Frederik Westerouen van Meeteren is the founder and CEO of anyThing Connected, a sticker with an implanted sensor capable of forwarding measurements from almost any object. “It lets your company capitalize on the Internet of Things (IoT) trend, giving you quick insight into the state of, for example, your means of production and supplies.”
Anything Connected’s sensor sticker has the potential to be the new service technician. Or at the very least, to ease his or her workload. Anything Connected is participating in the Accenture Innovation Awards of 2018 (AIA18) with this exciting technology.
What is anyThing Connected?
“Put simply, it’s a self-sticking sensor that lets you determine 24/7 if maintenance is needed on all sorts of objects. And I mean all sorts of objects: from bananas to solar panels.”
So, it’s a sticker that collects measurements?
“And passes these along. The sensor is about as big as a box of matches, with its own battery and antenna. You can stick it on various objects from which you want to collect data. It measures movement, orientation, vibration, electricity, temperature, or a combination of these. It’s a very universal and multi-functional device, and also a good alternative to installing expensive measuring equipment.”
What is its function?
“We can set it up for any organization in under 24 hours and make it suitable for any software platform. Within this time, we will also have made it compatible with whatever software platform is being used. Then, data can be collected from every object to, for instance, predict possible required maintenance. In 70 percent of organizations in the Netherlands this process currently goes as follows: an employee walks over to a machine or other object, reads the data and puts this in an Excel document. Just imagine the time and expenses that could be saved in this tedious process.”
Why did you set up anyThing Connected?
“Nowadays, anyThing Connected focuses on predictive maintenance. But that was not our initial focus. Following my study’s final project, the question arose how something as simple as a sticker could enable devices to communicate with each other. Also, adding a standard product that continually passes along measurements to the IoT is useful. That data can be used to better arrange production processes, for instance.”
When did you know anyThing Connected was viable?
“Currently, there is a plethora of standards. My original thought was: somebody needs to lower the threshold. Even if I go bankrupt —if anyThing Connected manages to significantly contribute to the standardization of IoT measuring equipment, I will be happy.”
So, how are things now?
“We currently have a hundred copies of the stickers. We have teamed up with incubator YESDelft!, which gives us easy access to potential clients. In the very near future, our first big customer will give us the go-ahead — then we can really get started.”
What are your challenges and obstacles?
“The old, traditional ways of companies with slow decision-making. Conservative engineers often vent the thought that the IoT is too complicated. When I present anyThing Connected, I offer a demonstration on the spot. This always generates enthusiasm. ‘We want that!’ They could then get going right away, but we still see the tendency to revert to long, complicated projects.”
What trends do you expect to see in the market place of anyThing Connected in the years to come?
“In the short term, I expect companies to work smarter and more efficient by employing data collection. And that companies will want to understand what exactly data can mean for them. Eventually, companies will reflect more on their own production and start collaborating with other organizations. This will be based on the data they collect and employ.”
What do you expect from your participation in the AIA28? What prompted you to register?
“The AIA18 can be a very valuable podium for showing a new target audience the possibilities of anyThing Connected. And to show how accessible the product is. For example, you don’t need to embark on an entire innovation process with experts and consultants. The AIA are equally accessible. You can follow workshops for a couple of days or spend your time networking. I am very curious to see how other participants view the IoT.”
What is your golden advice to entrepreneurs?
“I once spoke to somebody who claimed not to have enough money for pilots with start-ups, because her budget of fifty thousand euros was ‘probably not enough’. Big, expensive innovation projects are always the talk of the town. In my opinion it’s much more valuable to first make a working prototype. And then: put that out there. In a similar vein, we try to get anyThing Connected running quickly for small sums of money.”