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Discussion of “P2P Data Synchronization for Product Lifecycle Management”

Discussion of “P2P Data Synchronization for Product Lifecycle Management”

This article dealt with the hypothetical use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, Product Lifecycle Management software, and distributed computing to achieve novel results that may be of future interest to consumers and engineers. The article extensively describes this hypothetical use using a high-level overview of current asynchronous and synchronous communications systems. This use case shows promise to be of interest to some consumers once the required level of technology is established.

The authors raised several interesting ideas throughout this article. Though the use of mass-distributed Product Lifecycle Management network systems seems particularly ill-suited to most applications, the authors hoped that mass adoption of Internet of Things functionality would overcome the inherent inefficiencies of such a system. Kubler hoped that “the so-called Internet of Things [relying] on the automatic capture of observations of physical objects at various locations, their movements between locations, sensor data collected from sensors attached to the objects or within their immediate surroundings, and interactions with people, mobile devices, other objects, and locations visited by the objects” would result in a future state where IoT devices would be capable of directly interfacing with Product Lifecycle Management software [1].

Despite the inherent security risks associated with such a system, the authors hoped that being able to sell information obtained through products would make up for any inefficiencies held in that system. The particular use case provided is in healthcare-related technologies. The authors felt this may be useful to healthcare professionals and insurance providers. Ignoring the ethical considerations, opening the PLM database to such a broad audience may prove disastrous from a configuration control standpoint if invalid or malformed user calls result in data corruption.

Overall, I felt that the technical details provided in the article were interesting. However, I hesitate to allow Internet-enabled devices to push or pull from the configuration control database. This level of access may allow malicious actors to cause considerable harm to the corporation that invites such technology into their business model. From an efficiency standpoint, such a large amount of UDP and TCP/IP traffic simultaneously connected to a database may result in significant problems. The authors solve this problem by utilizing a distributed database. However, distributed databases carry their list of issues, with inefficiency being the top among them. Ultimately, I found the article interesting from a technical standpoint but unrealistic for implementation using existing technology.


[1] Kubler, S., Framling, K., Derigent, W., 2015, “P2P Data Synchronization for Product Lifecycle Management,” Computers in Industry, vol 66, pp 82-98.