For more than 30 years and with a growing team of 160 employees, KONTRON AIS has been providing solutions for machine and plant manufacturers as well as factory operators to break new ground in automation and thereby substantially reduce costs. They develop concepts for smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0 and help to implement intelligent digitization strategies. KONTRON AIS is part of the Kontron Division in the S&T Group, which enables them to offer integrated concepts for control & IoT hardware as well as project management, service and support through a global network of regional centers. Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company? KONTRON AIS: We provide control systems and host interfaces, solutions for manufacturing automation and system integration as well as for process automation and system control E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new products? KONTRON AIS: For 2021, we are planning to launch ToolCommander®.next – the next generation of our very successful software solution ToolCommander®. It is an open software framework for realizing control and visualization tasks with cluster, inline and batch systems in production and research. Its high flexibility and modularity enable an easy adaption to individual demands. In this way, the ToolCommander® can be used easily in most diverse industries for controlling various technologies. As it facilitates the relevant SEMI standards by default, it enables a fast implementation of control systems for semiconductor, PV, LED and MEMS industry. Another product launch we are looking forward to, is the one of FabEagle®Connect – our connectivity suite und IIoT enabler. It is already being noticed more and more and we are expecting it to continue, as it will be the entry solution for industries to establish quick, reliable connectivity within their manufacturing plants and connect all their manufacturing equipment. This connectivity solution comes out of the box with most of the industrial key interfaces and a very modern and flexible data processing stack to enable green and brownfield connectivity. The best part for our customers is, that we offer a package deal, that includes both the FabEagle®Connect and an IIoT hardware from Kontron. This kind of offer is unique in our target industries and it solves at once many problems our customers are facing. E.E: What are the ranges of products? KONTRON AIS: We offer a wide range of products and solutions for equipment control, equipment integration, factory automation and for railway & traffic systems. Quite special is our IIoT service platform – the EquipmentCloud®. This one is a must-have for all industries, where after-sales and customer service are an important part of the daily business. E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? KONTRON AIS: Our target markets are diverse and the levels of digitization differ from one another, depending on the industry. We have a very mature digitization level and a broad industry standard portfolio in semiconductor. In contrast to that, the pharmaceutical industry is still relying on widely paper based work, but there are some very promising approaches regarding digitization of processes. And then there are smaller consumer goods producers, who are just starting to automate and connect. We are able to cover and keep ourselves available to all of these industries and their different stages of digital transformation, with a high chance to even combine ideas across the industries. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? KONTRON AIS: We see Cloud and IIoT technologies as the major trends for the production and machinery industry. Cloud is on the run, even for the more sceptical industries, who are still trying to find the right solution for data protection and data security challenges. Cloud solution provider should be able to answer the questions raised in those areas. The other trends we see is that most of digitization activities will be driven in an agile and reflective way. The culture in most industries is changing from big projects to a lean „Fail fast” approach. Smaller companies still lack the needed focus on digitization and hesitate quite often to invest. But we have been observing an increasing awareness. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? KONTRON AIS: The conversion of the big technologies (Cloud, IIoT, AI…) to cover use cases of the mid-size companies is the key. Solutions with fully featured uses cases like the EquipmentCloud® – modern, agile and intuitive – will be the number one choice of small and medium-sized companies, when it comes to generic approaches to digital transformation. E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021? KONTRON AIS: Even though the world is still fighting the pandemic, we are quite optimistic that it will be a great year. Companies with a sense for future trends, developments and innovations are adjusting quickly to the new normal. With an adequate, future-oriented digital portfolio and a smart and lean digitization plan, companies – no matter the size – will not be affected as strongly by the consequences of this pandemic and will be able to leave behind their competition.