Hexagon announced its strategic partnership with Microsoft which aims to redefine how engineers collaborate and enable the discrete manufacturing industry to innovate faster, with more confidence, and with new solutions that combine data from virtual engineering processes with real-world measurement of manufactured products. The collaboration will offer solutions that use modern cloud infrastructure to connect manufacturing and engineering systems ? including Microsoft 365 ?

in Hexagon's Nexus digital reality platform for manufacturers, and help employees increase their productivity through cloud-accelerated simulation and AI. The partnership aims to transform collaboration across the manufacturing value chain and apply digital twins to accelerate product innovation. Hexagon and Microsoft have partnered closely on the development and scaling of the open-source Fluid Framework and Azure Fluid Relay service to support the real-time sharing of data across a wide range of manufacturing industry processes and systems, allowing data created in one system to be immediately available to any other person or machine operating in another.

Under the new partnership, the Microsoft 365 ecosystem will plug into this data layer, enabling customers to connect their day-to-day office documents and processes with manufacturing tools. This gives teams the freedom to innovate with the tools they already use; for example, tooling cost data from a Microsoft Excel worksheet could be easily shared with a CAM programmer, so simplifying work practices and decision-making between roles. Microsoft Teams calls can become interactive working sessions, with CAD, simulations or metrology point clouds seamlessly visualised from the source data to allow on-the-spot collaboration and fast, iterative teamwork across disparate engineering and manufacturing functions.

Hexagon has already demonstrated this capability in its 3D Whiteboard Nexus tool, which is also now available as an native app in Teams. Hexagon is working with Microsoft to integrate generative AI models into its manufacturing software, helping users to make better use of their capabilities and analysing existing datasets to learn and suggest the best practices for achieving desired outputs. These AI experiences include contextual advisors, offering expert users productivity-boosting automation while also helping new users to upskill faster and achieve good results with less supervision ? a valuable tool as the industry faces a growing skills shortage in many essential roles.

The partnership will apply Hexagon's manufacturing, engineering and data science domain expertise and Microsoft Azure's elastic computing and high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure to accelerate engineering simulations by up to three orders of magnitude, making it possible to streamline design & engineering workflows to deliver innovative products to market at greater speed. Hexagon's machine learning technology optimizes heavy-load simulations, allowing them to run much more efficiently. Azure customers will be able to use their existing contracts to access this machine learning-accelerated compute service through Nexus ?

allowing teams to use the IT they already have in place. Combining Hexagon's measurement and reality capture technology and Nexus open-access platform with Microsoft's cloud ecosystem creates the foundation for agile and collaborative engineering applications and industrial metaverse use cases. A digital twin utilising Azure compute for simulations can now draw Hexagon's real-world, real-time data capture and present information to users without complex systems integration.

By implementing these technologies, manufacturers can create new workflows across the product lifecycle that shorten time to market, improve factory-floor efficiencies, identify manufacturing problems in real-time and improve quality.