Ensuring a Well-Connected Future

By Sudhir Sharma, Director, High-Tech Industry Marketing, ANSYS

All around us, electronic devices are proliferating — and old, familiar products have newer, smarter functionality. As the Internet of Things grows larger every day, ANSYS offers the full range of simulation capabilities to maximize product performance across a wide range of criteria.

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Ensuring a Well-Connected Future

The business media is filled with statistics about the continued, explosive growth of the worldwide Internet of Things, or IoT — and there is plenty of evidence to support these projections. All around us, phones, tablets and other devices keep us connected 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Smart functionality powers connected cars, drones, medical devices and industrial equipment. But the IoT is much more than just smart functionality in devices. The full value of the IoT will be realized through data analytics, powered by faster networks and quantum leaps in computing and data center technologies.

The IoT is clearly an exciting business opportunity for large and small companies. Yet success in the IoT economy depends on the ability of companies to constantly reinvent their offerings. Increasingly, product development and engineering teams need to address critical challenges related to communication system design, sensor design and product reliability to out-innovate the competition.

In this incredibly fast-paced environment, simulation software is an important strategic tool for creating a meaningful competitive advantage by getting the newest product model or next-generation features into customers’ hands as fast as possible. Through engineering simulation, product designers can identify and address any functional flaws, such as impractical power demands or faulty antenna design, as quickly as possible — and as early as possible in the design cycle, when mistakes are less costly to address.

To help drive the exponential growth of the IoT, ANSYS has developed the industry’s most comprehensive simulation solutions that improve the performance and reliability of electronic devices, as well as more traditional products that now include smart functionality. From confirming a product’s structural integrity with ANSYS Mechanical to verifying the performance of embedded software with ANSYS SCADE, product developers can attack the full range of design issues associated with the IoT by relying on the proven power of ANSYS simulation software.

3-D electromagnetic wave simulation
Graphics card vibration simulation
interaction of wearable and implantable devices
wearable and implantable device safety simulation


The multiphysics, multidomain capabilities of the ANSYS simulation software portfolio are especially critical in engineering today’s smart, connected products. Because these products have complex functionality, smart product development teams demand an extremely high level of reliability, precision, robustness and innovation. At the same time, these teams face enormous pressures to keep costs low and accelerate launches. To achieve these goals, companies can neither design in silos nor rely on traditional build-and-test methods.

Not only is simulation a competitive requirement today, but it has significantly leveled the playing field, enabling smaller companies to compete with established market leaders. Using simulation, a few engineers can virtually prototype and refine many ideas quickly and cost-efficiently. Their ability to go beyond traditional engineering discipline boundaries — and instead leverage multidomain and multiphysics analyses — is consistent with their company’s overall commitment to innovation.



While every smart product has its own design challenges, the exponential growth of the Internet of Things means that some common design requirements are emerging. For example, each new generation of smart products typically must be smaller, lighter in weight and more power-efficient than the previous generation.

There are five key engineering challenges created by the rise of the IoT. The sheer size of the IoT opportunity, is creating new competitors for many established market leaders. Data from the Aberdeen Group highlights that winners and losers in the IoT economy will be separated by their ability to address these five design challenges successfully.


Whether designing planes, cars or smartphones, engineers typically need to optimize IoT products for size, weight, power and cooling — a set of design requirements popularly known as “SWAP-C.” As consumers demand greater functionality, including pervasive connectivity and sensing, engineers are forced to add more electronic components. This high density of electronics brings new challenges in terms of product size, weight, energy demand and thermal build-up. Often, traditional products must be completely reimagined and redesigned for a new era. For example, as modern hearing aids transform into smartphone-connected devices with greater functionality, their design now includes a flexible printed circuit board (PCB), a battery, a receiver, an antenna and, in many cases, a telecoil. The flexible PCB alone incorporates more than 60 different components and integrated circuits. Engineers must manage all these components in a constrained space, while optimizing performance. This means relying on simulation to make design trade-offs quickly and cost-efficiently.


Today’s products are considered “smart” because they can sense their environment, communicate with other electronics, and enable faster, more-informed decisions and outcomes. For example, modern cars are equipped with a host of sensing and communication technologies to make drivers safer, better connected and more informed. This is a huge and growing market; in fact, revenues are expected to grow from $8.4 billion today to $30 billion in 2020. The sheer amount of smart functionality in cars today is staggering. For example, adaptive cruise control technology utilizes radar sensors embedded in the bumper to keep cars at a safe distance from one another. Blind-spot monitors and lane-departure warning systems help drivers avoid collisions. Modern vehicles can even monitor and report traffic conditions, informing other drivers and suggesting alternate routes via global positioning system (GPS) capabilities. Unlike previous generations of automotive engineers, engineers designing today’s cars need to consider electromagnetic interference, signal integrity, uninterrupted connectivity and other complex issues that may affect electronic performance. Simulation provides a means of maximizing reliability and ensuring a robust design from the earliest stages of product development.


As smarter products proliferate and we increasingly rely on them for critical decision-making, safety and reliability become even more important product design considerations. While the IoT is driving enormous revenues, those revenues can’t be outweighed by the cost of maintenance, repair, warranty charges or lack of uptake by the market. In addition, many products — such as those in the automotive, aerospace and healthcare industries — operate in safety-critical environments. Because lives are at stake, these products need to meet the highest standards for reliability and safety. An often-overlooked, yet mission-critical, aspect of the IoT is the embedded control and display software needed to operate the integrated mechatronic systems that guide connected cars and aircraft. Validating the tens of millions of lines of safety-critical embedded software code that underlie these systems is essential. Simulation and modeling enable the fast, automated production of flawless code that is needed whenever human safety is involved.


