2021 – A New Hope

Jan 26, 2021 | Blog

Blog Post
Linn Sidahl, Head of Business Development, Ekkono

In Star Wars episode IV, princess Leia and the rebellions are fighting against the Empire in hope for a new future, characterized by justice and equality. To defeat the darkness of the Empire and the ruling Sith Lords, they ultimately need to destroy the Death Star, a massive weapon capable of exterminating an entire planet. 

Just like Leia and her friends Han Solo, Chewbacca and Luke Skywalker are joining forces with populations from different parts of the galaxy, as a united rebellion force to defeat the Empire, we have been joining forces all over the world to defeat an enemy of a different nature during the last year. And just like they finally destroy the Death Star and Darth Vader is defeated (spoiler alert) we are now seeing how more people everyday are getting vaccinated against the Coronavirus. There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel – and a new hope arises. But no, it is not over anytime soon. As the Sith Lords continue to spread darkness through a number of following episodes, we still have parts of the Covid-19 marathon left to run, but at least it is downhill from now.

Winds of change

It is an understatement to say that we have learnt a lot during the past year. I would say we even reinvented the way we do things, in many areas; How we meet, work, shop and even celebrate Christmas. Will all these new experiences and knowledge disappear as soon as we enter post-corona? Probably not. I am guessing we are entering a new world. Some things will go back to normal and some will be even better. And don’t get me wrong, Covid-19 has not brought many positive things, but it has created a bigger shared understanding that our way of living is not sustainable. It is worse than ever before in modern time. What we hopefully have come to consider during this pandemic is what ability we have to change and adapt to new circumstances when needed.

In 2020, the importance of digital tools rose to new levels. For Leia and the rebellions, powerful Jedi forces were key for them to win the battle and fulfill the task of the uprising. For us, tools like Zoom and Google Meet have served as our extra force, to get us through and without losing momentum in what we had in the pipeline prior to Covid. But it is not only about being able to meet people digitally. The importance of developing tools for remote monitoring, remote management and automatic auto tuning to avoid the need of having experts traveling on site, has proved to be crucial. 

Trends becoming business reality

IoT plays a key role to enable this. We need to connect things to access them remotely. It is also about automation. We usually state that automation is key to capture the true value of IoT, and at Ekkono we continuously prove that statement to be true. To be able to actually monitor the state of health of a machine or vehicle remotely, we need to learn and analyze how and where it is being deployed. It is not only about sending averages to the cloud, but about learning from data locally to build machine learning solutions that reflect the individual differences. This is an increasing trend, with more and more companies realizing that smart machine learning solutions can replace sending experts on site to analyze for example state of health – saving time, cost and also the environment from unnecessary travels. It is not about replacing the experts with machine learning algorithms, rather to expand the knowledge they have throughout the entire installation base, using machine learning as a tool. Domain knowledge will always have a high value, and when we combine it with smart machine learning solutions, we can create magic.

The roaring 20’s

On New Year’s Eve 2019, most people were excited about the new decade. Some even expected the roaring 20’s to happen all over again. For years the wheels had been spinning faster and faster, consumption, travelling, investments and innovation only kept increasing and there seemed to be no limit for the pace in which society developed. And then, Covid happened. At first many hit full stop, then step by step started moving again, but at a slower pace. The pandemic has been an eye-opener in many ways, especially in terms of sustainability and how the way we live affects our planet and ultimately ourselves. There seems to be a greater consensus now that we need to act and change the way we do things, in order to sustain the world as we know it for future generations. This conclusion, together with the experience that we can change and adapt – sometimes even overnight if we have to – has started a new movement which I am thrilled to see the result of.

I am not only thrilled because I see a trend in how we change our behavior to the better, but also because smart IoT will play a huge role in the next big sustainability leap. IoT is already being adopted by many different industries, as companies seek to improve their product and commercial efficiency. Adding edge to machine learning changes a paradigm. It allows IoT devices to learn their local environment, adapt parameters, share their experience and be audited centrally. As devices can automatically seek an optimal solution for each installation, they can perform optimally at all times. 

At Ekkono, we have already done a number of customer projects where we have proved the sustainability gain of using edge machine learning to develop more self-learning, intuitive and optimized products. For example we deployed our software to fine tune Siemens’ gas turbines, ultimately lowering the NoX emissions. Our solution also made Alfa Laval’s heat exchangers last longer through predictive maintenance, individualized for each heat exchanger. Last year we even got awarded for our sustainability work in Husqvarna’s Sustainovate Open. In 2021 I am expecting even more of this, having already a number of upcoming projects planned where we in each of them, step by step, contribute to a more sustainable future. It has only started, and the potential I see for the years to come can really qualify as the roaring 20’s.

Top 5 things to look forward to in 2021

Let us end up continuing on a positive note; what I look forward to in 2021:

  1. Meeting customers and partners again – because Zoom isn’t really the same, is it?
  2. The new trends that are here to stay – I hope we have learned from this and changed our behaviour to a more sustainable way of living.
  3. Exciting projects and releases in the pipeline for Ekkono – we will release a number of really big news this year for customers and partners. Stay tuned for details!
  4. Expanding our partner network with new announcements coming up – do you wanna become an Ekkono partner as well? Reach out!
  5. Taking a beer in the sun with my friends – let us be honest, isn’t this what we always dream of during the winter?

And who knows if all this will happen this spring, this year or even next? But after all – Hope is what we got.

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