devices. We saw solutions for monitoring and Docker-based application delivery to the edge devices. We also saw an IoT data sharing platform based on the oneM2M, providing a unified interface to access the IoT data services from multiple domains.


Tokyo 2020

Of course, there were other things that the NTT colleagues were proud of and substantiating our claim of NTT DATA as the “Global IT Innovator”: IoT security could be greatly enhanced with multi-factor & continuous authentication, cyber threat analysis, spoofing prevention even when offline, IoT traffic anomaly detection etc..
But we are especially looking forward to the 5G mobile network technology with 375 Mbps, to be available in 2020. We then definitely need to check back on this in Tokyo and might also follow some Olympic events from our office window…

Note: cross-post from the NTT DATA blog at 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Digitalization of product development

180 experts for IT in the product development process met on September 22, 2016 in the Continental Arena in Regensburg, Germany.

The ProSTEP-iViP association had invited to the 2nd JT Day. With the slogan „Engineering Digitalization with JT“, it used a hype topic which André Radon, Director IT Productprocess for the VW Group, took up: “I started as a software developer for CAD and have been working on the digitalization of the product development ever since. So what is new about digitalization?” His answer: connecting data islands and the integration of processes. VW uses the lightweight JT format e.g. for plant simulations with more than 100 complete cars in the process and does virtual assembly simulations with current product data.

Digital Transformation Enabler

JT is not a file format, but a “Digital Transformation Enabler” said Dr. Siegmar Haasis, CIO Research & Development at Mercedes-Benz Cars. He speaks from experience, as Daimler started very early with generating JT data from 3D CAD models and now manages about 17 million JT files in its PDM system. This was the basis to save on physical prototypes – cost of up to 1 million EURO per piece in the early development phase – using digital mockups. It also allowed several downstream processes to be based on the neutral, open 3D format JT instead of on proprietary CAD formats. Among the presented use cases was the communication between different CAD systems / versions (CATIA and NX) in the joint venture with Renault-Nissan and some virtual reality applications. Complex wire harness models can be more effectively worked on using 1:1 scale models with VR glasses.


At the end of 2012, the JT specification was published as ISO 14306. With the broad adoption by German automotive OEM’s and suppliers, it also became the de-facto standard for the digitalization of product development. The VDA (association of the German automotive industry) recently published the recommendation VDA 5601 for the JT Industrial Application Package V2 (JTIAP). This addressed some innovations over the ISO standard while protecting investments. It remains open whether the desire for support of JT in the gaming engine Unity will be heard. But Microsoft and Siemens practiced the handshake for 3D printing: Siemens will implement conversion from JT to 3MF, the Microsoft format for 3D printing. Thus the digitalization circle is closed – the digital product data can become concrete products.

Note: cross-post from the NTT DATA blog at

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Innovation – the NTT I3 way

In March 2015, Srini Koushik as the President and CEO of the NTT Innovation Institute in Palo Alto visited us in Munich before his keynote presentation for a customer workshop. I took this opportunity to do an interview on his view on innovation & product lifecycle management.

Srini, please introduce yourself to our readers.
I was both a developer of technology and consumer of technology. My background is more in “applied innovation” than core innovation. My focus has always been on how to use technology to improve things in enterprise settings. I started as a developer at IBM research and global services, became an architect and a distinguished engineer and ended up writing a couple of books, e.g. “Patterns for eBusiness” in 2001. Then I went on to be CIO & CTO at Nationwide Insurance for close to 10 years. The whole focus shifted from developing technologies to applying technology in an enterprise setting.
Srini Koushik, President & CEO of NTT Innovation Institute Inc.

So with the combined role of CIO & CTO, you contributed to the core business of the company?
That’s one of the changes that I was pushing for at Nationwide because I think IT in many places tends to be more of a support function and not integrated into the core of the business. I think for today’s digital businesses, IT has to be part of the core business. That’s a change a lot of CIOs are beginning to recognize. For a company to be successful, IT has to move away from being that order-taker / enabler role to someone who is actually involved with and driving the innovation in the business.

Who is driving innovation for digital businesses – IT or the business?
In the best case, it is a collaborative approach. The big shift I see in successful companies is IT moving away from saying “no” most of the time because of cost, standards, security etc. and helping to drive innovation in the business. On the other hand, the business is realizing they cannot be market leaders without technology.

