When companies want to modernize, optimize, and become more sustainable, they turn to digital engineering. Despite widespread adoption, digital engineering needs to be better understood across the board. Questions such as “What is digital engineering?” and “What is digital product engineering?” are common.
This guide discusses digital engineering, explains how it works, details its importance, and describes a few industries that benefit.
What is digital engineering?
Digital engineering is a field of product engineering that takes a holistic approach ideal for designing complex systems. It leverages digital data and connectivity to build digital models representing every complex product or system characteristic. It also enables data integration across many models.
Digital engineering impacts technical aspects and cultural elements because it requires a new way of thinking about product innovation. All the stakeholders must integrate into the process and rely upon a single source of truth within the digital solutions. There is necessarily a significant amount of collaboration. Ultimately, digital engineering Incorporates agility and high performance into the product’s design, development, delivery, and lifecycle.
How Does Digital Product Engineering Work?
Digital product engineering involves research, analysis, product design, development, testing, ongoing maintenance, support, and optimization throughout the product life cycle. Here are five key phases:
- Ideation - Define the product or service goals and objectives. Determine what features to include based on user feedback and market research.
- Design - Create wireframes, mockups, and prototypes to visualize the product's look and function.
- Development - Code the product based on its specifications to account for scalability and performance.
- Testing - Perform rigorous quality assurance in the testing phase to fix all the bugs before the product is launched.
- Deployment and Ongoing Maintenance - Publish the product and continually update it based on user feedback and insights gleaned from data.
Importance of Digital Engineering
Digital engineering is crucial to business success for the following reasons:
Improved time to market
Digital engineering streamlines the development process and drives efficiency throughout the product life cycle. It allows businesses to quickly develop, deploy, and test their products by leveraging the five phases of digital engineering described above. Companies can identify issues early on and fix them as early on in the process as possible so that the products meet customer expectations.
Better user experience
Digital engineering enables the execution of user-centric design principles so that customers can have a seamless experience during each interaction, regardless of how complex or simple the task is. Digital engineering leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to create intelligent products that learn from user behavior and optimize along the way.
Gain a Competitive Advantage
Digital engineering helps companies create more intelligent and innovative products by streamlining product development and enhancing collaboration. By integrating data across departments, companies can provide customers with more personalized experiences and scale faster. Ultimately, with digital engineering, there is a significant amount of agility in every dimension.
Lower Operational Costs
AI and other innovative digital product engineering strategies can make products that excel at anticipating customer demands and preferences with less effort involved. Digital engineering solutions like chatbots and comprehensive product support solutions reduce the time it takes to respond to customer inquiries and provide a more efficient way of managing operations, thus lowering operational costs and improving the customer experience.
Industries that Benefit from Digital Engineering
Digital engineering is applicable anywhere product engineers want to improve product development to be more agile and responsive to market demands.
Government and Military
In 2018, the Department of Defense announced its Digital Engineering Strategy that codified the government and military approach to digital engineering and inspired widespread adoption throughout many industries. The Department of Defense established five strategic goals for digital engineering: formalizing models to inform decision-making, establishing a single source of truth, leveraging technological innovations to improve engineering, facilitating collaboration and communication across stakeholders, and transforming the culture to support digital engineering.
Digital engineering helps manufacturers design and build more efficient, effective, and sustainable products. Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) tools are staples because they streamline product development. Leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics helps manufacturers make more advanced and flexible systems. For example, in automotive manufacturing, digital engineering is crucial for stimulating and analyzing crash scenarios to ensure vehicles meet safety standards while minimizing the need for physical crash tests.
Digital engineering helps optimize the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of buildings, infrastructure, and physical assets. Building Information Modeling (BIM), a form of 3D printing specific to the construction industry is essential for models of buildings and projects. Digital engineering also helps prefabricate components offsite, creating complex and custom structures.
Renewable energy sources like solar and wind rely on digital engineering technologies for design, operation, and maintenance. Digital twin technologies simulate the performance of energy solutions under various conditions and increase the durability of the designs. For example, digital engineering helps optimize the design of wind turbine blades so that they are more efficient and less expensive to maintain. Additionally, digital engineering enables the integration of IoT sensors and controls to maintain energy efficiency during operation.
Digital Engineering with Encora
Encora is deeply expert in the various disciplines, tools, and technologies that power the emerging economy, and this is one of the primary reasons that clients choose Encora for digital engineering over the many strategic alternatives that they have.
Contact us to learn more about our digital engineering services.