Julie: That's a really good question, actually. Thanks. We're continuously focused on improving our connectivity products, specifically our Co-NECT platform. So, we're constantly enriching our database of adapters in order to collect the richest and the best available data. And as you mentioned, this can be quite challenging, as many of the machine vendors have their own way of storing and providing the data. And it's not always as straightforward tapping into their data source. Now, we're getting more and more standardized data with CFX, for example, but some of the equipment out there, vintage machines only can supply a text file of data which contains serious black holes regarding machine information. Sometimes we have limitations, we're not able to get machine status. For example, maintenance conditions. We don't know when the product enters the machine, when the product exits the machine, and don't even think about interlocking. There's no way to achieve that with these files.
So, we worked closely with equipment vendors to tap into what they have. And in many instances, work with them to develop a solution to better access the data our customers need. So, sometimes we're able to get more data from them, they're able to modify the way they provide data, and our customers can directly benefit from it. It's our commitment to get the richest data available to calculate factory KPIs and better eliminate where our customer needs to make process improvements so they can do proper gap analysis.
Eric: That makes sense. So, when you're saying that you're working with them to develop solutions to get better access to the data, you're talking about the machine vendors there, right?
Julie: Yeah, exactly.
Eric: Yeah, so you're working with them and then they're learning how to kind of tweak their programming's. Do they sometime change their format?
Julie: Yeah, yeah, sometimes the format can be changed, and it can provide more data because at the end of the day we and the customers all want the same thing. And whether you are a software vendor or a machine vendor, you want your customer to get the information they need to take the right decisions.
Eric: You know, I always think of it in terms of, you gather the data and it goes up a pyramid and ultimately there's this great business insight and you can improve your business, right? Nowadays, we need to think about what happens after you gather the data, right? … but the tricky part is not to gather all this data but making sense of that from a business perspective. So, kind of tell us a little bit about that process and how do you process all this data to convert it into something usable?
Julie: Yes, definitely. So, we've been collecting factory data for over 24 years now. It was initially driven by our need to drive Material Control solutions and later for Traceability with our track trace and control applications, and now we are focused on Advanced Analytics.