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Kathrein Solutions

Venture further into the Global IoT

Articles | By Kathrein | 08 September 2016
IoT market has huge growth potential IoT market has huge growth potential

With a reorientation towards a stronger focus on providing solutions, the Kathrein Group is looking ahead into the future

Highly sophisticated hardware and software is the key to value-adding future-proof IoT solutions. The Kathrein Group recognised that this is a successful model and already achieved this synergy two years ago. The reason is obvious: future-oriented companies always endeavour to implement smart complete solutions and to holistically realise processes. Kathrein now orientates its solution business totally towards its customers.

Today, the business field of Kathrein RFID is a part of the “Solutions Business Unit” and bears the name “Kathrein IoT Solutions”. Jürgen Walter, as Senior Vice President, is responsible for the “Solutions Business Unit”. Thomas Brunner, as Head of Business Line, manages the “Kathrein IoT Solutions”. When interviewed by “RFID im Blick”, both managers describe the strategy that lies behind the reorientation and how IoT applications are driven globally, as well as how customers all around the world can benefit from this spirit of change.

Jürgen Walter, Senior Vice President, Solutions Business Unit, and Thomas Brunner, Head of Business Line Kathrein IoT Solutions, Kathrein Group, in an interview with “RFID im Blick Global”

High frequency solution in the IoT

“Today, having core competence in high frequency technology constitutes the basis for innovative products and antenna solutions, and thus the market leadership of Kathrein in many areas,” Jürgen Walter emphasises and explains: “Our product business is now complemented by a solution business that is aiming to realise a perfect interaction of permanently improved hardware, software ideally attuned to it, and holistic services designed for customer benefits.”

Thomas BrunnerThomas Brunner “In the scope of the reorientation towards the solution business, we are required to improve the existing RFID hardware so that, despite innovative features such as direction detection and even higher security levels, integration becomes steadily easier. There, we profit from the software know-how that came with noFilis.”

Together with a broadly-based partner eco system, Kathrein is now able to integrate scalable IoT solutions in almost every country. “Whether an individual customer in Brazil is looking for a solution, or a multinational corporation such as Audi wishes to gradually roll out an application into numerous factories spread around the globe – in cooperation with a network of partners, turn key projects covering everything from the first concept to the support come from a single source,” says the business unit manager.

Four solution segments with a single goal

The business unit “Solutions” is divided into four business areas and offers, in addition to IoT solutions, solutions for gigabit networks, for the network coverage inside of buildings, and for the optimisation of mobile communication antenna sites that are broad-based on Kathrein's broad service portfolio. “For many years, the Kathrein Group has been one of the global market leaders in antennas for mobile communication, car antennas, and in the broadcast environment with their big potential solution competence,” Jürgen Walter outlines. “In the light of convergence of technologies and application fields, our reorientation towards providing solutions and strengthening the proximity to our customers and their applications brings our high solution competence to the fore.”

Make synergies usable in-house

All four segments of the "Solutions" business unit draw on the same development organisation. “The resources are allocated with regards to the respective projects. Through the concept of having one development department for four different areas, we make it possible that individual projects benefit each other,” Jürgen Walter explains and Thomas Brunner adds: “In periodical in-house workshops, we bring together hardware and software developers from different development areas. The exchange of know-how is the foundation for future innovative solutions integrated at our customers to enhance process efficiency.”

Mergers and acquisitions for the next step

The “new” entrepreneurial approach of Kathrein becomes clearly visible when taking a look at the business line “IoT Solutions”. Through a merger with the long-standing partner noFilis, today Kathrein obtains in-house software and integration know-how, thus allowing them to offer customers turnkey IoT complete solutions, as Thomas Brunner emphasises: “From a developmental point of view, Kathrein has been one of the leading companies on the market since UHF RFID was first introduced. Numerous innovations in hardware are to be found in innumerable applications in companies worldwide.Early on, it became apparent to the development department that highly-sophisticated RFID technology alone will not be sufficient.

Jürgen WalterJürgen Walter “For many years, the Kathrein Group has been one of the global market leaders in antennas for mobile communication, car antennas, and also in the broadcast environment with their big potential solution competence. With our reorientation towards providing solutions and strengthening the proximity to our customers and their applications, this potential is realisable. We have identified high growth prospects in the IoT solutions business area in particular.”

Therefore, Kathrein was one of the first companies to integrate industrial computer technology into UHF readers. This is the only way to identify and process a large number of fast-moving transponders. In combination with the 'CrossTalk 3.0' software, captured data is filtered, sorted, and processed into events in order to make the ERP world able to directly make use of it.” For Thomas Brunner, the network capability of the hardware is the decisive factor in realising IoT solutions. “In case of a lack of TCP/IP functionality, real IoT solutions are almost impossible. Network technology is the global standard for IoT.”

Positioned for the future

“Companies benefit from our solutions because they get innovative hardware, software, and services from one source. With the acquisition of noFilis as a part of the globally-active Kathrein Group, companies gain assurance that there will be support over the next years for solutions they purchase today. Global positioning of the Kathrein Group reliably assures sustainability,” says Jürgen Walter.

IoT market has huge growth potential

Jürgen Walter and Thomas Brunner both agree: the IoT market will show strong growth within the next years. “The focus will shift from hardware to solutions. In the end, the customer is not interested in the technology used but rather in the achievable process optimisation. Thus, it is the responsibility of solution providers to choose the suitable hardware and to adjust the software to it. The customer gets an elegant, streamlined, and high-performance complete solution with a single interface – the one interface to their ERP environment.

Kathrein IoT Solutions operates without technological blinkers. If barcode is the technology that fits the application the best, we use it. Real-time location systems experience a strong upsurge. In this area, major development steps have been made in the market,” Jürgen Walter states. However, changing customer requirements will not lead to Kathrein cutting back their own hardware development. “Quite the contrary: we are required to improve the existing RFID hardware so that, despite innovative features such as direction detection and even higher security levels, integration becomes steadily easier. There, we profit from the software know-how that came with Nofilis,” Thomas Brunner explains.

IoT for industry, logistics, fashion, and much more

“High-performance cross-application platforms like 'CrossTalk 3.0' will assert themselves more and more in the IoT solutions field. Due to its modular design, complex features are easily configured. This broadens the application spectrum as the software can be used together with different identification hardware such as RFID or RTLS by specialised integrators of the Kathrein partner network,” Thomas Brunner explains and elaborates: “On the platform, applications for fashion retail as well as for container tracking in the oil and gas industry could be realised – the possibilities are almost limitless.”

Last modified on Saturday, 10 September 2016 12:54
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