The year 2019 is almost over and that is why our CEO, Henk Schwietert, looks back on the past year. What were the highlights of 2019? And what are the prospects for 2020? Henk answers these questions in this interview.
Many new projects, upscaling of current projects and a strengthening of the management team, that is 2019 in a nutshell. Rebecca Clarke and Sari Ahokas have been part of the new MT since October and in this MT they are the driving force behind the scaling up and international expansion of IoT products. Evalan entered into new partnerships in the Netherlands and abroad and has welcomed construction company BAM as a client this year. BAM has asked Evalan to develop a sensor module for their modular ceiling in which multiple systems, such as lighting, ventilation and the sprinkler system, are integrated. Henk: “The modular ceiling is a high-tech concept in which quality can be better controlled and installation is faster than with traditional solutions.”
Live demonstration Heineken Blade at BNR
Another highlight for Evalan is the Heineken Blade project. Starting in June, Evalan is developing an end-to-end IoT solution for the Blade, an innovative tapping installation, with features that improve ease of use. With the solution, Heineken can offer targeted technical support and gain marketing insights. The development process of the IoT solution is progressing well, and the first prototypes are now in use at test locations. Shortly after the kick-off, Evalan organized a design thinking workshop to formulate both a common focus and a clear objective. Within half a year after the start of the project a positive reaction followed in the BNR radio broadcast where Heineken demonstrated the Connected Blade. Heineken is now testing with one hundred units and will expand this test by 1000 units in 2020.
Acknowledgment from the Minister of Defense
The ARMOR heat stress monitor, which Evalan developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense, is another important highlight on Henk’s list. In November 2018, the project started with the first tests with 250 soldiers in eight different sessions. Defense responded enthusiastically to the first tests and with a few adaptations there is now a first rollout of 70 systems, each consisting of 15 devices including a sensor and heat monitor device. Henk: “We are the only party that provides a solution on this scale to prevent heat injuries. Heat stress is an important theme for Defense and in this way they can monitor the health of soldiers. We have received an acknowledgement from the Minister of Defense for our contribution, presented by Major General Van der Zee. This was an important highlight for us”.
Expansion of current IoT projects
Evalan also expanded a number of ongoing IoT projects in 2019. One of these projects is MijnHandicart, a system to remotely monitor golf carts and easily manage the fleet. Henk: “More than 12,000 transactions per month flow through our system and this works to the great satisfaction of our customer. We are therefore going to expand the project with a set of new functions. ”In addition, there is a follow-up assignment for the SpiroNose from Breathomix. The SpiroNose measures and analyzes exhaled air to diagnose respiratory diseases. The first units were delivered this year to Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands, among others, to test in research settings. Evalan will now add a flow sensor to the device. This sensor determines whether the device is being used properly.
Unilever, Sensemedic, SmartEagle and Priva
The other highlight Henk mentions is the accession of a new shareholder in Evalan’s spin-out company bGrid in October. Henk: “Priva has invested in smart building company bGrid, which now results in more intensive cooperation. An important milestone for the further development of the bGrid company.” bGrid’s solution has been installed at Unilever headquarters in the United States, where management contract has been extended this year. With AstraZeneca, Evalan worked for a long time on setting up a support program in China with Sensemedic, the smart medicine device that monitors medication use. Scaling up that program started in August with rollout to various hospital centers. Evalan’s innovation SmartEagle, a workplace occupation monitor, is about to start. A prototype version is now being tested in a controlled setting.
Working together and positive energy
What is Henk most proud of? That is how the team works together and manages to set up complete IoT projects. The Heineken Blade project is an example. The way in which Evalan’s team has handled the project, the results achieved and the fact that the experiences gained in the project strengthen the company, are important positive developments. An example is the design thinking workshop that Evalan is now also conducting with other customers. Henk: This is primarily because we have built up a strong relationship by properly completing existing assignments. The team working on this assignment has taken up this challenge with a lot of positive energy and the right commitment. That is fantastic to see.” The ARMOR project is also an example of a successful collaboration in which good results have been achieved after long development, testing, monitoring and checking. Henk: “Every day people work together here with each other and with customers and this cooperation ensures that small steps in the development process develop into results.”
Henk: “At Evalan, employees want to be active and challenged, get responsibilities within projects and learn from new developments. We are building a strong team. I am proud of the way people at Evalan work together.”
Ready for 2020!
When asked what Henk hopes to achieve with Evalan in 2020, he answers that further development of existing IoT products for upscaling plays a major role. Henk: “In our projects we have developed technical systems that are suitable as building blocks of an IoT platform, with which we can realize new solutions faster. We also developed a ‘smart care’ system for hospitals and geriatric institutions, which we want to start testing in 2020.”
Another important spearhead for 2020 is the IoT Innovation Day that will take place on the 2nd of April 2020. During this day, all the highlights of 2019 and 2020 come together in plenary sessions of customers and experts and deep dive sessions about the development of IoT products. Henk: “We would like to welcome many of our customers and partners on this innovation day.”