In Episode 10 of The IoT Podcast we delve into the realm of Industry 4.0. with Ersan Guenes the Co-Founder and CEO at INTRANAV, a leading location and data service provider that is changing Industry 4.0. and automation in the SMART Factory and Warehouse. Ersan holds comprehensive system engineering experience under his belt, with high knowledge about RTLS and UWB Technology.
In this episode Ersan explores these questions:
- Could you explain your background in IoT Sensor Connectivity?
- What is INTRANAV’s role in innovating indoor and outdoor location tracking to automate industry 4.0 in factories and warehouses?
- Could you explain INTRANAV’s choice to adopt UWB technology and the benefits of this technology in optimising future applications?
- What involvement does RTLS play in social distancing monitoring and how this can be implemented into other industries?
- What can we expect to see in the future for SMART Factories and Warehouses?
Welcome to the IoT podcast. I am your host, Tom White. This is episode 10.
Today, I am joined by Ersan Guenes. Ersan is the co-founder and CTO of INTRANAV.
INTRANAV is a leading location and data service provider that is changing industry 4.0 and the automation of the smart factory and warehouse arena. Ersan, thank you very much for joining the podcast.
Thank you for having me here.
What is your background in IoT?
You’re very welcome. Ersan, could we start by explaining your background in IoT sensor connectivity and INTRANAV’s role today in innovating indoor and outdoor location tracking for the automation of factories and warehouses?
Sure. I would say my career started after graduating from university in Darmstadt, where I studied electrical engineering and informatics. I then worked on an Institute for Census, sensor networks, where I got the passion for IoT in the early ages- How to transmit sensor data reliably to the cloud and location-based services.
So the idea was to locate people or assets inside the warehouse or a retail store with small sensors. And that’s how the idea for INTRANAV started.
Okay, fantastic. And how long has INTRANAV been going for, Ersan?
It’s now been going for six years or seven years. How long have we been visible on the market? Well, we launched a product 2018. We did customer pilot projects for quite a time, and we developed our software platform, the RTLS IoT suite.
It’s not a generic IoT platform that you already know from Microsoft Azure or something like that. It is a very location-centric platform to manage all those devices, which are there for material identification, such as RFID readers and sensors; and barcode scanners with a nice add on that you can use; it’s integrated in any kind of application software.
What are the benefits of UWB Technology?
Sure, Fantastic. And, within tracking, the automation of warehouses and IoT at the moment, we are seeing a lot of use cases around UWB.
Could you explain why INTRANAV has decided to adopt UWB technology and the benefits of using it to optimize future applications?
So 2013, we saw the benefits of Ultra Wide Band. It was a very promising technology, not very popular. Still, it had the technical possibilities to be accurate, very precise, and low cost on shipping.
UWB was made for the mass market. And that is what is currently happening now, all the smartphone vendors are adopting UWB technology because they see it as a very reliable technology for consumer use cases. And, of course, the industrial use cases.
So we decided to adopt UWB very early. This is, of course, a benefit that helps us to perform better than others. Because we have the experience already with our customers here in Germany and Europe, we started to build up an ecosystem with different partners who could accelerate the adoption of this technology in industrial segments, like healthcare, production and logistics.
I really love to see how UWB keeps going. So more and more technology vendors or device vendors are adopting the technology. They are looking out for a middleware, applications and use cases.
The use cases are already there, from battery tracking for electrical vehicles, to social distance management, which helped a lot of companies in the COVID-19 pandemic to keep safe distances.
So, there are many use cases and the developer community is getting into that kind of technology [UWB]. They have very good access to that, to the APIs, from the smartphone vendors and software vendors to build and track something.
How is RTLS Technology helping to control the pandemic?
I think that leads me on nicely to my next question and the situation with the pandemic.
Obviously, the pandemic has pushed IoT solutions to the forefront at the moment. In fact, we recently talked to people who were creating wearables that monitor temperature as an indication of the virus. What involvement does RTLS play in social distancing monitoring, and how can this be implemented into other industries, in your opinion?
It plays a very big role when it comes to precise distances. So the six feet rule or, here in Europe, the 1.5 meter distance rule. To ensure we keep distance, we can measure the distance between two points, where Ultra Wide Band can deliver accurate data.
We can also use RTLS in the offices to show where people are to build somewhat of a flow management for the employees. Our technology can also show how many people are in one room, the maximum size or capacity for one meeting room, and give more transparency on these situations.
Lastly, RTLS can be used for social distance and contact tracing.
There are already some apps, that are using the Bluetooth interface of smartphones to track this. But there are also many industrial devices coming out now with the Ultra Wide Band technology, enabling anonymous data collection for contact tracing- and that is quite cool.
Absolutely. I think this is one of the main benefits that we are seeing at the moment, and something that we’ve seen when speaking to people recently on the show, is there are a lot of great use cases coming out from the sensor-driven environment of IoT. Be that utilizing NB-IoT, or LoRa, or SigBox, or various other platforms for social distancing, the use of data, and the manipulation of that data and analytics.
I think it’s huge. And also, it could be quite interesting in terms of the collection of this data, because IoT is around data points and data sets and we are finding out as much information to make informed decisions off the back of that.
So in a way, as sad as this pandemic has been, having a real-world example today and using tools and technologies such as RTLS can really make a difference in what we expect to see in the future. Because it’s clear that the pandemic is not going away very quickly, despite talk of vaccines, it is likely that this is something that we’re going to live with for some time. And would you agree that was the case, Ersan, in terms of what IoT can do to help this situation?
Yeah, I totally agree with your argument. COVID-19 is like a series of bad movies. This is the new normal, and we think we have to build up tools to prevent that. So it’s somehow the responsibility of the technology guys to build something that could help us in these kinds of situations.
I’ve seen it on the market at the beginning, from the pandemic lockdowns. So I guess everybody noticed that the projects shifted and now we see a huge demand for technologies to prevent and keep safety. This is like an accelerator, as a chance for us to build something for this type of new situations, and in the next years, there will be, I guess, a lot more of that.
What is the future for Industry 4.0.?
Time will certainly tell how things will change and adapt, given the situation.
Going slightly back to INTRANAV and what the company does as a core business. I’m sure many of our listeners, and I would be really interested in finding out your view on the future of smart factories and warehouses. What do you expect to see over the next five years?
Good question, of course. What I’m seeing is that there are a lot of technology vendors popping up from scratch. We will get to a multi-technology environment where more and more Bluetooth technologies will pop up to solve use cases in the industrial sector. Ultra Wide Band is one of, I would say, the fast-growing kind of technologies.
Then 5G, as I said, narrowband, IoT, Stick Fox, everybody is there. Also, customers want to boot applications on agnostic platforms. This is where the role of INTRANAV comes in. So we are building up the RTLS service platform where you can develop technologies, applications for multiple technologies, and orchestrate all those types of technologies.
There will be a vendor shake-out in the years to come, and some of them will align to standards. Some people will try to build up standards in this ecosystem.
There needs to be one clear view for customers who want to benefit from the technologies and want to couple different types of technologies to solve complex use cases, because everybody sees that IoT performs in the best way in complex use cases. That is where the money is, and you need tools that can handle that complexity.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much, Ersan. I know you’re a super busy guy, so I appreciate you taking the time out to come and join us on the podcast.
It’s been really interesting to learn your insights into IoT, obviously with INTRANAV in particular.
We wish you all the best in the future, and hopefully, we can keep in touch. Maybe in a year or two’s time, once INTRANAV has furthered its advancements in its field, you can come back on and talk about what you’ve done then.
Thank you very much.
Thank you, Ersan. Okay, cheers.