PTC ThingWorx

Introduction to Internet of Things (IoT)

A recent development, the IoT is a digital platform that allows different manufacturing resources and objects to be embedded with actuators, digital services and sensors. Since the embedded objects are connected together, it facilitates data collection and exchange between them. In essence, the IoT is about the transformation of any physical object into a digital data product. Once a sensor is attached to a physical object, it starts functioning like a digital product; emitting data about its usage, location and state. Additionally, it can be tracked, controlled, personalized and upgraded remotely. This IoT framework aids in object to object communication and sharing of data through the enhanced connectivity between physical objects, services and systems. This connectivity has proven to be very useful for varied industries in achieving automation for various purposes such as machining, heating, space lighting and remote monitoring. With time and advancements, IoT has grown in stature and is now regarded as a larger convergence of certain cutting edge technologies including machine learning, data analytics and wireless standards. As IoT comes of age, traditional areas that are linked to our daily lives will be greatly affected by IoT based technologies.

Introduction to Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
Industrial IoT (IIoT) is IoT applied to industrial manufacturing. As IIot technology gains widespread acceptability in industries, various platforms are being developed by stalwart software companies for successful implementation of this intelligent manufacturing. These IIoT platforms have the ability to access, manage and control product-related data, information and knowledge. One such powerful platform from PTC is ThingWorx.

PTC ThingWorx
The ThingWorx platform is a complete, end-to-end technology platform designed for the industrial Internet of Things (IoT). It delivers tools and technologies that empower businesses to rapidly develop and deploy powerful applications and augmented reality (AR) experiences.

PTC acquired ThingWorx in 2014, and then integrated it with its internet based PLM program, resulting in one of the major IIot platforms in the world today. It was developed using a model-drive and ground-up approach. ThingWorx incorporates a number of drag and drop tools that enables the end users to address the requirements of the desired application. PTC ThingWorx is developed using a number of algorithms that aid in proper analysis and presentation of data. PTC ThingWorx is a popular IIoT platform choice for forward looking companies in India and other countries around the world.

At the heart of the ThingWorx platform is the ThingWorx Foundation. It provides connectivity between the different elements of ThingWorx with encapsulated end to end security. This connective network aids users in the creation and deployment of various industrial applications throughout the IoT environment. The deep functional capabilities provided by ThingWorx coupled with one of the largest partner ecosystem in the industry, empowers enterprises to develop feature rich IoT applications.

PTC ThingWorx has been proactive in the deployment of intelligent manufacturing technology. It encompasses in it several elements such as ThingWorx Utilities, ThingWorx Analytics, ThingWorx Industrial Connectivity and ThingWorx Studio. All these elements work seamlessly under the aegis of ThingWorx Foundation.

The ThingWorx platform contains the most complete set of integrated IoT-specific development tools and capabilities that makes solution development simple, time-to-market fast and end-user solution engaging.

Components of the ThingWorx Platform
As mentioned above, the nucleus of the ThingWorx platform is the ThingWorx Foundation. It is divided into the following:

  • ThingWorx Core
  • ThingWorx Connection Services
  • ThingWorx Edge

The ThingWorx Core is a software platform environment that includes the Application Enablement Platform (AEP), which is a design and runtime engine for IoT applications. It consists of the following:

Thing Model, Next Generation Composer, Mashup Builder, Integration capabilities and Anomaly Detection.  All these permit rapid creation of an infinite number of applications that leverage real-time, bi-directional connectivity to “things” as needed.  The Composer provides a modelling environment for design testing. The Mashup Builder delivers easy dashboard building through common components (or widgets); for example, buttons, lists, wikis, gauges, and etc.

The ThingWorx Connection Services provides out-of-the-box-connectivity to industrial devices, connection servers, device cloud adapters and integration framework connectors. The ThingWorx Foundation connection services, software agents, and toolkits are available to establish connectivity between devices or assets and ThingWorx Foundation via the communication method and hardware.

The ThingWorx Edge provides a network independent, secure, scalable and easily deployable communication technology to facilitate continuous bi-directional connectivity between sensors, devices, equipment and the ThingWorx server.

PTC ThingWorx Features
The ThingWorx IoT platform is a software application platform that abstracts IoT devices and related components and services into model based development objects. It makes it easy to model devices and data; it has the ability to quickly create dashboards through a web-based application, and that too without any coding. ThingWorx is also extensible to third-party components through its marketplace. This makes it easy to add third-party functionalities without special configuration. It can also integrate with both AWS and Azure IoT hub services.

Purpose-built Platform: ThingWorx platform includes specific functionality designed for industrial IoT, including the connectivity, scalability and security to grow with the business

Rapid Development, Deployment, and Extensibility: Integrated platform features and functions enable seamless development for quick, easy delivery of apps without writing code. Industrial AR experiences are created and viewed using real-time connected asset and system data via Vuforia integration

Agility and Flexibility: Deployment options include cloud, on premise, or hybrid, with optimizations for Microsoft Azure. ThingWorx connects data from anywhere and delivers applications to anyone on nearly any device

Wrap and Extend Existing Technology: Broad set of capabilities work together to wrap and extend existing technology investments, including applications, enterprise systems and cloud technologies. Companies keep their existing standards while taking advantage of the power and capabilities of ThingWorx

Expansive Ecosystem: As part of PTC, a leading innovator in industrial software solutions, ThingWorx is compatible with a wide range of products and services that simplify, accelerate and enhance manufacturers’ processes and strategies

Version Notes and Developer Tools
As of July 2019, the latest version of ThingWorx is 8.4 It works on Windows and Linux OS platform, and can also be deployed as a cloud based solution on Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services. In addition, the developer tools for ThingWorx include SDKs for Java, .NET, C, Android and iOS. All SDKs use the ThingWorx AlwaysOn binary protocol together with the HTTP WebSocket protocol for transport. PTC also provides ThingWorx REST API as an easy way for low-capability devices to connect with a ThingWorx platform.