Sometime machines simply do not work and when this does happen, it can result in downtimes and expensive support from service technicians. The potential to make savings is huge and one way to do this is to connect up machines. To make this “M2M-communication” possible, the German startup com2com has developed a unique platform. Here’s our interview with the CODE_n finalist from Dortmund.
Where did your idea for the company come from?
We worked together in a research project where we had to build an infrastructure for a remote maintenance application. The application was based on enterprise technologies that make it possible to build a clean architecture that is scalable to application load. But we also realized that requested changes and new requirements resulted in significant work to make consistent implementation on all layers possible, including persistent layers and security constraints. This made us think about how to improve the development of such server applications and if it is necessary to build a new application from scratch for every use case. We finally started to build our own tools for a generative development process and used them to develop a more generic platform that can be used for remote maintenance and M2M applications in a wide area of application. Based on this first product, we founded com2m and now offer an M2M platform as a software-as-a-service solution, as well as individual applications that we can build very efficiently with our own tools.s.
For which kind of audience is your product or service intended and what problem is it solving?
Imagine that you and your company are build a professional cleaning device like the ones you see in supermarkets. You sell these machines with a maintenance contract. Every time one a machine stops working as intended, you get a phone call and have to send a service technician to the customer. When he arrives, he might find out that the problem was caused by a misconfiguration. While the problem itself is easy to fix, the customer could not use his machine for a few hours and you need to pay the technician. With our M2M platform, we help to improve such processes. Instead of a customer employee having to make a call, the machine could send a message if it detects a problem. Based on this message, you can check the machine status and configuration yourself, for example by using our mobile app. By doing so, you can identify and fix the problem without even leaving your office. This results in a much shorter downtime of each connected machine, while you cut your costs.
This example can be extended to different applications areas where minimum downtimes and quick response times are important, but also if you would like to collect and analyze machine data, for example for predictive maintenance. Our customers are companies that either produce machines that can be equipped with a communication module (thus providing an extended portfolio to their customers – by integrating remote maintenance capabilities in their machines), or companies that operate a number of machines themselves. Th4y benefit direct from this kind of M2M solution.
Tell us a bit about the company’s founders like their professional or industry background and the origins of the founding idea.
Sabine is a professor of software engineering and does research projects in the area of M2M and Industry 4.0. Thilo, David and Martin were working on one of these projects as research assistants and have a strong background in software architecture in cloud applications like our M2M platform. Nevertheless, to provide software-as-a-service solutions you need more than the right skills to develop software. You also need the right skills to operate and host applications. This is why Stephan is the perfectly complement to the team. He has more than 15 years of experience in providing security Internet hosting services.
You offer Software-as-a-Service as well as individual consulting. Can you tell us about your experience in this area? Can services like yours actually work and are they compatible with all kinds of applications and devices, or does they still sometimes need a certain amount of customization?
Of course our M2M platform does not always meet the exact requirements of our customers. But in many cases it does allows firms to use an innovative product that improves their processes without any initial outlay, especially small and mid-sized companies. So our customers already make significant gains in terms of improvements by using our default product.
Such use of our application can also be a “proof of concept” for a customer and provided a basis for more customized solutions. If new requirements need considering or an individual solution is required, our customers can benefit from our own tools. These allow us to generate much of the application code ourselves which accelerates “time-to-market.”
See com2m live on the CODE_n Stage on Thursday, 19.03.2015.