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TechVibe Talks to BCM One and ANSYS

Interview by Audrey Russo and Jonathan Kersting


TechVibe Radio is back on air at ESPN 970 AM every Saturday at 8:00 a.m. from the Huntington Bank Studio.

Our conversation with ANSYS's Sameer Kher about its Digital Twin capabilities will blow your mind!

Learn how ANSYS Twin Builder is an open solution that allows engineers to create simulation-based digital twins of practically anything. Possibly even humans!

?If that's not enough, find out how BCM One provides comprehensive, managed technology solutions to help businesses streamline their network to make communications, collaboration and connectivity simple and cost-effective.


Saturday morning, Audrey, it is time for tech vibe radio before we jump into our first guest, that gives us a quick shout out to Jo Ann Peterson from a Abator she passed away a few weeks ago and just a transfer is a transformation of a woman and the only words to describe her started her company in 1984 was all about helping people with with disabilities. And I'm sorry, I couldn't believe the news when I heard it. And so I just want to pour a little bit over the curb for Joanne and her contributions to making Pittsburgh a Tech center to the disabilities community. She was steadfast she was really ahead of her time. When you think about the you know the requirements right now for websites and any kind of you know, internet communications, she was ahead of the game. She was saying there people can't read this. They can't hear it. They can't see it. What are we doing? We're missing out on a huge amount of population. And that was her business with her daughter. Exactly.

But let's get on with the show. Because we've got a great guest with us today with a company that's really just breaking into the Pittsburgh market. We're talking to Michael Novak today from BCM. One, these guys provide comprehensive managed technology solutions to help businesses streamline their network, like communications, collaboration, connectivity, all that stuff. They really try to make it simple. If you go to BCM One dot com you can start checking them out. But we're gonna have a great conversation with Mike today. Hey, thanks for hanging out with us today. Really appreciate you taking the time.

It's great to be with you, Jonathan. I'm excited to talk with you and talk with our listeners in Pittsburgh.

It's great, thank you so much for being with us. So where do we start? Where do we start? Mike, do you want to jump in? And tell us a little bit about the work that you do? Yeah, I'd be thrilled to Audrey, I'd be thrilled to you know, it's, as Jonathan mentioned, I mean, we we have a comprehensive offering. And it it really is consulting on a day to day basis with with a variety of vertical markets, customers, right in vertical markets. And it's it's building out, I'd say next generation collaboration solutions, for the most part, and with that they need the right infrastructure to, to make it work and work well. And to scale. And so it's a lot of consulting to do it right and utilizing modern day communication services and our reach to do it. so busy times.

So if so, let's break it down. For any listener, any listener, what kinds of problems might they be having? And why? And, you know, for what reason they would call you.

First one, as you can imagine, with a pandemic, massive shifts to hybrid workforces? I mean, people are working from home, then they they're in the office, they're coming back and forth. Some groups have policies where they want people to rotate in the office. And so, you know, it really forced folks to initially put a bandaid on their communications platforms. And and now you're realizing that even with some progress, with vaccines being else that this hybrid workforce is really I think, here to stay. And really, how do you build out a platform? So one of the problems is how do we address a modern day communication platform for work from home?

So what does that mean? So for example, you know, I'm home and I got three kids, and everyone's working on technology, my technology keeps going down. I'm not exactly sure about the breaches. I'm not exactly sure if the kids are really, you know, on zoom, or they're doing something else they might be. They might be doing something else. Right. It is it is an in part of it. Sometimes there are issues with the technology that as a simple fix. And sometimes there's a solution set, you can find. I gave you an example. I was a victim early on work from home and I had call issues call quality issues. And it was a simple idea of hooking a cable to your laptop versus wireless. And what a simple difference that makes. And so those are things that we try to coach folks up on. Even when they're doing simple deployments, like using zoom calls, maybe you want to use a wired connection versus wireless connection. And there's other comprehensive solution sets. A lot of the stuff we get into Adria is how do you do 911 zoning? Or how do you do a 911 call when you're at home and make sure it was the right spot? And there's that and then there's How do you have presence at home to know that you're reachable and available. And so those are some of the things that we're probably more involved with today.