As the complexity of smart, connected products has increased over time, engineers have broken down the design process into smaller pieces to make it more manageable. While a component-level, bottom-up design methodology allows for very thorough verification of pieces and parts, significant late-stage design issues can arise when components are actually assembled to create a system. Finding system-level flaws late in the development cycle can lead to over-design, cost overruns and ill-considered design trade-offs as engineers scramble to meet product launch deadlines. For example, an antenna designed for a wireless fitness band may work perfectly when analyzed as a single component. But, once installed on the actual band, the antenna might not work as expected when adversely affected by such real-world factors as the curvature of the wristband, the presence of a biometric sensor antenna or even the metal clasp that fastens the wristband. Simulation can help predict system-level performance issues in a risk-free, low-cost virtual environment.



While tiny and often unseen, trillions of sensors and microprocessors form the backbone of the IoT. These hardworking electronics collect and share useful information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They need to perform reliably not just in optimal conditions, but must also withstand the rigors of harsh, unpredictable environments. For instance, consider a sensing system at the end of a drill bit in the oil and gas industry, in the highest-temperature regions of a jet engine, or in an unmanned military vehicle subjected to a hostile electromagnetic environment. As an extreme example, new solar-powered drones developed under Facebook’s “Aquila” project will leverage lasers to provide internet access to remote parts of the developing world — flying for up to three months at a time. It is virtually impossible to explore these types of extreme operating scenarios using physical testing, so simulation plays an essential role in bringing these innovations to market with a promise of reliability. While not all products need to endure extreme conditions, every product must be verified for durability. Anyone who has dropped a smartphone understands the rigors of everyday usage.


ANSYS consolidated platform

The ANSYS consolidated simulation platform provides all the capabilities required to model the connected car.

Just as the Internet of Things has changed our daily lives, smart devices have also revolutionized foundational product development processes. Because these products are multifunctional, their design requires the input of engineers from multiple disciplines. As cross-disciplinary teams are formed and the barriers between traditional engineering functions are broken down, engineers now need shared tools that can work across multiple departments and disciplines.

ANSYS has been a pioneer in providing versatile, broad-reaching engineering simulation tools that connect a series of discrete functional application areas in a common working environment, or simulation platform. Today, ANSYS provides both industry-leading discrete application simulation capabilities, as well as the consolidated platform needed to deliver an integrated IoT product development solution.

In addition to fostering cooperation and collaboration across different disciplines, a shared platform for simulation delivers a number of tangible benefits. Research has shown that product development teams that consolidate their simulation-driven product development capabilities on a single platform are 33 percent more likely to meet their new product introduction targets. Additionally, they reduce product development time by 7 times and costs by 2.5 times, compared to teams that use siloed development methods. These critical metrics can mean the difference between success and failure in today’s fast-paced, highly disruptive and competitive business environment.

Holistic vs. siloed development


ANSYS does not manufacture electronics or devices, but today the Internet of Things is absolutely critical to our product offerings and our customer value proposition. Whatever your industry or product focus, the IoT is poised to impact your business in significant and often unexpected ways.

At ANSYS, we’ve developed an expanded range of capabilities, including electronic and embedded software modeling, to help you anticipate and prepare for that impact with innovative new products and smart functionality that enable you to thrive in the IoT era. In fact, the world’s leading companies are already using ANSYS solutions to deliver the most innovative smart products — from smartphones and spacecraft to autonomous vehicles, drones, robots and wind turbines.

As the IoT continues to evolve, ANSYS will remain your trusted partner — delivering the proven simulation capabilities you’ve come to rely on, along with new capabilities that support your continued product development success in a transformed world. We can help you engineer, design and test the best possible products for the Internet of Things.

In this issue of ANSYS Advantage, we invite you to read how ANSYS simulation is not only applied to the development of IoT technologies for smarter products and faster networking equipment, but also for quantum computing data centers, which require advanced energy and heat management solutions enabled by ANSYS simulation.

“Simulation software is an important strategic tool for creating a meaningful competitive advantage.”


Automotive electronics

For applications such as connected cars, a consolidated simulation platform is an absolute necessity. An advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) is a classic example of a large, complex system encompassing the entire vehicle — and incorporating an enormous range of product functionality. From traditional features like cruise control and automatic airbags to newer functionality such as parking-assistance and lane-departure warning systems, the modern car equipped with ADAS is a multidisciplinary engineering marvel. To virtually validate ADAS design, all other major vehicle systems — including control systems and human–machine components such as brakes and vehicle dynamics — need to be modeled in a comprehensive system-level simulation. Next, the performance of that comprehensive vehicle and ADAS model must be tested in a simulated model of roads, buildings and pedestrians under diverse driving scenarios. The ANSYS consolidated simulation platform provides all the capabilities required to model these performance aspects, providing a one-stop resource for automotive product development teams. The ANSYS platform is also open and collaborative, enabling the participation and input of suppliers in today’s fast-paced, highly disruptive and competitive business environment.


Simulation vs. no simulation

Independent research has shown that smart product design requires an increase in communication and collaboration among functional engineering teams. A product designed without collaboration can lead to integration issues, especially when subsystems are built and over-designed as each team adds its own safety margins. Launch delays, reliability issues and cost overruns are other risks.

Engineering simulation is an important vehicle for fostering collaboration. Today, best-in-class companies use a consolidated simulation platform to analyze component- and system-level behavior, as well as subsystem interactions, before building physical prototypes. Designers at these companies are able to quickly explore the performance of numerous design alternatives at a rapid pace. This ability to analyze multiple alternatives enables designs to be optimized for cost, quality and/or performance. The metrics highlight just some of the benefits of a simulation-based design approach executed on a consolidated platform that enables cross-functional engineering interaction.

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