Two HxGN LIVE rookies’ perspectives on digital reality and real reality

In an email this week from the McKinsey Quarterly’s editorial team, it was observed that: “Strategy can be such a bear. Some companies go wrong by constantly searching for the ‘next new thing’ – and, as one strategy guru puts it, you can always find ‘new stuff out there, and most of it’s not very good.'”

So, has what we have learned during our first 2 ½ days at HxGN LIVE 2018 from a strategic perspective been i) new stuff or old stuff, and ii) good or not so good stuff? Jointly with Ceetron CTO Fredrik Viken, I decided to explore these issues in some depth.

Figure 1: Case SV340 skid steer loader with weight 3 400 pound.

It is, of course, impractical to do an exhaustive and methodologically sound study in a place with 3,500 attendees, 460 sessions, 42 sponsors, and 120,000 square feet of exhibition space. I will present my selected favourites:

First, a slight detour: coming from the world of CAE, for us rookies HxGN LIVE meant a brutal cultural awakening to the world of manufacturing, farming, and transportation, but also to physical stuff that weighs, measures and costs 100 to 1000 times what we are used to. At HxGN LIVE we had a 70” screen and it was minuscule compared with some of the large video walls and booth gear weighing thousands of pounds. (Fig. 1) Ceetron clearly has to increase its investments in booth equipment to compete in this space.

On Tuesday, Fredrik and I attended the MSC Technology Summit. Together with around 30 other MSC partners, we were exposed to some of MSC’s strategic thinking as a new part of Hexagon, by Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence’s and MSC’s senior management, including Paolo Guglielmini (CEO), John Janevic (COO), and Brian Shepherd (CTO). They shared with us the MSC One software programme, token-based licencing, and ‘where simulation gets real’ (MSC’s new strategic theme), all attractive stuff for Ceetron. Fredrik and I have concluded that this is something we want to be part of. Interested readers should expect to see Ceetron as a more prominent MSC partner moving forward, possibly with a send to cloud plug-in in MSC APEX.

Figure 2: The Norwegian national team in 3D visualization, with players from Ceetron and Hexagon. A clear contender for #1 in the world.

A 3,500 attendee conference is all about meeting other people. HxGN LIVE has been a packed sequence of arenas for sharing and developing insight, jointly with attendees, exhibitors, and Hexagon representatives. My favourite, but somewhat accidental meeting was with Stig Kristiansen, Jørgen Lind, Øystein Myrmo, and Sigve Bøe Skattum, in Hexagon’s corporate level group for visualisation, located in Oslo (previously MyVR). (Fig. 2.) We quickly agreed that Norway is a great place for 3D visualisation talent and look forward to continuing conversations in Norway.

Underlying the whole conference has been a connected world, IoT, digital thread and smart X narrative, in essence all about connecting physical reality with digital reality. This could be contrasted with traditional CAE, where the connection is very thin, just laws of physics, V&V and physical tests.

To conclude, the answers to my two questions posed in the intro of this blog post are: new, good. So forcefully that our participation at HxGN LIVE has induced an emerging strategic shift in how we think of manufacturing MRO and asset management: instead of as not addressable, rather as a big market opportunity with huge market potential. Said Tor Helge Hansen, CEO of Ceetron, when we discussed HxGN LIVE with him: “I want us to understand how MSC’s ‘where simulation gets real’ theme could revolutionise how the industry will leverage heavy-duty CAE simulations across the life cycle. I also want us to understand how big data, analytics, and machine learning may impact simulation workflows.” For a conference organiser, that is impact.

Figure 3: Tor Helge Hansen, CEO of Ceetron.

That said, there were two incompletes in the connected world, IoT, digital thread and smart X narrative discussed during HxGN LIVE. The first one is about technology: cloud, which is key enabling technology for IoT and connected systems, and which is an area where I believe CAE or at least Ceetron in certain areas is one step ahead. The second one is about benefit realisation and deployment. Hexagon President and CEO Ola Rollén made during his first-day keynote repeated references to ‘making the leap’. I believe that digitalisation is not only about one big leap but also about spotting connectivity opportunity and data opportunity and leveraging technology incrementally to tap into such opportunities.

Let me finish this blog post with semi-committing to Ceetron’s presence at HxGN LIVE in Vegas in 2019. Fredrik, with his serious interest in serious poker (he will start tournaments tomorrow), should not be difficult to convince.


Grim Gjønnes
Head of S&M in Ceetron AS

Grim is Ceetron’s Head of Sales & Marketing.  Prior to joining Ceetron, he held a number of management positions with top-tier technology companies, plus worked with a number of premier consulting firms.  He has also worked for 8 years in Canada and Norway as research scientist in the area of artificial intelligence.  Grim holds a Dr. Ing. degree from NTNU, Trondheim, and a M.Sc. degree in Management from Sloan School of Management, MIT, Boston.  Grim is General Manager of Lysakerfjorden Brettseilerklubb, Norway’s largest windsurfing club.


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