Any, any sweet spot in terms of size of company? It's really interesting, we started servicing small customers, and we, we find small customers, five users to 20 users, they need a lot of assistance, and they appreciate the consultative, you know, path we can take them on. But as we grew in size, we developed you know, more comprehensive solution sets. And, and now we do a lot in the healthcare, university space, and the government space. And so bigger and bigger organizations, but we we love our our small business customers, and it's fun to see him grow, and they have to have the ability to execute, you have to be able to execute the solutions. What are some of the top problems? are they related to security? They're related to just performance? Or is it related to I mean, this whole hybrid thing coming up is going to be fascinating, because we can't really have a have a crystal ball, the hybrid hybrid situation for those who work in offices is still it, you know, the thought about it is still touching go there are some places that close down. Now they're opening back up, there's some that are saying everyone vaccinated can come back into the office. And then you get the people like Jonathan and I who've been spoiled. Because Jonathan gets to ride his bike in the middle of the day, no one knows. He's, he's saying he's taking off, he's disappearing. He gets some flexibility in his work, he comes home at night and works, you know, all that kind of stuff. That's not going to go away. Right?

Yeah. And it's it's uncertainty, really, and organizations have historically bought these point solutions that may have done one thing, but it's, it's all coming together. And it It truly, truly is now a unified collaboration space. And if Jonathan wants to take a bike ride during the day, I know he's not available. Maybe I should ask Jonathan to take less bike rides. But I can my productivity soars because I know when he's free, and we can talk and connect. And you find folks are working later in the day, they're working more than ever. So go ahead and take that bike ride. Is that about? Right? Do you realize that that guy will ride in a clip 50 miles? It's not like me, who goes, Oh, I just took a seven mile bike ride.

It's very my listeners that we're talking to Mike of BCM One. Like I think it's just so cool. You guys are really into the Pittsburgh market now. I mean, obviously, we're working with small and large customers and everybody in between. There's lots of opportunity here. Tell us more about what you're doing here in the Pittsburgh area and why it's such an interest for you guys to grow. Well, I had a strong interest to get tickets to a Steelers game. And, and so we, you know, we find that Pittsburgh is a fantastic market. And there's a lot of a lot of the vertical markets that we we do very well with. And so part of it is we wanted to hire a sales force, local. And so we started that process. And that way, when folks need us and they want to talk about their, their, their environment, and what's past We can do it locally. And so we have, we're just excited about it. And we have a lot of our resources in the vicinity anyway, from a service perspective, and it's just going to be a great start. So we're excited about the potential. Absolutely. So
people have a problem with any strategy around communication, connectivity, but in the office and outside of the office, they should reach out to you, I think, right? Yeah, cuz you're gonna find Audrey that we have, whether it's eucast services, whether it's SIP Trunking services they may be using with a phone system that they have today. Or maybe they're, they have a phone system that they're not sure how long they want to keep it before they go into eucast. Were a great provider of future proof technologies, we should talk. And then Microsoft Teams, another major force, we're doing a lot of work on that area. So if they have any of those types of concerns, or they want to talk about options, or risk mitigation with their communications, we'd love to talk to them.

And then will you take over the responsibilities for all of this, that technology is managed service, okay, it depends on their their needs, we have organizations that they want, they want gas for the car. And we provide that high quality fuel with some coaching. And then there's others that say, I want you to handle all of it, all of the deployments. We want the connectivity from you, we want the SD win from you on end, and we will one bill one provider with visibility. And we do that too. So it really depends. And we've built it so that we can execute either one and just starts with the consultative discussion, right? You go in there and see what they need based on that you come back with a solution that's gonna best fit for them.

But I was just there looking at all your services there, Mike. And you guys have a tremendous amount. That's why I think it really encouraged people large or small, check them out, because I think we're all experiencing these issues as we move into this new hybrid environment, that you've been talking about it. So speaking of hybrid environments, we've got a minute or so left. You know, we've all been working from home. And rumor has you came home from a business trip and had a new member of your family hanging out with Yeah, we always like to know about our guests and what they're doing during COVID time. So you got a new dog. Tell us about that. We think that's pretty cool. Because we're both dog lovers here. Yeah, it was, it was amazing, because I wasn't expecting this. And I got a pleasant surprise. So we have a German Shepherd mix. Just over two months old Carmel, our daughters named Carmel, Nikki, which I don't really know where how that got them where it needed to be. But I it really, really does fit in fit in with family. So everyone's very happy and great to have a new edition of the family. Man, that's great. Well, it's been great talking to you, Mike, I can see the kinds of services that are required, whether it's during COVID, or post COVID people should reach out to your company to do to at least get some consultative advice in terms of what they need to do and what they might be overlooking. I know the minute I peel coverage back on stuff like that I always get scared and go Ah, I missed that. I missed that. Right. So that's why we have people who provide services like you do. Yeah. Thank you. We appreciate it and looking forward to making some new friends near.




One of the biggest coolest tech companies is right just outside of Pittsburgh, I mean, anchoring Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, you call it Pittsburgh, just because it's Washington County. That's true. I consider like western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, we're just gonna take our 28 minutes from downtown. Exactly, exactly.