What is the Mission of the NTT Innovation Institute Inc. (NTT i3, pronounced NTT i-cubed)?
We have 2 objectives: the 1st one is to help increase revenue for our operating companies (NTT DATA, NTT Communications, Dimension Data). We do this by the development of platforms for cloud and security and others. We don’t take these platforms to market directly, but through the operating companies.
The 2nd objective is to make sure that NTT Group is viewed as a global innovator. In order to do that, we have to do the R&D and forward looking research that helps position all of us as thought leaders in the market place.

NTT Innovation Institute Inc.

Tell us about the NTT i3 approach on innovation.
Well, we believe in applied R&D – as discussed earlier - and open innovation. Innovation is not something you can do in one single place, you can’t have a center that does innovation for you. By definition, innovation comes from merging of ideas from different places. Sometimes it comes from our employees, sometimes it comes from our customers or competitors. We make sure that we have a completely open view on where we’re going to get the ideas from.

How do you think about intellectual property protection in this open innovation approach?
All of us who have been in corporate settings have been taught to become convergent thinkers: here is a problem – how do I solve it? You define alternatives and narrow them down to a solution. We believe that innovation is a divergent process. Some of the best innovative solutions come from the combination of ideas, e.g. someone from the financial services industry listening to an automotive expert and modifying the concepts just a little bit for his environment. We believe in going out and listening to as many solutions as possible. Instead of narrowing them down to solutions, we try to build upon them.
Only when you get into the implementation of a specific solution, then you want to protect the IP. One of the reasons why Silicon Valley works so well is the spirit of “no patents in the early ideation phase”.

What else is so special about Silicon Valley as an innovation environment?
A key to success is the availability of experts and their willingness to spend time with each other. There are hundreds of people ready to help you. They may be billionaires who started up other companies and competitors, but everyone will take the time to sit down with you and share ideas. But after you get there, it’s a race. Everyone is trying to figure out how to implement that idea. The ability to execute on ideas is key.
A lot of large companies make mistakes when they setup these labs in Silicon Valley and implement the same management model as in their home countries. They bring their company culture into the valley and expect different results. I think it’s important to recognize that when you’re coming into the valley, you have to have a good mix of people and cultures. People from Germany and Japan have a lot of shared culture in terms of engineering discipline and quality, but this can also get into the way of innovation. Because you deliver quality by eliminating variability, but innovation by definition is challenging this process.

What are the focus topics for NTT i3?
We are focused on applied R&D for cloud, security and network function virtualization. We are not very big, so we focus on research in specific emerging areas such as machine learning and Internet of Things. We actually call it a social network of things because we believe that these devices don’t act in isolation, they actually collaborate with one another and they share information, so it is very much like a social network.

How do you organize your team at NTT i3?
If you truly believe in the divergent thinking approach then you have to build a team made up of people from different backgrounds. So I have a lot of really good scientists, they are experts in security, machine learning etc. But I also have 10-12 people on my team with very little technology background. As an example, I just hired a person with three degrees in nano technologies, so that he can sit down with the rest of my team and they can combine ideas.

How do you transfer your results to the operating companies?
We have different maturity across the globe in terms of using our technology. A key to success is speed to market, so we cannot develop our platforms and then spend one year on training. Instead, we are identifying the areas and people with the right skills to bring our technologies to the market. This is definitely work-in-progress and we appreciate any input from our operating companies to improve this process.

What is your view on the relationship between innovation and product development?
Innovation is a divergent process, product development has to be a convergent process because you cannot work on 20 ideas in parallel and deliver results. The one thing I would like to add to this is that continuous innovation has to be integrated into the product development process. Most of our products are software platforms. This field changes so quickly, that we cannot afford 12-18 months product development cycles, so we have to incorporate continuous innovation into the product development. We have this in common with the automotive industry, they also have to make sure that the product stays current in 3-4 year development cycles. In NTT i3, we use a process called “agile product lifecycle management”. It allows us to constantly look at changes in the market and work that into the overall process. The stage 1 is about ideation and proof of concepts. Once that is done, we create the “minimum viable product” and put it in front of our customers to get feedback. We iterate through this stage 2 frequently. After that, we take the product to general availability. These concepts are not only valid for software development, but can be applied to other product development settings.

