Below is our recent interview with Rob Schoenthaler, CEO and Founder at Atollogy:
Q: Who is Atollogy? Where did the name come from?
A: Atollogy is a 2-year-old Silicon Valley startup changing the world with simple to deploy, non-intrusive Industry 4.0 technology solutions.
The name comes from “atolls”, a type of island. We connect “islands” of stranded operations data in our customers’ facilities together and to the people who work in and manage those facilities.
Q: What was the purpose in founding the company?
A: To bring modern operations technology to factories and other operational facilities that have been ignored for decades by the software industry
Q: What is the specific mission of the company?
A: Make operational excellence easy and accessible for companies of all shapes and sizes. We analyze not just machines, but also people & products, for comprehensive monitoring & analysis of our customer’s operations. As a turnkey solution, we offer a simple, low-risk IIoT option that can be installed in hours and deliver benefits in days.
Q: What does your technology do?
A: Atollogy’s proprietary algorithms and AI capabilities are revolutionizing how companies manage operations by integrating the physical world with artificial intelligence through Machine Vision. We use our cameras and sensors to automatically and continuously turn what they see into data and analytics about our customers operations.
Q: Would you consider your solution a breakthrough?
A: Yes. We are bringing powerful, cutting-edge cost-effective technology to digitize the management of operations that in the past have had no affordable options to do so, nor the team or technical skills implement them.
Q: Why is now the time for this technology?
A: Every day the competitive gap widens, and our skilled worker shortage grows. With almost no effort or change management required for our customers to adopt our solutions to learn, manage and improve their operations, there is really no excuse to wait!
Q: Who could use your solution?
A: Any company that manages industrial operations that involve equipment, vehicles, materials and / or people to get work done can benefit from our solutions.
Q: What are your primary target industries, and then who would be your primary targeted end user?
A: Today, we serve manufacturing companies, bulk-material producers, logistics providers and the aviation industry. We continue to grow the footprint of industries we serve, though. Our sponsor is typically the VP of Operations. The team members who benefit from our solution include the workers & supervisors who are able to leverage our real time analytics while doing their work (without needing to use a mobile phone or computer to do so!), and the continuous improvement or industrial engineering teams who leverage our data to gain new insights to areas for improvement.
Q: Where are you installed – geographically?
A: Today we are installed in North America across several states in the US from California to Florida, Canada & Mexico. In EMEA we are installed in the UK and Dubai, and will soon be adding more facilities within continental Europe.
Q: How many customers do you have? Any of them “rolling out” your solution?
A: We currently have over 2 dozen customers and are adding more quickly. Several have already rolled out our solution to additional work centers and / or facilities after their initial deployments.
Q: What are the business challenges your customers are trying to overcome?
A: They are all working to improve the throughput and productivity of their operations, while facing severe labor shortages, aging equipment and growing demand.
Q: What makes you unique in the world of IIoT?
A: Because we don’t actually connect to equipment like most IIoT solutions, we can make just about anything in our customers operations a “thing” (e.g. a specific piece of equipment) – no matter how old or manual they are. We can also digitize the activity of people and materials, which the vast majority of IIoT solutions simply ignore – despite the immense value that data about them can bring to the customers.
Q: What is the added value you bring to the table?
A: We bring an ENTIRE IIoT solution to our customers, not just a toolkit that they are somehow expected to use to find value in their own data. Our solution encompasses
-providing the devices to collect data (mostly cameras, but also sensors),
-an entirely independent on-site network for our devices to connect to each other and the internet
-a cellular-based internet connection for the data we collect to get to the Cloud
-Generation of continuous streaming analytics to help our customers improve how they manage their operations, and their business results.
Q: What are some of the examples of ROI your customers have achieved – $$, timeframe?
A: One example is a manufacturing customer in the automotive sector. They used our solution to better understand and manage one of their underperforming departments, and have seen a 10X ROI based on their own analysis.
Q: How quickly do your customers get results?
A: The customer above saw these results in just a couple of months. Our customers generally see results this quickly, because we do not require a complicated or lengthy IT / consulting project to deliver our solution, and we focus on providing continuous, real-time, actionable insights within weeks of signing up.
Q: Do you need to integrate into IT worlds? Or do you integrate with other programs?
A: We do not REQUIRE any integration with any of our customers’ existing systems, nor do we even require any training of users since there is zero data entry. Our initial scope is always designed to let our customers move quickly and see benefits, and then later decide what integrations could enhance the value of our solution to their businesses. We typically integrate to ERP or MES / Shop Floor systems, or feed data lakes with the outputs from our systems for customers who have teams that can work on big data.
Q: What is your greatest challenge?
A: Scaling fast enough to meet the growing demand for our solution in the market.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: Ultimately we want to see Atollogy in every operation on the planet! In the short term, however, we plan to continue to grow our customer footprint in North America and Europe, and launch our full video analytics capabilities to new and existing customers this fall.