Julia Widmer, May 8, 2018
When Accenture, Daimler, EnBW and WirtschaftsWoche join forces, it can only be about innovation. For the past nine years, the joint initiative “The German Innovation Award” has been honoring outstanding product innovations, future-oriented business models, processes and services as well as organizational and marketing innovations shaping Germany’s corporate landscape and markets. In keeping with this year’s motto “Innovation X - Space is the limit”, around 250 high-ranking representatives from research, politics and society came to meet Germany's most innovative companies in Munich’s Kesselhaus.
Ubimax was one of them. As proud finalist in the category Start-Up, we won through to the last round with our augmented reality platform Ubimax Frontline. Find out in the following how Ubimax CEO Dr. Hendrik Witt feels about the nomination for Germany’s most prestigious business award and what it means for Ubimax, how the company is playing in German economy and how Germany’s business landscape tackles innovation.
Let's start over: What distinguishes Ubimax Frontline?
Hendrik Witt: Ubimax Frontline is our augmented reality enterprise solution suite for the mobile worker. I like to refer to the Microsoft Office approach at this point - similar to the technology leap made possible by MS Office, Ubimax Frontline combines our four solutions xPick, xMake, xInspect and xAssist. Based on modern wearable computing technology, Ubimax Frontline functions as a universal platform for logistics, manufacturing, maintenance and other industrial fields.
The special nature of Ubimax Frontline becomes apparent through its unique suite approach. As part of the platform, the Ubimax Frontline solutions are more than just a combination of individual market-leading software solutions. The “all in one package” delivers unrivaled advantages to customers: reduced IT complexity, productivity boosts and efficiency increase across the entire value chain, to only name a few of them. With the complementing Frontline Creator, we now enable customers and partners to independently develop, enhance or modify augmented reality applications for smart glasses based on the platform – allowing an optimal response to operational challenges avoiding time- and cost-intensive requests to IT.
How did Ubimax Frontline come about?
Hendrik Witt: Today, we see 80% of the workforce around the globe moving to areas beyond the office desk. While many business processes benefit in times of digitization, mobile, “deskless” workers often fall by the wayside. As products and processes become more complex, companies face the challenge of maintaining efficiency and effectiveness of business processes, adding up to millions of dollars in expenses.
With the availability of productive wearables such as Glass and based my team’s research results of the EU-funded project WearIT @ Work, Ubimax was founded in January of 2014. Ever since, Ubimax Frontline plays a vital part for companies at the gateway to Industry 4.0. In combination with smart glasses, our solutions provide information and instructions in a digital format exactly where they are needed – in the workers’ field of view. Hands-free, flexible working and “out of the box” functions of the Frontline Command Center such as documenting and controlling activities, KPI measurements and direct messaging create a measurably higher transparency on the shop floor.
How does Ubimax Frontline benefit Germany as a business location?
Hendrik Witt: According to various studies, the global market volume only for the enterprise sector will grow to about 6 billion euros towards the end of 2018. As one of the market leaders for wearable computing applications, we are in a very promising position to grow fast with the market and to optimally support companies of all sizes in the technological challenges of deploying and integrating wearable computing solutions.
What does the nomination for the German Innovation Award mean for Ubimax?
Hendrik Witt: As a digital pioneer, we are very pleased that our business model is visible across many economic levels. And not only that - we serve over 200 customers today and thus create real added value in a wide variety of industries around the globe - a great feeling! The German Innovation Award is one of the most prestigious national awards recognizing the innovative work we and also our customers put in every day.
And for you personally?
Hendrik Witt: I am very proud that we have made it amongst the three finalists. It shows me that we are on the right path and that these topics are relevant for many companies. In times of increasing standardization, it is the human being we focus on and whom we want to empower. Our solutions ought to support them in their daily manual tasks as best as possible. The interface between IT and reality is the crucial point where optimization often goes hand in hand with cutting short on human workforce. Ubimax enables mobile workers to focus on the essentials - their physical tasks. Irritating interactions with static computer systems should no longer be part of forward-looking, innovative business leading. I am glad that the German Innovation Award transports our message out there.
How open is Germany when it comes to innovation?
Hendrik Witt: That all depends. There are innovators among German companies who have been working productively with our solutions for four years and profit from the advantages on a daily basis. Then there are other companies that have just decided to appoint innovation managers to generate innovation projects within the company. They often encounter resistance in their own ranks. That is a pity, because real opportunities for efficiency gains are not taken advantage of which leaves companies unable to internationally compete in the longer term. In general, however, it was this year's Hannover Messe for example that showed us that many companies are actively seeking efficient, innovative solutions to improve their processes through digitization.
Thank you, Hendrik.