Thank you very much, Srini. How can we get more information?
Please visit our website on for access to our publications and views on digital business. I’m also available on Twitter as @skoushik.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

TCO of PLM – Impressions from the ProSTEP-iViP Symposium 2014

TCO of PLM – Impressions from the ProSTEP-iViP Symposium 2014

On May 13-14, 2014, my favorite PLM conference in Germany took place in the Berlin Congress Center at the Alexanderplatz. 

I’ve been attending this conference for the last 20 years and represent NTT DATA in the ProSTEP-iViP association. This year was another success, with more than 500 participants. Dassault and Brose were the main sponsors, NTT DATA actively contributed with a booth and a presentation.

Total cost of ownership of PLM
In a joint presentation with Airbus, we reported on a project to create a TCO model for PLM. Following the motto “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”, the Airbus PLM TCO model was created in order to steer changes of the PLM architecture by understanding the TCO impact of alternatives. In order to create detailed cost models for PROJECT mode, but more importantly for RUN mode, we reviewed algorithmic estimation models based on COCOMO, e.g. COSYSMO (systems engineering) and COCOTS (COTS commercial-off-the-shelf). These models provide insight into the significant differences between custom-developed PLM solutions vs. COTS. The concept of “technical debt” was presented as a major factor in TCO and obsolescence control. Early investments into PLM software quality as well as preventive and perfective maintenance activities are the main levers to manage technical debt.

ProSTEP-iViP goes global
Although the ProSTEP-iViP asscociation was founded as a German entity, the mission of enabling global collaboration and standardization requires global reach. In 2014, the ramp-up of relationships with Japan is the first priority. A meeting with Toyota on topics such as the JT neutral, lightweight geometry format and the code of PLM openness (CPO) confirmed this priority. As NTT DATA, we are looking into opportunities to support this mission with our Japanese colleagues.

PS: this is a cross-posting from the original post in the NTT DATA blog 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Strategie für PLM-Standardsoftware

Product Lifecycle Management-Plattformen sind – neben ERP und CRM – ein Eckpfeiler moderner Unternehmens-IT. Gleichzeitig hat aktuelle PLM-Standardsoftware einen hohen Reifegrad erreicht, so dass in vielen Unternehmen die Ablösung der ersten Generation von PLM (-Individualentwicklungen) geplant wird. Eine tragfähige Lösung kann nur geschaffen werden, wenn die Spezifika von PLM-Standardsoftware in der PLM-Strategie berücksichtigt werden. So kann mit einer dedizierten PLM COTS Policy (commercial-off-the-shelf) zum Beispiel der große Block der Wartungs- und Betriebskosten nachhaltig gesenkt werden. Oder es können Risiken bzgl. Herstellerabhängigkeit gezielt adressiert werden.

Herausforderungen beim Einsatz von PLM-Standardsoftware

Die Entscheidung für PLM-Standardsoftware ist oft ein Paradigmenwechsel, der als solcher erkannt und gemanagt werden muss. Wenn vorher mit Individualentwicklungen jede Anforderung der kreativen Benutzer erfüllt werden konnte,  ist nun ein ständiger Abgleich zwischen Anforderungen und den Möglichkeiten der Software nötig. Damit diese Kluft nicht zu groß wird, müssen die Ziele und Prioritäten des PLM-Anbieters mit der eigenen PLM-Stategie zusammen passen bzw. passend gemacht werden. Dies ist bei großen Anbietern nicht einfach und erfordert abgestimmtes Vorgehen zwischen IT, Fachbereichen und Einkauf.

