IN2 has transformed and turned to digital transformation, blockchain, IoT, drones
Foto: Dražen Tomić, Tomich Productions
One of the largest domestic IT companies started their own digital transformation and adaptation to major market change. We talked about that with Sanja Svilokos, Executive Director of the IN2 Group, in charge of Digital Business.
According to her, they are currently focusing on the development of concepts and software solutions in the fields of Internet of Things, unmanned aviation and blockchain technology, and providing advanced analytics and machine learning services and products.
IN2 has started reorganization, one part of the business was transferred to a special sector. There is a digital transformation, digital business. What does this sector do today?
IN2 Group has been known in the region for 25 years now for its standard software solutions, and in recent years we have been following and developing trends in innovative technology areas and their areas of application. Since the beginning of this year, the development of digital business has been separated into a special sector where we grouped these initiatives and strengthened the focus on business-technology R&D and software solutions in a number of fast-growing technology areas.
Which products and solutions precisely?
We are currently focusing on developing concepts and software solutions in the area of Internet of Things, unmanned aircraft and blockchain technology, and providing advanced analytics and machine learning products, software solutions for serialization, and ultimately digital solutions to support new digital business models and channels to customers of our clients. As you can see, these are different areas, and these projects are at different stages of development cycles. Some of them are still in the initial stages of developing business-technology concepts while others are already finished solutions and platforms in the implementation cycle. We also set up these development initiatives through various ways of organization and implementation, in order to maximize the development potential and the effects. Some of them are internal projects involving experts from the whole organization, some we do together with partners as startup projects, and some through special companies operating within the IN2 Group.
How much is the need for digital transformation in Croatia and region understood?
Certainly, the level of information and understanding about digital transformation is increasing in the business community both here and in the region. Numerous conferences, workshops and lectures on digital transformation for numerous business verticals and sectors have been held in the past year, ranging from financial services, marketing, media, manufacturing, public services and utilities, health, agriculture, etc. Also, good indicators of understanding the needs and specific activities are numerous inquiries of our clients that ask for help in choosing solutions and priorities for their introduction, engagement of consulting companies on strategy development, relocation of decision-making centers from IT sector to marketing and business sectors, and familiarity with Cloud concepts.
What are the key focus areas in product and software development at the moment?
Through our initiatives, we are dealing with IoT solutions for different asset management types that include hardware components (sensors, hubs) and software IoT platforms, with integration with other parts of the digital business portfolio (drones, serialization, advanced analytics). Some of the concrete examples are solutions in cattle breeding or in construction.
In the unmanned aviation program, we are working on a solution for the agriculture/farm vertical, on the development of application on the DroneDeploy platform, a kind of app market, linking with smart agricultural machinery, consulting services and integration of existing components and newly developed software solutions into new services.
In the field of serialization software, we continue to develop our Taggyt product, which is the basis for introducing traceability in various industries such as food and beverages, luxury goods production, sports equipment etc. Our software solution enables monitoring and optimization of production and distribution processes, protection against counterfeiting, to the opening of a direct channel of communication of brands with customers, in innovative ways and through digital channels. The new dimension of customer interaction through digital channels is also complemented by the segment of digital platforms which we have also recently started intensively working with. Through the customer experience management platform and integration platforms we help companies to introduce, or upgrade their digital businesses and digital channels to their customers, buyers, and partners. And that entire set of platforms and solutions that are present in the digital transformation process is rounded off by the products or platforms for managing a large amount of data and advanced analytics we are dealing with in IN2data within the group.
Today many talk about Blockchain technology, what is expected in the future and how do you even explain to users?
Blockchain technology allows communication between two entities without intermediaries and is currently the most widely used in the form of transactions where no intermediary verifies the validity of the transaction. In the Blockchain area, we are working specifically on a Fintech project, but we see potential applications in a variety of other industries. The future of blockchain is in developing a protocol that will become a new layer in application development and interaction between process and transaction participants.
The thing that attracted IN2 to this project is the fact that it is a platform that allows for the construction of new, decentralized systems that can reduce costs and time, and do not require investments in large infrastructure.
Blockchain is a highly relevant digital disruption model that we believe will affect many industries. Therefore, we have decided to actively participate in it now, to develop our solutions and competencies.
Drones have been talked about for a long time and their use in various areas has long since started. How will drone’s application develop?
