Responses from Ivan Di Federico, Topcon Positioning Group Chief Strategy Officer and Chairman of Topcon Agriculture
The [Industrial] Internet of Things (IIoT)
How is your company approaching the IIoT and, implementing it into the company’s day-to-day operations?
It is part and parcel to everything we do. Topcon embraces the philosophy of the IIoT by integrating it into virtually every phase of the solutions we provide to the marketplace. Whether it is construction, survey, or agriculture products — interconnected smart technology is both central to how we engineer our solutions and their functionality in the hands of our customers.
What opportunities are you seeing and challenges are you facing in regards to the IIoT?
The opportunities are seemingly limitless. The power of IIoT provides comprehensive planning, process control, workflow monitoring and extensive reporting that will bring our customers the full advantages of connectivity.
The challenges, as with most innovation, have mostly to do with adoption. Once the customers have an opportunity to see first-hand how the solutions we provide make them more efficient, the concept of IIoT makes perfect sense. The advanced productivity means undeniable higher profits for their businesses.
Is the general Internet of Things (IoT) playing a role in your company’s product designs? If so, how? And if not, do you anticipate it will at some point in the future?
We absolutely design our solutions with IoT top of mind. Our latest software systems such as MAGNET 4.0 provide real-time connected support for hardware as well as integration with our Sitelink3D service for instant data transfer and connectivity into active project sites. Additionally, Sitelink3D allows customers to plan, schedule, assign tasks and get reports, all in real time. The Web-based access allows them to manage jobs from anywhere. When practically any new product is designed, integration with these solutions is standard and expected procedure for Topcon.
What potential benefits or opportunities are available by implementing IoT technologies within your products?
Our smart and connected solutions enable comprehensive monitoring of conditions, operations and environment through sensors and data, which means monitoring knows no boundaries. Assets can be monitored from everywhere, wherever the customer happens to physically be. It enables real-time control of assets that can be customized based on needs and priorities. We call it “descriptive, predictive and prescriptive” analytics. The result for customers is higher productivity, less downtime and waste, and ultimately more profitability combined with less stress.
Challenges on the Horizon
What new challenges have arisen that effect the way Topcon designs or manufactures its products? How it does business? How it goes to market? How it differentiates itself from the competition?
The successes of our innovations have frankly raised customer expectations in not only the aftermarket, but also OEM segment. Operators expect and rely on our technology to get their jobs done faster and more efficiently. Topcon differentiates itself in the market by maintaining open access OEM philosophy, which allows higher integration into more OEMs and, ultimately, more control in the hands of our customers.
What new challenges do you see the industry as a whole facing, and how is your company looking to address/provide solutions with which to solve those challenges?
The new paradigm is moving towards the integration of different technologies to collect data from heterogeneous sources, which is exactly where we see our business going. Similar to other sectors, our mission will be to find information patterns that will help customers to improve their workflows and business, with valuable ROI.
Has the rate of technological advancement (such as the rapid emergence of data products) had any impact on business decisions, development, or product performance and client expectations?
For sure, there is significant impact. More productivity and best utilization of assets is a very attractive preposition for all our customers. Topcon is heavily committed to sustaining investments in the IIoT technology development in order to ensure continued success for our clients in running their businesses.