Optimierter Einsatz von PLM-Standardsoftware durch eine PLM COTS Policy

Ein Architekturprinzip wie „buy over make“ ist ein guter Anfang. Allerdings muss das Prinzip operationalisiert werden, z.B. durch Trainings für Projektleiter und Architekten oder durch Checklisten für die Betriebsfähigkeit einer Lösung.
Eine gute PLM COTS Policy zeichnet sich unter anderem durch folgende Punkte aus:
-         Strategisches Alignment: durch Deduktion aus der PLM-Strategie entsteht eine PLM COTS Policy, die nachweisbaren Nutzen für das Unternehmen bringt
-         Differenzierung: innovative, wettbewerbs-differenzierende Lösungen können nicht immer mit Standardsoftware geschaffen werden. Eine gute COTS Policy liefert Entscheidungskriterien für Abweichungen von „buy over make“.
-         Integration in EAM: die COTS Policy schafft Wege zur Zielbebauung gemäß Enterprise Architecture Management
-         Integration in Sourcing und VRM: Einkauf und Vendor Risk Management sind erfolgskritische Prozesse beim Einsatz von PLM-Standardsoftware

Entwicklung einer PLM COTS Policy

Die PLM COTS Policy lässt sich in drei Ebenen strukturieren.

Neben der strategischen und der operativen Ebene ist insbesondere die mittlere Ebene „pro PLM Bebauungscluster“ wichtig. Hier werden zum Beispiel Lead-Applikationen für MCAD und ECAD definiert oder die TDM-Strategie für das Simulationsdatenmanagement detailliert.
Als Beispiel für die operative Ebene seien Software-Entwicklungsrichtlinien genannt, die auf die Besonderheiten einer PLM-Plattform wie Teamcenter, ENOVIA oder Windchill eingehen. Durch explizite Richtlinien zu Namenskonventionen, Struktur, Pattern etc. sowie durch entsprechende Check-Tools kann die Software-Qualität sichergestellt werden. Dies ist gerade dann wichtig, wenn das PLM-Entwicklungsteam heterogen zusammengesetzt ist oder die Teammitglieder häufig wechseln.

Haben Sie Interesse an diesem Thema? Sprechen Sie uns an! Oder besuchen Sie uns am Stand auf dem ProSTEP-iViP Symposium am 16. und 17. April 2013 in Hannover. Im Vortrag „Product data is our main asset“ werden wir gemeinsam mit Airbus über Erfahrungen bei der Nutzung von PLM-Standardsoftware in großen Unternehmen berichten.

(Cross posting from NTT DATA EMEA Blog)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Terminal Tango: Aerospace and Automotive PLM

Same procedure as every year: on May 9-10, 2012, more than 450 PLM experts met at the
ProSTEP-iViP Symposium in „Terminal Tango”, in order to exchange experiences regarding Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

As a former terminal of the Hamburg airport, this location was fitting the main sponsor Airbus. This year’s motto was „Managing Globalization - Processes and Systems“. The event provided plenty of information for this: more than 40 presentations in three parallel tracks.

Besides managing out NTT DATA booth, I was able to contribute a presentation together with Airbus’ „Head of PLM Architecture“. We presented our experiences in Enterprise Architecture Management for Airbus PLM.

Airbus PLM architecture in short
PLM architecture at Airbus is complex. After 12 years development time, an aircraft model is produced over 30 years and operated for another 40 years. The product data must be managed over this lifecycle of 70 years – including supplier data in the extended enterprise. The digital 3D model of an A380 (DMU: Digital MockUp) consists of more than one million parts. Different PLM suites for A380 + SA/LR, A400M and A350 are grown historically.

The challenge was to optimize this PLM landscape: current versions of standard software should be used; processes and systems should be harmonized; product data as the main asset should be protected over the lifecycle. On the PLM architecture level, these objectives are supported by using EAM methods and tools. We modeled for example processes, functions and business objects – next to the application architecture – in order to specify Airbus’ requirements for a target PLM landscape. Architecture principles were used to translate the Airbus PLM vision into concrete guidelines and decision criteria.

Aerospace and Automotive
This year was coined by a strong aerospace presence in the traditionally automotive-heavy ProSTEP-iViP association. Besides a dedicated Airbus booth there were 11 aerospace presentations, among them a keynote by the Airbus CIO Guus Dekkers.
There were more commonalities than differences between the two industries. Still, large DMU for an aircraft with more than one million parts has other performance challenges than a digital car mockup with 10.000 parts. On the other hand, aircraft cabin development can profit from customer-centric development methods in automotive.
Question: could you give an example of female-specific requirements in cabin design?
Answer (quote): “how do I know – I’m not female, either” J

The next ProSTEP-iViP-Symposium will be held on April 16-17, 2013 in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen and Siemens PLM will be the main sponsors.