Secure Data Vital to Automation Success

Due to the lack of wired infrastructure between mobile vehicles, a stable and secure wireless data transmission must be provided between the cloud and the mobile equipment.

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responses courtesy of Sven Wischnewski, CEO, SIKO GmbH

The Internet of Things & Connectivity

How do you see the Internet of Things shaping the direction of the heavy-duty vehicle markets?

Compared to IoT solutions in industrial machinery, we do see a much higher importance of wireless data transmission in mobile equipment. So security aspects of the data transmission are even more in focus compared to closed networks.

How is your company integrating IoT solutions into your workspace, or what is your perceived plan for implementation and the benefits you foresee with its implementation?

The core feature of our SIKO sensors is measuring physical dimensions like length or angle. For IoT solutions it is however much more important to consider a multi-sensor aspect. One sensing device is going to provide its core data together with additional information about ambient and operational conditions. As a result, data analysis for predictive maintenance could be realized.

How has this concept influenced how you approach technology development and new ideas?

In R&D we focus much more on networking with other manufacturers of mobile automation devices. The target is providing integrated IoT solutions to the heavy-duty vehicle markets.


Automation Advancements & Smart Systems

What technology is the most significant contributor to the progress of vehicle automation?

Cloud-based communication is an essential technology for vehicle automation. Due to the lack of wired infrastructure between mobile vehicles it is a must to provide a stable and secure wireless data transmission between the cloud and the mobile equipment.

How does your company contribute to autonomous systems development and success?

In autonomous systems there is a high safety level requirement to the automation equipment. As a result we focus on the development of redundant sensor solutions. Such devices enable the mobile equipment manufacturer to follow safety requirements in a reliable and cost-effective way.

Managing the Data Trend

How is your company utilizing data in new and valuable ways?

SIKO's focus is on enriching the core sensing data with ambient conditions or operation information. This helps to detect malfunction of a system or a dangerous operation out of specs.

What value is this providing to your company and customers?

Such multi-sensing devices offer the opportunity to stop or limit the functionality of a vehicle before dangerous damage could occur. Furthermore, such enriched data can be used for efficient predictive maintenance concepts.

Where do you see data leading the industry? What is its potential?

Using data increases the productivity of a heavy-duty vehicle. During operation M2M-communication and cloud-based control increases the efficiency of the machine. In addition,  predictive maintenance helps to reduce unplanned standstill time. In summary,  utilization of data is a strong push to productivity.

Several manufacturers are now investing in data analyst and programmer experts to shape the direction of their company and its use of data. What is your company’s end goal with data?

As a manufacturer of measurement devices SIKO has the challenge to provide its sensor data in a standardized format. Such data integrity is the key for further data analysis and the creation of added value. So our goal is providing the relevant data via a standardized and easy to integrate interfaces. 

Challenges & Opportunities

What new challenges have arisen that effect the way you design or manufacture your product? How you do business? How you go to market? How you differentiate yourself from the competition?

The use of smart systems is increasing the rate of technological advancements remarkably. Furthermore the design process is getting more complex as products are more and more customized for particular applications. At the same time the product should be available as fast and as economic as a mass article. SIKO's particular strength is the ability to develop customized length and angle measuring industrial sensors in a quick and efficient way. Compared to sensors out of mass production our application specific solutions allow mobile equipment manufacturers to integrate such state-of-the-art technology into their vehicles without compromises to price, functionality or durability.

Has the rate of technological advancement (for example, the rapid emergence of data products) had any impact on business decisions, development, or product performance and client expectations?

The increased speed of technological developments requires a much more flexible product design. The product life cycles are dramatically reduced. So each product has to be designed in a way that it could be easily adapted to new market requirements.

What is your company’s opportunity to impact the marketplace with a unique product, capability or offering? 

Our experience in the industrial machinery market as well as in the mobile equipment industry enables us to convert experiences from one sector into opportunities for the other industry. As a result we recently launched a new and unique sensor solution for hydraulic cylinders. That product allows the manufacturing of smart cylinders for heavy-duty vehicles in a completely flexible and cost-effective way.


The Global Landscape

Has the recent nationalism focus for several key countries including the U.S. altered the way you evaluate international opportunities, work with global partners, or any part of your business currently? Do you see an impact in the future?

Data products and IoT-solutions always require collaboration between partners in a network. Despite the increasing nationalism we are convinced that international cooperation and a globalization will continue to be essential for a successful business.

What are your regions/markets of interest for expansion or investment you are looking at for future opportunities?

We do see remarkable growth potential in Asia. There will be a strong push from the governments into the direction of more automation and the utilization of IoT solutions. All this goes along with an increased demand in sensors.

Are there any new industries or applications you are exploring?

Due to the increased demand in data products the basic demand for sensors in heavy-duty vehicles will continuously increase. So we expect new applications of our products in various fields of mobile equipment.

What key policies are you watching closely that could impact your business, either positively or negatively?

SIKO is a globally active sensor manufacturer. So every approach to reduce or increase market entry barriers is of high importance for our business. Particularly mutual acceptance of local regulations would help a lot to reduce complexity of the product development. As a result, value would be created to our customers by being able to offer cost-effective smart sensor solutions.