Wizense Ltd was founded in 2016 with the support of Microsoft’s Polku program, designed to support their ex-employees looking for entrepreneurship opportunities. Under the Fieldsight brand, Wizense develops products and services for field workers, accurate positioning as well as for remote asset management and maintenance. These products respond to the growing industry need to digitize and automate business through wireless connectivity. The IoT Foundation has also supported their product development.
The core team of Wizense previously led global product development projects at Nokia and Microsoft, and accumulated lots of knowledge especially in developing connected accessories and wearable products.
”My background has been a great benefit in developing my company’s products. The R&D teams for accessories at Nokian and Microsoft were small. We developed great products fast for global markets, and in these projects, we could contribute to all product development stages from concept development to marketing and life cycle management,” explains Wizense Ltd CEO Jussi Heiskanen.
Customers involved from the very beginning
When developing their first Fieldsight product, Wizense team did a thorough and comprehensive background research. ”Market understanding and insights laid the foundation for our understanding, but the discussions with the potential customers had a significant impact on creating the final product concept. We got information from the specific needs of different industries and were able to develop the product to match those needs.”
Wizense team initially started product development by utilizing the existing Open Platform components. They are well suited for testing the first concept testing, but when developing products for globally operating industrial companies, the expectation level increases significantly.
”Customers require versatile product features, scalable production, high quality and certified products. To meet those requirements, you have to develop your own solutions for both hardware and software,” Jussi explains.
To create a certifiable product from an idea, an average three product development iterations are needed, and the product development project takes easily few years. Wizense’s first product, Fieldsight Wear, is an IoT wearable that can be easily attached to field worker clothing or equipment. With the sensor, a company can monitor for example the precise employee location, monitor safety purposes or keep track of the time spent for different field operation tasks. Data is then wirelessly transferred to customer systems.
”Fieldsight Wear needs to be easily and securely attached to an employee, clothing or equipment, and it should be inconspicuously small. This size requirement brought additional challenges in incorporating different features into the products as well as to the durability requirements,” Jussi says.
Expert support from IoT Paja
To solve some of the product technical challenges, such as mechanical construction, Wizense team contacted IoT Paja.
”We were looking for sparring and advices. At IoT Paja, we were able to test our concepts and circuit board prototypes. Additionally, we used the whole IoT Paja’s extensive laboratory equipment range for measurements and testing,” Jussi describes. ”We also received IoT Paja funding for further development of the product. All their assistance helped us to get our first product ready.”
Since 2018, the first major customers have been piloting Fieldsight products. The team is further developing the products based on the feedback received, and the next step is official certification of the products.
Wizense has also developed a Fieldsight Octobus Gateway device that provides customers assets connectivity, remotely control and connects field workers to corporate systems via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or mobile networks. Wizense Fieldsight products are suitable for, for example, industrial machine manufacturers, the energy, construction, and logistics industry, as well as the maintenance businesses.
The Wizense team is considering building/creating services, as the sales of product-related services, which include the operator network subscription, are increasing. ”Few IoT products companies make money with product sales only, especially when sales volumes are initially quite low. The aim is to incorporate the products into wider service packages. This provides the company better margin opportunities and customers with more ready solutions with low starting costs.”
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- Be aware that developing IoT products for industrial use is challenging. It takes more time and probably costs more than you think.
- Design your first products so that they can be used for other purposes as well, in case the company needs to pivot in the early development stages.
- Collect as much customer feedback as possible right from the beginning of the product project.
- When making wireless device prototypes, Open Platform development platforms are suitable for creating a proof of concept, but commercial IoT device development often requires self-developed solutions.
- Don’t do everything yourself – focus on your core competencies. In other areas use the expertise companies, such as IoT Forge. This way you will speed up product development and save money.
Wizense Oy https://wizense.com/ is an IoT start-up.
Founded in 2016
Founder: Jussi Heiskanen
The company has eight employees.
Products: IoT solutions for industrial field safety, location data and productivity needs.