How Luxemburg’s StartUp Europe-winner vyzVoice wants to become the cloud platform for Internet of Everything – Silicon Canals NL
With the proliferation of IoT and big data, there’s an enormous amount of data that commercial and industrial companies are generating. However, they need an analytics-driven solution to make sense of this data. vyzVoice, a Luxembourg-based startup has taken up the mission to remove the barriers to digital transformation and to simplify the process for companies to gain data-driven insights.
Winner StartUp Europe Awards
As a small company initially focused on gathering commercial building data, it has now evolved into a team of 18 different nationalities that has built a cloud-based advanced analytics platform for the ‘Internet of Everything’. vyzVoice was named the overall winner of the ICT category of the StartUp Europe Awards. The company recently demoed at The Hannover Messe, one of the world’s largest trade fairs, providing live demos to its solutions for Industrial Asset Management and Datacenter Management.
In an interview, vyzVoice’s founding CEO Robert Spicer talks about how vyzVoice was founded, the way it is contributing to the digital transformation of its customers, and the value of partnerships in the company’s organic growth.
How and when did you get started with vyzVoice?
We founded the company as a result of a set of ideas of a group of Luxembourg-based consultants and business people focused on the commercial real estate sector. I arrived in 2014 to build a company based on these ideas but with a much wider reach and expanded strategy. I was appointed vyzVoice CEO in January 2014. At that time, the company was focused on solutions for commercial buildings.
Before joining vyzVoice I had spent over 20 years working on strategy and global business development for high-tech companies, both large-scale multinationals, and start-ups, including bringing a mobile technology company to IPO. Very quickly I could see the potential of the platform and digital transformation solutions being developed and that they went far beyond building management, and so we continued to grow from there.
What was the inspiration behind founding vyzVoice?
The real inspiration for vyzVoice was the recognition of the potential of big data. It was the early days of IoT and promises were being made about an entirely connected future with devices talking to each other and anticipating every need. However, it was clear that there were some major obstacles, particularly incompatibility of devices, standardization and, of course, data security. This is where we knew we had technical expertise and vision to develop solutions that removed these obstacles.
Who are key customers and what are they aiming to achieve?
The company is a data center facility provider and a Deutsche Telekom affiliate. We have deployed a fully integrated end-to-end solution for Datacenter Infrastructure Management that provides data analytics on all levels of the company from physical infrastructure management to energy consumption to capacity planning. In addition, Itenos provides vyzVoice solutions to their own datacenter customers to manage, plan and monitor their own data facilities use and to demonstrate SLA compliance.
vyzVoice solutions have been deployed to support facilities management and CSR goals in sustainability and to optimize the use of the office space both in terms of comfort and wellbeing. Devices and sensors throughout the building are connected to the Chorus platform and provide a real-time graphical display of real KPIs for each user from facilities managers to employees and even visitors with large screen displays in open areas.
What is Chorus and its key use case?
Chorus is the secure cloud-based application framework for data analytics. We deliver the service via Microsoft Azure and Chorus is the foundation upon which our industry-specific solutions are based.
Chorus was designed to securely acquire data from devices and sensors, regardless of manufacturer. It performs advanced analytics and presents a graphical visualization of key performance indicators based on each industry. Our end-to-end, off-the-shelf solutions all operate on the Chorus platform and are fully customizable to each user’s needs. These solutions focus on industrial asset management, data center infrastructure management, sustainability and health and wellbeing.
What problems do companies face before they adopt a solution like vyzVoice?
By now most companies realize that digital transformation is not just beneficial to their business but it is actually essential to remain competitive. However, for many, it remains very challenging.
Faced with investment decisions, rapidly changing technology, limited in-house technical expertise and serious concerns about data security, these companies have been limited in their progress and are missing opportunities to both increase revenues through new services and products and to reduce costs through integrated data-driven decision making.
This is particularly true for middle market companies. The vyzVoice mission is to remove these barriers by providing solutions that are device agnostic, rapidly deployed and easy to use. Because the Chorus platform integrates with existing infrastructure and devices, no major investment is needed and costs are engaged as a scaled operating expense, making digital transformation accessible.
Do you see an increased demand for machines and assets to be internet-connected?
Certainly, IoT and digital transformation are key drivers of innovation and the increase in demand that we are seeing across all industries will continue.
At the same time, with more connectivity, data security and privacy are the key issues. Companies need assurances that this risk is fully addressed before moving forward. It has always been a priority for vyzVoice to ensure the highest standards of data security and as IoT continues to grow, we will continue to look at innovative solutions that put security at the forefront.
Is vyzVoice focused on Luxembourg only or other markets as well?
While we have a lot of activity in Benelux and Germany, vyzVoice has very much a global view. This applies to both our customer base and our strategic partnerships.
What challenges have you overcome as a young ICT startup in Luxembourg?
As an ICT company in a rapidly developing sector, we have to always ensure we are integrating the latest innovations in technology and constantly upgrading our capabilities and the services offered to customers. This means that we must always be up-to-date on technical advances, changes in the regulatory environment and the evolving market needs.
Included in this is the ability to deliver highest levels of data security and privacy. This has always been a priority for us and we see that it is a topic of major concern for our customers and partners. As a result of our efforts, Chorus has been confirmed as fully compliant with the stringent requirements of Deutsche Telekom AG security standards.
Francisco Webber, (founder/CEO of cortical.io) says that “one of the main reasons startups fail, is premature scaling”. Do you agree with that and how do see your own startup’s growth during the past three years?
Certainly, in a fast-moving sector like IoT, there is a risk of premature scaling and a rush to market before really understanding the market needs and priorities.
vyzVoice grew organically and through strong strategic partnerships. These partners bring extensive expertise and industry knowledge and we work directly with them to develop solutions to their specific issues. In this way, we are sure that we are solving real industry issues and the solutions we bring to market are in line with customers’ needs.
What advice would you give to people beginning their ICT startups in Luxembourg or other parts of Europe?
We are very fortunate that Luxembourg provides such a strong support system for start-ups. As there is an emphasis on developing the ICT sector there are multiple support structures in place and it is worth taking the time to meet people and become part of the local ICT environment.
This is also true on a European level and the StartUp Europe initiative is a great example of this. With the support of the European Commission, they are developing a truly European ecosystem for start-ups that provides access to networking and business development opportunities, expertise and, in some cases financial resources. It is well worth being part of this environment that can bring a wealth of opportunity.
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