Advantech has set up a $50m to invest in startups to accelerate the adoption of technology for the Internet of Things (IoT), facotry automation and Smart Cities.
“For Europe, Advantech has launched a capital fund of $50m for Europe and the US to accelerate industrial app based automation solutions with domain expertise,” said Jash Bansidhar, Managing Director of Advantech Europe and AVP of Industrial IoT Sector.
The funding can be for projects, as investment in an early stage startup or company looking to grow, or for joint ventures, Bansidhar tells eeNews Europe. The key is having specialist knowledge in factory automation, IoT or smart cities that can use Advantech’s sensor and embedded computing hardware and cloud services.
“The capital is meant to invest in the startups to expand their resources to create more, whether we take a minority share or work project based or even JV, so it’s like seed funding,” he said.
If there are successful projects there will be more funding, he says. “The $50m is just a direction – once the success has been proven, the funding is not limited to a certain amount,” he said. “If Europe has great opportunities, those will get supported.”
This builds on the Solution Ready Platform (SRP) and cloud services that Advantech has developed to allow industrial automation and factory operators to evaluate the technology quickly and easily.
One of these SRPs combines a vibration sensor board and gateway with a cloud connection for condition monitoring of motors.
“It is important for the factory to be able to take it out of the box and run it. The vibration sensor is sensing, processing, visualisation and control so its all-in-one package that a factory can mount on their machine, configure and quickly see the status and connect to other systems to get the data into their own infrastructure. This example is how we want to enable the speed of IoT with solution ready packages,” said Bansidhar.
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“The customer can see in a few days if it is a benefit so the ROI [Return On Investment analysis] is done quickly – they just buy a box, implement it and go. We work with our own factory people and system integrators as customers, productise it and put it in the app store. Because we are doing this on a global scale you can imagine how quickly that will go.”
“These SRP are making it easy for end users to justify the ROI,” he said.
“We are adding cloud based offering to complete the link from the edge to the cloud. But who will implement this? Who will create the go-to-market? So the system integrators are the go-to-market route and they need to build out their own eco-system in a country. They are often startups or scale ups so to accelerate the technology you need funding and that’s where the fund will be spent.
“Those opportunities can be harvested much quicker now as we have this fund. The funding process will evaluate the value proposition and will come from all over Europe.”
He points to a company in Prague that Advantech works with that has an all in one cloud-based passenger WiFi and infotainment system for bus and trains. “This is easy to scale and add services and after we started to promote this to our customers in train operators they were interested,” he said. “That’s an example of a scale up that because we have a wide portfolio and global network, Europe is in their reach, the US is in their reach, Asia is intheir reach, and we are changing the way players use IoT.”
Companies interested in applying for the fund can contact eeNews Europe
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