I'd like to say that, you know, if you're out in South point, look for a little company called ANSYS. That does amazing stuff. Yeah. I get excited talking about the modern because they work on stuff that just blows my mind. Like, if you're not selling any potato chips, you're simulating rocket engines and spatial parts for crying out loud. And now.

It's great. Well, we have a guest today, do ANSYS Sameer Kher, you're gonna we'd love to have you introduce yourself. But thank you so much for taking the time.

Thanks for having me, Jonathan. Audrey. Yeah, like you said, my name is Sameer I'm a senior director at ANSYS and have been in the Pittsburgh region for over 16 years now working at Francis. Whoa, Pittsburgh. Yep. Yep. I love the place.

I know. It's great. So yeah, so have you been is a new role that you're in right now.
So I've had different roles and answers. I started out as a as a developer, software developer, and then, you know, over the years have taken on more responsibility. I did an MBA at Carnegie Mellon along the way, and now I'm in a in a senior director, it's sort of a business leadership kind of role.

Oh, that's a ton of fun. So what are we going to jump in and, and cover? There's a lot to cover, but let everyone know, at the highest level, what answers really does, because it's, I just am always floored.

Yeah, absolutely. So, so answer started, you know, over 50 years ago, right here in Pittsburgh, as a you know, with a vision of helping engineers and designers actually, virtually design and optimize and build out their product. So on a computer rather than doing it in real in the real world. So essentially, by putting in things like your, the shape of what you're trying to build, the materials that you're trying to use, and the behavior and things like that we can apply our software and apply all of the laws of physics. And and you know, kind of predict how that thing is going to work. So you can think of it as a superpower, essentially a superpower for engineers. Having X ray vision, vision, electromagnetic vision, fluid, dynamic vision, all at the same time, you get like ridiculous insights you can make, make the best product that you can make. And that's sort of been the tradition that's growing, you know, fast forward, like 50 years where we're $1.7 billion company, the world's largest provider of engineering, simulation, software, everything from potato chips to computer chips to cell phones, rocket chips, you know, all of those, even even showerheads and swimsuits, designed using software. Yeah.

Okay, that's all over the map swimsuit. So like, Speedo, so a few years ago, if you remember the Olympics, the speedo swimsuit that was designed and that one, I think, a lot of the Golden medals, and it was so good. I think it was banned off the way right. I was using our software. Yeah.

That's our new motto. So good. It'll be banned. Right. We love it. We love it. So you're saying around all things digital twin. I think it's just so exciting. It's probably in terms of our listeners who haven't heard about us the quick overview about what digital twins about and why it makes so much sense for ANSYS to be growing into this really fun area.

Yeah, absolutely. So the the traditional simulation market now is sort of well understood. It's been growing, you know, companies use it all over, like I said, but what what we're seeing now is this use of simulation in new new areas, and digital twins is one of them. This is relatively recent, maybe four to five years, and essentially bringing those same superpowers that I talked about, but making them available when you're actually operating the car or not just designers operating using the car or using your cell phone, getting those kinds of insights and moving away from things like preventive maintenance, you know, taking your car in every 30,000 miles or whatever, into things like predictive maintenance, prescriptive maintenance. This is essentially what what digital twins lets you do. It brings together physics and engineering and simulation data, all of this data that we have with respect to our products, and technologies like IoT. So it's a combination of those three that are sort of that sort of helping us get into this space of digital twins. And we are really exciting. I'm really fortunate to be able to work in this and there's a ton of cool things our customers are doing with with our digital twin technology that I can't wait to talk about.

You tell us about some of those things cuz that's where the rubber meets the good stuff. Yep, yep. So I Talking about predictive maintenance. And prescriptive maintenance is sort of figuring out exactly what service your car needs, or you know, even before something breaks. So that's sort of one area, you know, kind of kind of helps unlock a whole bunch of value. But what I'm really excited about is use of digital twins in improving how your product operates, how your product behaves. And this really cool story that I like to talk about. One of our customers is Volkswagen Motorsports. And they make make these race cars. And and one of these was a, you know, a race car, an electric race car that was being that they ran about a couple of years ago, in a race called the Pikes Peak challenge.

