“We need to partner with smaller companies and start-ups and get them interested in the industrial internet so we can develop the ecosystem and help grow the industry as a whole.”
Juha Pankakoski, Chief Digital Officer, Konecranes
What is the IndustryHack Hackathon and what were Konecranes’ goals for hosting the event?
The Hackathon is a series of events that take place in 2015 where industrial companies open up their application interfaces, allowing external developers to come and develop new ideas around the topic of the industrial internet. We had a couple of main objectives for the Hackathon. One of them was to see what concepts could be put together in a real life situation within 48 hours through a rapid prototyping philosophy. We especially wanted to determine what could be done based on the application interfaces that we’ve developed in recent years. So, whether the crane interfaces that we have in place today that collect, process and transmit data are such that external developers can hook into them and use them as a basis for creating services. The Hackathon served that purpose excellently.
Our second objective was to introduce developers to practical challenges in the Internet of Things related to the industrial environment that they might not have had previous experience dealing with.
The developers may be very seasoned and qualified professionals in the IT area, but the event gave them a chance to see what sort of issues we have in our sector. We wanted to find out how they could use their own experience from different fields, for example, from the business to customer environment, and apply them in an industrial setting. We managed to create an environment that made it easy for the developers to work and exchange information among each other and with the Konecranes team. I think that really helped them come up with concepts and shape them into presentable formats.
How important is it for Konecranes to network with small tech companies and startups?
I think it’s very, very important for us to have this kind of community with whom we can develop different ideas and concepts. Small enterprises and startups often come up with different ways to process information and develop new concepts, especially when they come from outside the crane industry. They have deep experience in areas of technology that they may have perfected themselves, that when applied into our environment can really help us create new things and speed up our development.
If you look at all the ideas in the area of the industrial internet, there’s no way that we could fulfill all the opportunities and move in all the possible directions by ourselves. We need to partner, and we need to get smaller companies and smaller startups to be interested in the industrial internet so we can develop the ecosystem around the topic that will help the industry to grow overall.
- Juha Pankakoski is responsible for Konecranes’ digitalization strategy and is also in charge of the Group’s information systems and process architecture.
- He has worked at Konecranes since 2004, and has held several management positions in operations and business development within the Group.