A worldwide network comes to the fore here that results in solutions from multiple players.
|TEConcept is a partner in the MICA.network. In the course of its affiliation with the network, the MESCO Group subsidiary has integrated an IO Link-Master into the HARTING MICA platform. The Master creates the interface between IO-Link sensors and a parent communications network, e.g. a fieldbus. The integration with the MICA platform connects IO-Link sensors to Ethernet and from there to Cloud-based services. To achieve this, the MICA was electromechanically complemented by a PCB developed by TEConcept, while TEConcept also implemented the appropriate software to ensure communication between sensors and the MICA. tec.news spoke with Dr. Franz-Otto Witte, Managing Director of TEConcept GmbH, about the advantages and challenges of a partner network.|
Dr. Witte, how did you come to join the MICA.network partner network?
We found the HARTING MICA to be an exciting platform to which we were able to perfectly bring our expertise in the area of the IO Link. For us, this partnership-generated solution was a type of trial balloon that we could float with little outlay. Our technology was basically fully fledged and we could simply adapt it to the MICA.
This already addresses an important point that comes into play within a partner network: you've contributed your expertise without incurring a huge investment expense. What other benefits do you see in the partnership model?
In contrast to work orders for large system providers, a worldwide network comes to the fore here that results in solutions from multiple players. A large amount of broad-based knowledge can only be amassed jointly, it's something a company can't do on its own. And that's precisely the advantage here: companies have a very high level of expertise in their respective sub-areas. For example, although we're a small company we're among the world leaders in our field. We can achieve complex end-to-end solutions when we join up with other specialists at a common table. And we can do it fast and flexibly. We were able to implement our MICA IO Link solution in three months – from initial discussions to a finished trade fair demo.
What challenges do you see in the partner network model?
The most important basic prerequisite of this type of model is that all partners must benefit from the collaboration and be involved in creating value. This makes or breaks a partner network. Likewise, I think it's extremely important that the customer obtains significant added value compared to a product developed by a single supplier. As already mentioned, this added value is based both on the collective expertise of everyone involved as well as on the time factor.