So it's a particularly challenging race, right, it's sort of uphill. And and, you know, sort of in the electric car kind of entering that race. And because they used all of our software to design their equipment, we could we had them basically build a digital twin that that you could use in operations, the car is belt, you've got a virtual equivalent of that car. And then on race day, right, all of these race, race car companies or race car sort of competitors, the challenge is getting a really using all of the ground conditions, the road conditions, temperature, the ambient conditions, the humidity, all of that. And, and having the best rates possible, you can't change the car, but you can drive the car in the best way possible. And that's like hundreds of 1000s of combinations. Imagine trying to do that physically, right? Trying to drive your car, all of these different ways, you probably don't have the car on race day anymore. The wheels come off and all that, but but because they had all the digital twins, and because they had used our software, they could actually run 1000s of different configurations of the race, you know, different ways that they could have run the race, like think of like Dr. Strange, and in that in that movie in the looking through all the different possibilities, and you know, just one that really makes the race win. And that's what we were able to have them with. They ran the electric car on race day, the outcome was, you know, they obviously won the competition, they won the race, but they smashed the record and not just the electric car wreck or the conventional car record as well. 16 seconds. So it was fantastic outcome. And they've gone on with that car to win a bunch of other races using exactly the same technology. Yeah, so that's one one example of a use of digital twin, using simulation when you're actually operating equipment, to give real time performance to give real time predictions. And in really improve operations, improve maintenance in all of these different outcomes that you can you can get,you got to have so much fun doing what you do. Like how could you not be like, completely, insanely happy?

Absolutely. You can you can see I'm usually smiling when I'm talking about my product. So yeah, it's fantastic. It's really like my head to spend just goes in so many directions. When I think about what the applicability of this is, like, I'm thinking like one day when it comes to home. me. I mean, how many times Jonathan and I are like the ultimate old home owner. And we we never write it's all of a sudden we find out about stuff. Yeah, it's late. It's reactive. Yeah. And there's no indication like all of a sudden his sewage, sewage, whatever backs up, all of a sudden, I have a leak in the basement and a pinhole where I just continued to, you know, ignore it and didn't even know and then boom, I think my health might break the answers computer there that does the simulation.

I think we'll be fine. We'll be fine. We've done flu stadiums, and yeah, I think your house will will be okay. We haven't done 112 Elm Street. About what we could do in terms of like planning. Yeah, and knowing that you're having these issues, right? If you don't know about the Fisher? Excuse me, how will you ever know? He's me when it's 30 $500 when it could have been 30 bucks.
Yep, absolutely. h vac systems, right. All of these are great candidates. But you know, what's really exciting for me is the next step is also digital twins of us as people as individuals imagine having a physics accurate representation of yourself, you know, for things like you know, invasive surgery, stents, and so on. And customers are actually already doing that, while building out Yeah, your models in our tools, and then creating a digital twin, a digital replica few, just by scanning an X ray. And then yeah, on any of the operation, you can work on the virtual model.

But there's some people I don't know if I want a digital twin of the whole idea that if you have a digital twin of yourself that a doctor can actually practice the surgery on you ahead of time. And the best moves to get to a certain part they got to get to like that's exactly Exactly efficient. Yeah, man. I'm working in ANSYS. This is like unfair announcement.

It really is. And so what kinds of things? Are you out there talking about this at conferences? Are there things that we can track and follow because I'm totally blown away because that this is happening in our lifetime?

Absolutely. So, so right now is really the best time to get get engaged and get involved with digital twin types of things. There's a lot of activity across the globe. And I mean, it as a starting point, I point, point to point listeners to simulation world, which is, which is an event that we that we have coming up that that's free that you can register, either you listen to it live, it's coming up pretty soon, or even after it's done, you can listen to the all the recordings where we have 50,000 plus attendees, and, you know, hundreds of customers presenting lots of different use cases and stories that you can listen to is another place. We also partner with a bunch of other big companies like the Microsoft's and Dells and others and 250 other companies in something called the digital twin consortium where we're looking to make it easier to adopt digital twin technology. So you know, that's another good resource, I would say. But really, there's so much going on so much good information, you know? Yeah, just just Google it. And you'll find a lot on is enough to where you can literally start seeing all the great work that you guys do.This is so great when Think about this, like for the pandemic for healthcare. It's just endless. And so, the next time we want you to come back, we want to talk about ethics.

That would be interesting, because that brings up lots of ethical concerns when you're making twins, especially if I'm sure you're wrestling that I'm drafting it. It'd be wonderful to talk about that.

Yep. Yep, absolutely. That sounds good security and ethics. And yeah, there's a bunch of topics that go hand in hand with with digital twins. And it's true COVID. And this kind of effect has really accelerated digital transformations across all industries, all our customers. So it's been a it's been a mix sort of it's helped progress on certain areas as well. Oh, yeah.

It's amazing. Thank you for giving us a little taste a little glimpse into this. I just want to know more encourage everyone go to and learn more about this. And everybody should be so pumped that answers is right here in Pittsburgh doing this transformational work really cool stuff.

Thanks so much. Thanks for having me.