Pressrelease - October 30, 2020
CONTACT Elements, the highly modular platform for the development and operation of smart products, combines state-of-the-art open technology, comprehensive core services and specialized applications as well as outstanding user experience for digital thread and closed loop engineering. With the new version, industrial companies benefit from extensive functional enhancements to increase their value creation in product development and service business.
Digital transformation and technological innovations are changing the manufacturing industry and its existing business models. The growing demand for customized and intelligent products challenges companies to master increasingly complex processes while increasing their agility and productivity. In addition, the corona pandemic underscores the need for companies to consistently digitize their own processes as well as their collaboration with partners.
CONTACT Elements is the key to manage innovative, networked and complex products – from development to production and operation of digital services.
The component architecture of the platform, with flexibly combinable, coordinated software building blocks, ensures the necessary agility in the development of innovative products. Open interfaces connect over 50 specialist applications, core services with open source and third-party components for end-to-end data management, better collaboration and smooth interaction with enterprise systems. Intuitive user interfaces based on InSync, the CONTACT Elements Design System, make complex product development processes along the digital thread clearer and keep all decisive data at hand.
The new CONTACT Elements version is a Long Term Support (LTS) release and offers customers continuous maintenance security for years. In parallel with the Elements platform, new versions of CONTACT's products along the digital thread are available to customers for PLM, project management, IoT, collaboration and integration. Companies benefit from comprehensive enhancements and innovations along the entire product life cycle:
Improved user navigation for agile product development
The CONTACT Elements Design System InSync helps even sporadic users to keep the overview in complex development processes. Methods, tools and best practices enable the agile and consistent realization of state-of-the-art responsive web applications.
The clear, intuitively navigable interface with improved search and filter options allows users to find all functions and properties of their applications immediately. Numerous specialized applications such as Variants now use the full potential of the InSync Design System. CONTACT Elements 15.5 also includes a fundamentally revised online documentation portal for application, administration, development, design and release notes.
Extended PLM features for customer-specific needs
The prerequisite for improved customer orientation are variability models that optimally support the different order processing strategies (ETO, CTO, CTO+). With the latest version of CONTACT Variants, companies organize their master data from development to service even more efficiently in order to offer different product variants faster and at the same time reduce costs and complexity due to the increasing number of variants.
Variants allows to define rule-based product families via variability models and to make the secured variants directly available for downstream sectors such as logistics or sales - even into ERP systems such as SAP.
For this purpose, the new variant management uses the powerful classification system Universal Classification. The consistent features catalog accelerates classification, simplifies access to existing solutions and supports feature-driven product development. The integration of the improved xBOM Manager offers more extensive search functions and a greater overview by selecting service or production parts lists. Together with the new 3D preview for more orientation within the individual assemblies, CONTACT Variants helps companies to master the variant diversity of their products throughout the entire product life cycle.
Agile project management for more efficient processes
Many functional improvements and the optimized use of the InSync Design System increase the performance of the entire Project CollaborationSuite. Web-based multi-project dashboards now make it even easier to keep track of all projects at all times. In the new overview, clear indicators help to identify deviations, for example in time and cost frames, more quickly and to initiate appropriate measures
With the consistent linking of project planning and work objects in the project structure, work progress is transparent for all participants at all times and the deployment of project teams and resources can be better planned. The maintenance, evaluation and processing of checklists and checkpoints is embedded even more effectively in the concrete work context.
The new effort recording function provides users with more targeted support in recording their daily work. With the continuous integration of effort entries directly into the work context of a project or project task, plan deviations and additional expenses are visible more quickly. The flexible time recording offers a maximum overview even with increasingly changing tasks. Project participants can now create a virtual entry for spontaneous activities, record the effort and assign it to a task later.
Advanced low-code IIoT functions for smart products and services
The growing IoT business offers companies the opportunity to significantly increase their added value by expanding their assets with smart services. In doing so, they face the challenge of organizing their services efficiently, right through to billing. Reliable digital services available worldwide and around the clock require a robust infrastructure and end-to-end processes.
With the Long Term Support Release 15.5 CONTACT extends its low-code IoT platform and offers with the new version of CONTACT Elements for IoT best-in-class components for end-to-end networked products and digital business models. The new Customer Services building block digitizes and automates central customer processes - from quotations, maintenance and parts business to invoicing - consistently in interaction with the ERP systems.
With improved service management, users benefit from the automatic provision of event-driven or time-controlled templates for various service cases based on configurable key performance indicators (KPI): Defined maintenance intervals directly generate a maintenance order with the respective items for tasks, material and workload. As soon as machine components fall below or exceed limit values, customers automatically receive the appropriate quotation for spare parts. The clearly arranged dashboard provides all customer-relevant real-time data at a glance and makes the operating behavior and efficiency of individual plants or entire fleets transparent for users at all times.
CONTACT Elements to Go: Making use cases mobile
End-to-end digital processes along the product life cycle help to increase the speed of innovation and shorten the time to market. With Elements to Go, companies can now use standard apps from Apple and Google stores and easily develop their own mobile applications. The goal: to provide users on the road in production, during assembly, or at partners' sites with productive tools for tasks around information gathering, evaluation and approval, discussion and much more.
Data can be retrieved from the system at any time, used offline and played back online. The continuous data flow according to the principle of the Single Source of Truth ensures a seamless supply of information and improves the collaboration of distributed teams. Elements to Go integrates the advantages of mobile device functions such as location-based services, camera, sensors and augmented reality, thus ensuring more effective business processes.
For example, the mobile application supports the exchange of components of networked machines: Maintenance teams use a QR code to identify beyond doubt the right plant where components need to be replaced and can process checklists directly on the smartphone. Activities are automatically documented in the system, thus ensuring that the digital twin is always up-to-date. Even if there is no Internet connection, Elements to Go ensures the smooth running of the service tasks and transfers the data directly into the system as soon as a connection to the network is available.
An example of a standard app for iOS and Android is CONTACTs Activity Stream for team communication. The app offers users a shared environment where all project members can get information and view changes directly.
The new CONTACT Elements Release 15.5 will be available in CONTACT's Aloha Community Portal from mid November.
CONTACT already showed insights of the new release at the Cloud Connect 2020 and convinced the leading international PLM consulting and market research company CIMdata. In a recent commentary, the experts underline CONTACT's ambition to drive forward an intelligent and networked future with its enhanced portfolio and planned investments.