Background & opportunity

Simulation App Markets and Opportunities for Technology and Service Providers and Current and Prospective Adopters

A sponsored survey of current and prospective adopters of simulation apps to investigate, identify, analyze and report current adoption drivers and constraints, and potential adoption accelerators

Automating the setup and execution of engineering simulation, analysis, and design exploration and optimization tasks, and presenting those automated procedures in terms of use native to the discipline of the engineer carrying them out, has been a long-sought but seldom satisfactorily achieved goal of engineering practitioners and technology providers alike. Today, an emerging approach offers what may be the highest promise yet of reaching that goal: simulation apps.

This new technological thrust delivers sophisticated engineering capabilities packaged as easy-to-use, tightly focused “apps” that automate the design, analysis and verification of a specific type of product, often tailored to the specific needs of the individual user organization. Simulation apps capture the expertise and methods of the organization’s analysts and discipline leads as rules in a set of digital templates that automate the design of a specific class of product.

In use, the templates call on underlying, general-purpose modeling, simulation, analysis and reporting applications for geometry creation and modification, analysis model/mesh/grid generation, physics calculations in the various disciplines involved, and results presentation in the form of an optimized, validated design solution.

The transformational advantage of putting sophisticated modeling, simulation and analysis capabilities “under the hood” in this manner is to make unprecedented powers of automated design exploration, optimization, synthesis and validation accessible, usable and safe for non-analyst engineers and designers.

Across an already wide and still expanding range of products and industries, growing ranks of practitioners who’ve gained firsthand experience with simulation apps are convinced they hold power to expand the total addressable market for simulation technology from the roughly 750,000 users of today’s CAE tools (out of some eight million engineers worldwide) to more than 20 million users who will include engineers and non-engineers alike.

But these remain very early times in development of the simulation app marketplace. An ecosystem of off-the-shelf app providers, app development and customization service providers, software component technology providers, engineering service providers, methods development experts and others is only now taking shape. It as yet includes few vendors of the size and scale favored as strategic providers by many industrial organizations.

In parallel, practitioner champions working to implement simulation apps struggle to build awareness, acceptance and trust within their organizations—this radically more powerful and usable approach is also, after all, a radical break from past familiar, tested, error-quantified and practice-hardened methods of deploying and applying simulation.


Technology business strategy for 21st-century engineering practice