The strong development of new models of aircraft and sensors with a continuous drop in prices opens up a whole host of new drone drive scenarios, and we are witnessing the segmentation of the market in the form of specialization of solutions and the emergence of professional aircraft targeting the so-called Enterprise segment of the market. That precisely is the reason for IN2's entry into this business segment because we want to take advantage of our know-how in building complex Enterprise IT systems to help our clients build solutions that, using unmanned aircraft, can link the collected data to business processes and thus improve their business or reduce costs. An increasing number of large companies show interest in drones. They want to explore the possibilities of application in their business to find business processes in which unmanned aircraft can give the highest added value. Today, drones are used in the visual field for data gathering and infrastructure monitoring, and for replacing people in dangerous jobs (inspection and maintenance of high-rise buildings, access to hard-to-reach locations, locations under voltage, etc.). A major step forward will be possible when the Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flying is regulated since today's technology already allows it. Such scenarios of application will bring great savings because they allow delivery over long distances (e.g. all Croatian islands), recording and/or mapping of agricultural land, gas pipeline, power lines, highways, forests, sea and land surveillance, and we will probably witness some new scenarios.
Of course, there is also advanced analytics and machine learning. What do you expect from the area that many call AI?
Internet Cloud today is a mature platform and all major Cloud service providers today offer advanced analytical tools and machine learning. As time goes by, more and more computing systems will migrate to Cloud and at the same time the possibilities of using these technologies will be opened. Cloud is a natural environment where AI can achieve full potential because it allows machine learning algorithms to use large amounts of data through Big Data and IoT platforms that are a component of Internet Cloud services.
Today it is practically impossible to imagine a business vertical which has no use of the mentioned technologies. Their application ranges from saving opportunities through optimization of business processes, such as predictive maintenance, to increasing customer satisfaction levels (through targeted marketing activities, contextual and personalized customer interactions or prevention of churn, etc.) and, consequently, increased business results and revenue. When we further consider the importance of AI for the Industry 4.0 concept, and especially of robotics as its component, we can conclude that AI will be an extremely important factor in the development of technology and industry in general in the near future.
A big topic is IoT, and IN2 recently had a conference on it. There are many areas where this can be applied. What kind of concrete applications do you see?
Beginning of June, IN2 organized a conference on "Digital Transformation of Gas Distributors and Water Supply Providers in the Republic of Croatia" with an emphasis on Internet of Things technology. Recently, there has been a development of small power consumption and large-scale communication networks development, but limited with the amount of data that can be transmitted. The mentioned branches of gas distribution and water services that manage their wide area infrastructure can take advantage of the potential of these technologies through Smart Metering. IoT and Internet Cloud is a natural environment that can handle the future large amount of data that comes from using such technologies and utilize the benefits through advanced analytical tools in the Cloud.
The application of IoT is, of course, much wider than the topic of that conference. There are various business verticals where IoT is expected to be of great importance, in addition to the mentioned energy/utilities, namely: health, manufacturing, smart cities, education, smart home, building management, trade and automotive industry. As we can see, the possibility of application is extremely wide, and IN2 is in the process of developing concepts in several areas such as Asset Management, Indoor Positioning, Environment Control and Industrial IoT, which are applicable to a series of industries. Particularly interesting is the concept we are developing in the field of agriculture that combines the use of IoT with unmanned aerial vehicles.
IN2 is also turning to rounded digital solutions and platforms for businesses that are starting or are already in the process of digital transformation, with the goal of developing new digital business models and channels to their customers, buyers, and partners. Which solutions are they?
Digital Businesses are technically supported by platforms in five areas: Core IT Systems, Integration Platforms, Customer Experience Management Platforms, Data and Analytic as well as IoT Platforms. With our presence, knowledge and experience in Core IT systems and integration platforms, and expanding the portfolio with customer experience management solutions (customer experience planning, web platform and CMS solutions, E-Commerce, Omnichannel solutions), we cover all of these segments. With that approach, we can, through rounded planning and implementation, help companies that are starting or are already implementing the digital transformation process.
Furthermore, with our long-standing experience in connecting with partners and delivering joint solutions, such as in verticals like financial services, healthcare, and energy, we can be both natural initiators and participants in the further development of the entire digital ecosystem. An example of this is participation in the project of building the Competence Center for Advanced Energy Management in Buildings and Infrastructure, where we work together with the academic community and a number of specialist energy partner companies.