With the electronic IoT glove ProGlove, a German start-up is about to revolutionize industry 4.0.
The smart wearables for the IoT will be used to read out information from machines and measure power consumption and other consumption data, for example. With their innovative idea, the heads of the Munich start-up have already won numerous prizes. These include the “Deutscher Gründer Preis“, the “Neumacher Gründer Preis” and the IoT/M2M Innovation World Cup in the “Industry 4.0” category.
But the product has long since ceased to shine only as a prototype at trade fairs – it is already in use. Among the users in industry 4.0 are BMW, Ikea, Lufthansa, Thyssenkrupp and Penny.
The example of the BMW plant in Dingolfing shows the growing possibilities of IoT wearables such as the ProGlove. A mini-computer with numerous sensors – and a connection to edge/cloud computers – is mounted in or on the grey work glove.
Whereas in the past a scanner had to be picked up for every part used in a car during production at BMW, the glove now scans the barcodes on the assembly parts, among other things. In addition, the ProGlove also helps to avoid errors: A warning tone sounds in the event of an incorrect work step. The work to be carried out can thus be carried out faster and more reliably – productivity increases. BMW now uses the ProGlove in every one of its plants.
At Ikea, Lufthansa, Thyssenkrupp and Penny, Workaround’s IoT wearables are currently used primarily in warehousing and general cargo management.
The StartUp behind the ProGlove – Workaround – founded in 2014 is currently growing strongly – the company’s goals are ambitious: in the next three to five years the turnover limit of 100 million euros is to be reached.
Managing director and co-founder Thomas Kirchner believes he knows one of the reasons for the positive response on the market: “A great fear in companies is that their SAP would have to be adapted and that this would cost time and millions of euros. But these companies can unplug their old devices and plug in ProGlove.”
Off to new shores
Workaround now also wants to convince customers in the USA of the advantages of the ProGlove. The start-up with its more than 100 employees has been working on its overseas expansion since the beginning of the year. The advantage of this is that some of the European customers are already represented in the USA. “We can expand with them,” says Kirchner. “However, no one in the USA knows us yet, of course. And a German start-up is not interesting right from the start. That’s why we have to find ways to draw attention to ourselves.”
It will be interesting to observe when this type of wearable is used not only in industry 4.0, but also in everyday life. The possibilities seem to be numerous. Just think of the advantages of price comparisons in supermarkets, cashless payments for services such as public transport, etc… etc.. Not necessarily Not necessarily as a wearable in the form of a glove – and not without intermediate security (such as the button to be pressed on the Amazon-Alexa microwave); but even this IoT application does not seem to be a dream of the future.