The Internet of construction tool management

Construction industry


Greek company EMBIOTS made IoT a part of the construction industry

This success story was part of the EIT Digital Venture Programme, supporting entrepreneurial teams with deep tech business ideas to finalise their MVP and start their venture. Click here for more information and to apply for the 2020 edition.

The Internet of Things is a phrase normally associated with mechanical engineering. But did you know it also relates to construction? You are not alone if your answer is no. EMBIOTS proposes a solution for tool management on construction sites using the IoT paradigm.

Managing tools on building sites is a challenge. Commonly used devices are not just expensive but can also be dangerous. Therefore, using a specific tool can require special knowledge or a licence. Monitoring the condition of these devices is also crucial. And last, but not least, knowing where they are left onsite helps to avoid lost and missing items.

These problems inspired a group of students in Greece in 2016 to find an affordable and reliable solution. They worked on their idea as a student project during the semester, and a few years later it was incorporated into a special platform designed to address the multiple challenges.

“After we defined our service, we could show our idea abroad. The idea has been presented at a Malaysian industrial fair, where the feedback ensured that Embiots has its place in the market,” says Georgios Foroglou, co-founder of EMBIOTS.

Monitoring, tracking, and predictive maintenance

The three pillars of monitoring, tracking and predictive maintenance ensure the best efficiency in the management of a construction tool. As well as monitoring the activities of all the registered devices, operators know the location of the tools at any given time. And EMBIOTS’s IoT solutions helps with predictive maintenance too, which reduces downtime of the devices. By combining these three important aspects, EMBIOTS offers a complete tool-management system for the construction industry.

“Our business motto is IoT platform to track devices,” says Foroglou. “We developed a system which brings together the rental firms and the users. Our IoT-based solution helps keep tools safe and inspected regularly, which is important for all our clients regardless of which side they are standing on.”

During the test period, Vodafone supported the idea. “Our product operates with a special SIM card for data transmission. Vodafone provided the proper testing set of SIMs to develop our prototype and supports us in business operations with the needed infrastructure,” summarises Foroglou on the collaboration with the international telecommunication company.

From an idea to the market

EMBIOTS is a great example of how the EIT Digital Venture Program helps digital entrepreneurs develop their ideas and go to market.

“After we had finished a supporting programme in our hometown, I got a newsletter. In this mail, I saw the opportunity to apply for the Venture Program. We enrolled and during the programme duration, our service became more complex and clearer at the same time. The pre-acceleration programme was implemented in partnership with Foundation, during which experts helped us develop the perfect software base for this solution. Our mentor was a senior software engineer and we learnt a lot from him," explains Foroglou. “Besides the mentoring and financial support, EIT Digital helped us with the incorporation process, with its experience in investments in the EU.”

Before EMBIOTS enrolled in the programme, they had their focus on the Greek market. Foroglou says: “If we could start again, I would define a bigger market, but that would need more assets. The Venture Program gave us the opportunity and support to think bigger.” Now, the startup is focusing on reaching a larger market: “Our next step is establishing our presence in the UAE market after collecting several contacts in the area,” adds Foroglou.

Successful service based on the knowledge of a smart group of people

EMBIOTS is a small group of innovative minds. Foroglou handles finance, the other two co-founders are electrical engineers, and they work with three other developers. “The most important factors of success are innovation, communication, and partnership,” Foroglou believes.

“Our service could be fruitful with its easy-to-use and compact interface, and its affordable prices,” he continues. “We try to find a solution that connects the tools with the users and ensures security on both sides. Using EMBIOTS's IoT services the number of lost and disappeared devices could be minimised."

Click here for more information on the Venture Programme 2020

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