InnoBooster project: Techno-Matic
Preparing for the Internet of Things
Techno-Matic is a Danish company with 20 employees offering Hydraulic solutions for Danish and international customers. The management of Techno-Matic felt a pressing need for a change in its technological capability to be able to develop future products. The products needed to be ready for meeting customers’ need related to the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data. Management therefore approached Aalborg University for expertise and advice.
For a long time Techno-Matic had a competitive advantage due to its strong capabilities in hydraulics. They can be used on many vehicles including trucks, large vehicles in the forest industry or in agriculture. To secure its future long-term competitiveness, Techno-Matic decided to move its offerings and products into the IoT space. Using its network and existing contacts to Aalborg University, Techno-Matic came in touch with the Matchmaker at the Department for Computer Science – technical project manager of CISS, Mads Kronborg Agesen.
Nature of the intervention: Brand new platform for IoT
Through several meetings with the matchmaker, Techno-Matic defined a new value proposition for its future business that would be based on IoT. This led to the upgrading of the company’s products with a new platform of software and hardware. Further, the company needed to equip the products with a digital communication platform and to develop the company staff’s digital qualifications. This would ensure that Techno-Matic was able to deal with big data analysis. This led to a dialogue on the way forward involving both the R&D group as well as the management of the board.
Techno-Matic has now developed a prototype of the communication module which is tested with customers. The company has received grants from the Innovation Fund Denmark – InnoBooster programme to further its project by up qualifying its organisation in collaboration with Aalborg University. Steps are also taken to start exporting Techno-Matic’s new solution.
Innovation Fund Denmark, IFD, is a state-financed investment fund that invests in new initiatives. The InnoBooster program, targeted at small enterprises and entrepreneurs, invests in ideas for a new product, a new service or improvements of processes to increase competitiveness. InnoBooster invests in the range from 7.000 euro to 70.000 euro, and does not require equity nor annuity payments upon investing.
Outcome: A new mindset
The main intervention from the matchmaker was to develop the company’s products and services with embedded systems for IoT and Big Data. Key success factor: Knowledge transfer from university The transfer of knowledge from the university was made through a professional matchmaker with knowledge and experience about how companies can innovate and build on the experience of academia.
The matchmaker holds a Master’s degree in Electronics and Information Engineering and has a practical background in product development and project management from industry. Aalborg University’s AAU Matchmaking is a network of matchmakers – knowledge brokers – who can guide companies to the right researchers and test facilities. The university offers collaboration that applies equally to small and medium businesses and to large – from working with students on projects or internships, to networking of researchers and practitioners (around specific subject areas), to opportunities to make use of university laboratory facilities. Common to these options is the scientific focus and an approach that in most cases benefits both the company and the researcher.
Lesson learnt: Small step method
A main learning is that the technological change can be accomplished with the small steps method even though the task up front seems overwhelming. This applies both internally and in the involvement of customers, who also have a learning curve ahead of them when it comes to IoT. Another important learning is to deliberately seek for outside input to help you to break out of your present mindset and changes in your technological path.
Case presented in Digital skills for SMEs, a document from DI Digital (DI ITEK), IVI (IMU) and PIN SME. Read more about the publication in our news article here.