Mr. Balke, what is Rutronik SMART all about?
Markus Balke: Our hashtag #IoT_enabler explains it fairly succinctly-Rutronik SMART is our umbrella brand for everything needed to enable IoT applications-end to end, from sensor to cloud. It focuses on sensors and wireless, as well as security solutions and cloud services. But it also encompasses displays, mains power supply units, batteries, as well as everything else down to the smallest resistor-basically, everything you need for IoT devices. We also help our customers develop their ecosystem and facilitate contact with software providers for special projects where necessary.
But Rutronik offers all of this already. What's the point of Rutronik SMART?
IoT developers can find exactly the modules here that they need and that are best suited for their projects. The criteria defined for these are a small construction size, a high level of integration, low power consumption and at least three years of availability. So basically, we've pre-selected components from Rutronik's enormous portfolio. In the Rutronik SMART mission statement, we put it like this-we are the IoT partner that provides its customers with a single source for everything. We allow them to minimize their risk, reduce their costs and gain technological advantages against their competitors.
Sounds good! Can you describe it more precisely?
I already mentioned that it acts as a single source for all of an IoT developer's needs. They're in good hands, because Rutronik as an owner-managed distributor maintains long-term business relationships-and this is only possible when both sides benefit in the long run. To this end, we operate with a top-class service level and high quality standards, offering in-time delivery and continuous availability of around 30 billion components.
Single-source procurement also reduces costs thanks to the need for fewer procurement sources. The well-coordinated logistics systems and standardized EDI systems (Electronic Data Interchange) for automated ordering also help reduce workload and expense.
And where does the competitive advantage come from?
Our specialists provide support for each project based on their extensive product, technology and market expertise as well as their experience from a variety of projects. We are familiar with the roadmaps of leading component suppliers and solution providers, which allows us to help our customers be sure that they are using the latest solutions and technologies. And because we advise the customer for the entire solution without being dependent on any given suppliers, this also allows smart approaches to combining these solutions and technologies.
But IoT projects are about more than just the hardware. The biggest challenge is often with the software, for example when there is a need to filter out noise frequencies in radar measurement technology, for which we establish contact with qualified third-party service providers-the same applies to production.
We know that IoT is a broad field. Are there markets or applications on which Rutronik SMART focuses?
We generally cover everything, as many requirements in the various fields are identical. Even so, there are a few markets which we do focus on. We see compelling applications for digital solutions in the Smart Health segment. They can offer a way out of the dilemma facing society whereby populations are aging, but there is still a shortage of nursing staff. Examples would be a "digital nurse" for monitoring patients or telemedical solutions where the health and well-being of elderly people is monitored. This allows them to continue living in their own homes for as long as possible, even if they are weak or sick.
We expect a major boom in smart tracking, especially position tracking, which involves the creation of movement profiles. Condition tracking, which involves monitoring goods during transport, also offers considerable growth potential, as well as predictive maintenance, where machinery is monitored remotely to predict how it needs to be maintained.
Retail is also an incredibly interesting market-after all, brick & mortar retailers need to be able to put up a fight against the online giants if they don't want to end up surrendering the market to them. Smart retail solutions, for example, allow them to adjust prices automatically depending on the quality and shelf life of the goods, or to relocate goods between different outlets as necessary.
There is an incredibly large number of applications that fall under the "Smart Home" umbrella, and we focus here primarily on building automation and smart control, for example for heating, air conditioning and access control. Our latest project, which we created ourselves at Rutronik SMART and which we have invested a lot of research effort in, also falls under the Smart Home umbrella.
And what is it?
A deodorizer-but one that is actually worthy of the name and doesn't simply cover up bad smells with other smells. A sensor detects all of the components, a specially trained algorithm identifies them, and a UV LED is used selectively destroy them. This is a minor revolution for any area where unpleasant odors can develop, from toilets to kitchens, from landfills to gyms. (Editor's note: If you are interested in the details, there is a special article on this on page 27SAM.)
Looking at the website at rutronik.com/smart, you'd think it was more a social media platform than a corporate website. Is Rutronik SMART targeted specifically at a younger customer group?
We are primarily addressing Generation Y developers, those who were born in the 80s and 90s. Some work in startups, others are established customers of Rutronik who are now seeking to integrate connectivity into their products. But we are also contacted by companies who previously had barely anything to do with electronics, instead being primarily from mechanical engineering fields, but who now want to provide internet support for their devices. They are all familiar with the look & feel of our website from Instagram or LinkedIn. When designing the website, it was also just as important for us to have the functions associated with this: a diverse newsfeed along with hashtag searches to find everything on certain topics quickly, as well as the ability to find anything in our portfolio that is needed for IoT projects.
Find components at www.rutronik24.com.
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