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We caught up with Joe on the Elements Technology stand in the Expo’s Innovation Showcase area. “We’re back!” he tells us. “One year on… and we’ve gone from just an idea twelve months ago to a soft launch here at the show this year in advance of our full launch in May.” Since winning the Expo’s Hack & Pitch first prize in 2018, Joe has tweaked his ideas to create a solution designed specifically for SME manufacturers. Combining order tracking, order management and order generation functions, it offers SMEs an easy and accessible way to get started with Industry 4.0. Joe explains: “We use consumer technologies like mobile phones and simple-to-use technologies such as contactless so that people can track orders on the shopfloor in the same way that they can pay for a coffee in Costa or Starbucks.” Commentators have noted for some time that consumer technologies have raced ahead while workplace solutions have been slow to leverage the same technological advances in an affordable way, and Joe is aiming to close this gap.

His solution asks why SMEs shouldn’t experience the benefits of the technologies we’ve become used to using in our home lives in the workplace? In taking this approach, Elements Technology is also bringing down the cost of Industry 4.0 solutions. “Ninety-nine percent of manufacturers are SMEs,” Joe points out. “And, of them, 92 percent are small and micro businesses. By replacing barcode or RFID technologies with contactless, we are able to provide an accessible, low-cost solution. You can use any Android phone – and that opens up all sorts of possibilities. Plus, we can activate all sorts of existing components on the phone to build onto the platform. For example, we might want to use the camera for quality control purposes. Or GPS for order tracking.” As well as bringing the price of the solution right down, using existing consumer technologies also reduces the fear factor. We are used to handling phones, so the solution feels much more intuitive than, for example, a barcode scanner. This minimises the need for training. 27

Profile for GB Media & Events Ltd.

Industry 4.0 Magazine  

It has been three months since our flagship event – The Industry 4.0 Summit & Expo in Manchester. The developments in Industry 4.0 have cont...

Industry 4.0 Magazine  

It has been three months since our flagship event – The Industry 4.0 Summit & Expo in Manchester. The developments in Industry 4.0 have cont...