Digital engineering is more art than science. It can be defined by using data and a digital skillset to construct the foundations of complex digital products and services.
The adoption of digital engineering capabilities is changing the future of work in how organizations operate, deploy products and services and interact with employees and customers. This transformation is being driven by four key technologies.
1. The foundation: Cloud and AI
The cloud and AI are playing a significant role in the acceleration of digital engineering adoption.
One of the main benefits of the cloud is the ability to provide on-demand access to computing resources and storage. This allows companies to scale their operations up or down as needed, without having to invest in expensive infrastructure.
AI, on the other hand, can automate and optimize tasks, freeing up engineers to focus on more complex and strategic tasks.
The cloud-enabled business with the use of AI can help companies to manage and analyze large amounts of data more efficiently and effectively. By storing data in the cloud, companies can access it from anywhere and at any time. AI can then be used to analyze the data, identify patterns and make predictions. This can help companies make informed decisions and optimize their operations.
The cloud and AI can also facilitate collaboration and communication within and between teams, regardless of location. Cloud-based tools and platforms allow for real-time collaboration and communication, while AI can help to identify and resolve conflicts and bottlenecks.
In addition, the cloud and AI are helping companies improve their security and privacy posture. Cloud-based data storage and AI-powered security systems can help to prevent data breaches and protect against evolving cyber threats.
“Overall, cloud and AI are accelerating digital engineering adoption by providing the necessary infrastructure and capabilities for companies to scale their operations, manage and analyze data, collaborate, communicate and improve security and privacy. As these technologies continue to evolve and mature, it is likely that we will see even more innovative and transformative applications of digital engineering,” says Avijeet Ghose, Senior Vice President, ERS Sales at HCLTech.
2. The 5G network
5G is the fifth generation of cellular technology, which is designed to provide faster and more reliable internet connectivity. It has the potential to revolutionize the way we live and work, and is already starting to accelerate the adoption of digital engineering in several ways.
“One of the main benefits of 5G is its high speed and capacity, which allows for faster data transfer and more simultaneous connections. This is particularly useful for industries that rely on real-time data and connectivity, such as manufacturing, healthcare and transportation. With 5G, companies can improve their efficiency and productivity by using connected devices,” explains Ghose.
This 5G capability makes it well-suited for AR and VR applications, making immersive experiences more accessible and practical to a wider range of industries and customers. The high speed and low latency of the 5G network is also ideal for IoT applications that require real-time data and connectivity, for use in smart cities, connected cars and industrial automation.
"5G is accelerating digital engineering adoption by providing the necessary infrastructure and capabilities for a wide range of industries to leverage the power of connected devices, real-time data and immersive experiences. As 5G networks continue to expand and mature, it is likely that we will see even more innovative and transformative applications of digital engineering,” says Ghose.
3. The digital twin
The digital twin is most often found on a factory floor but is increasingly being used in product development and product engineering. The cloud, data from digital systems and AI are the key enablers of the digital twin.
“A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical object, system or process. It is created using a combination of sensor data, historical data and simulation models. The digital twin allows for real-time monitoring and analysis of the physical object or system, as well as testing and optimization of various scenarios before they are implemented in the real world,” explains Ghose.
Digital twin technology is accelerating digital engineering adoption in several ways:
- Allows for more accurate and efficient design and testing of products and systems. Engineers can test and optimize designs and processes in a virtual environment, reducing the need for physical prototypes and testing, which can save time and money.
- Provides real-time data on the performance of physical assets, which allows for better understanding of how a product or system will perform in the real world and identifying potential problems before they occur.
- By providing real-time data on the performance of physical assets, digital twin technology can help optimize operations and maintenance, leading to higher efficiency and lower costs.
- By providing a centralized location for all data related to a product or system, digital twin technology enables more accurate data analysis which can help improve product quality and reduce downtime.
Ghoseh adds: “Digital twin technology is accelerating digital engineering adoption by providing engineers with a powerful tool for designing, testing, and maintaining products and systems in a more efficient and effective way. Some companies have already started experimenting with the concept in their operations. For example, BMW is creating digital twins of entire factories and designing products using NVIDIA’s Omniverse technology.
4. The metaverse
Although in a nascent stage, enterprises are experimenting with metaverse use cases and prioritizing its rapid adoption to deliver the next generation of employee and customer experience.
The metaverse is like the digital twin. It’s a virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space.
“Digital engineering technologies and practices like AR/VR/XR can be used to create the infrastructure and platforms that support the metaverse, as well as the virtual experiences and environments within it. This includes the development of virtual reality headsets, 3D modelling software and artificial intelligence algorithms that can be used to create and maintain virtual environments and interactions within the metaverse,” says Ghose.
It is a new and rapidly evolving space, but it has the potential to accelerate the adoption of digital engineering in several ways:
- Allows engineers to create and test virtual prototypes of products, reducing the need for physical prototypes and the costs associated with them.
- Enables engineers to collaborate in real-time, regardless of their physical location. This can improve communication and coordination, leading to more efficient and effective engineering processes.
- Provides training and education to engineers, allowing them to learn and practice new skills in a virtual environment.
- Enables engineers to visualize and analyze large amounts of data, making it easier to understand and work with complex systems.
Ghose adds: “The metaverse is likely to drive the adoption of digital engineering practices in industries such as gaming, entertainment, education and commerce, as companies seek to create and deliver immersive and interactive virtual experiences to their customers and users. This could lead to the development of new business models and revenue streams, and the creation of new jobs and career opportunities in the field of digital engineering.”
The role of HCLTech
HCLTech has a strong track record in the digital engineering space, working with a range of clients across different industries to help them develop and deploy successful digital products and platforms.
The digital engineering portfolio includes Cloud Engineering, Data Engineering & AI, 5G, Digital Commerce, Industry NeXT and emerging domains like Digital Twins, Extended Reality (XR), the Metaverse and sustainability.
The aim is to take the past four decades of experience in Engineering and R&D with a deliberate focus on next-generation technologies to accelerate the digital transformation journey for enterprises looking to thrive and be more responsive in the digital world.