Industrial IoT startup Sophic Automation set to scale up Industry 4.0 projects in the region

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to the use of smart sensors in machines that enhance industrial manufacturing processes. Also known as Industry 4.0 or the industrial internet, IIoT solutions utilize a connected network of intelligent devices that can monitor, collect, exchange and analyze data on a real-time basis to create value and transform business outcomes.

Using industrial IoT platforms, companies can analyse and act on data produced by connected devices to automate and improve how they design, manufacture, and service products. An industrial IoT platform enables us to leverage machine learning and advance artificial intelligence in real-time to bring in smarter manufacturing methods and enhance products.

Operational efficiency and cost optimization are the key drivers of industrial IoT, as it enables use cases such as asset performance management, predictive maintenance, remote service, connected logistics, and smart factories. IIoT can be applied to a range of industries with applications to save time and resources but increasingly also to innovate new service and revenue models.

Also read: Protege Ventures as a gateway for VCs to invest in the future

IIoT’s primary focus on intelligent manufacturing is suited to heavy and high-tech industries like semiconductor, mining, aviation, oil and gas, defence, energy, but it also has a wide range of applications in sectors such as agriculture, logistics, finance. IIoT has great promise in the government sector to build smart cities and environmental solutions, as well as in healthcare and cross-industry applications such as smart buildings

The global industrial internet of things market size is expected to grow at 22.8 % to reach USD 1.11 trillion by 2028, according to a report by Grand View Research, Inc.

Sophic Automation: a regional powerhouse in Industrial IoT

For the past 14 years, Malaysia’s Sophic Automation has delivered software development, software and hardware integration solutions in the IIoT and Smart Manufacturing space. Employing a team of 100% local talent, their core competencies are in software, mechanical & electrical design. The company delivers industrial IoT solutions based around 4 main solution offerings to clients:

  • SMARTer worker: digitising traditional workflows
  • SMARTer machine automation: making machines smarter
  • SMARTer operations: digitised and remote operations
  • SMARTer asset: intelligent asset management

Koh, Dim Kuan (DK) and Lee Chee Hoo, founders of Sophic Automation Sdn Bhd (Sophic), started the business in 2007, bringing together decades of experience in leading digital transformation and Industry 4.0 solutions in smart factory and smart city projects.

CEO Dim Kuan says the team culture differentiates Sophic Automation from other software design houses because they continuously develop leaders and promote technopreneurship opportunities internally. “Sophic Automation provides turnkey in customized & hybrid solutions enabling seamless handshake between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) which differentiate us from competitors,” says DK. “With our focus on delivering software automation and system integration, we’ve managed to secure business to sustain our team and development,” says DK.

Koh Dim Kuan joined in 2011 as Director, taking charge of the company’s business development activities and operations management. The same year, Sophic secured its first SMARTer worker solution when we were engaged by a multinational semiconductor company to develop a machine monitoring system with mobile application for technicians and engineers to manage production equipment technical issues, and in the same year, Sophic also secured it’s first outsourced product design engineering contract from a multinational electronics company.

Powering Industrial Automation and Building Smart Cities in Malaysia

Sophic is among the top 5 IIoT solutions providers in Malaysia based on revenue and has ambitious expansion plans for the country. They have secured major deals that will play an important part in putting Malaysia on the path to Industry 4.0 transformation. Sophic MSC Sdn Bhd obtained Pioneer status from MSC in May 2012 with Liew Chee Kin joining in 2014 to lead the central region business.

Projects executed by Sophic in Malaysia have ranged from an automated visual inspection packaging equipment solution for a multinational food and beverage manufacturer, to a fully automated chemical compounding system for a glove manufacturer. In 2016, Sophic Automation obtained ISO 9001:2015 certification for smart manufacturing & automated digital solutions.

Also read: Learn the ropes around scaling your startup across borders

They were awarded a business growth fund from Malaysia Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) and secured funding from Multimedia Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (MDEC) under the Digital Malaysia Grow Embedded Systems Industry Project, to develop a Universal Data Bridge and Connectivity Solution. Sophic Automation, has also been awarded “Best Investee Company” by the Malaysia Venture Capital and Private Equity Association in both 2016 and 2018.

Continuing its growth in 2017, Sophic won a smart cities project to enable intelligent video analytics and intelligent operations centre for Penang Island City Council (MBPP). This project entailed the provision of a Command, Control, Collaborate and Cognitive centre for the government sector client. Sophic also set up an intelligent command centre for a semiconductor manufacturer to achieve its lights-off operation objective. Sophic continued to ramp up its smart cities business in 2020 with the design and development of a mobile application, as part of a smart city project, for local state authorities in Malaysia.

Sophic and MaGIC: Partnerships key to accelerating Industry 4.0 in Asia

“As part of our business expansion plan to capture potential demand in the semiconductor and electronics industry in Vietnam, Sophic Vietnam was set up in February 2014 to penetrate into the Vietnam market and provide better services to our customers in the country,” says DK.

“The major gaps we’ve observed from various industries are around getting real-time data from their manufacturing plant,” says DK regarding the challenges Sophic is solving for enterprises adopting IoT. “Data connectivity and IoT has been a key solution we’re providing to address these challenges/problems. As Industry 4.0 is driven by data, data will be key raw digital information to embark on a digital transformation journey,” he points out.

Speaking on the market prospects for IIoT, the Sophic CEO says that thanks to a “strong and active engagement from government policy and agencies who conduct the ground events, as well as funding support to industry, the market awareness in IIoT has been established quite well, but somehow, the adoption rate from industry is not moving fast as expected. Possibly due to an unclear vision of IIoT among small-medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as concern around high investment and operating costs.”

DK is very positive about the growth trajectory of the company: “We’ve been expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30%+ since 5 years, and staff strength is now over 100 people. With our focus on software technology, the talent pipeline will be our core focus so we can expand our R&D activities. We want to bring to market a cost-effective solution that can serve SMEs. Growth through mergers and acquisitions is another option we’re considering down the road.”

Leveraging local and regional partnerships has been a key strategy, says DK: “We strongly believe in ecosystem partnership to leverage our partners’ strength to ensure win-win business for customer, partner and our team. We’ve been able to fully leverage each other’s strengths to conduct successful marketing collaboration, from leads to winning project bids.”

Also read: Leveraging digital-first CX for customer delight and business growth

MaGIC has provided very good coaching to facilitate our business growth plan. The market promotion initiatives are very important as part of the product commercialization process,” says DK about the benefits of working with MaGIC. “It’s quite natural to expand regionally as part of the business growth process, which is mainly driven by market demand, and we aim to provide better customer services in the region and continuous product improvement. We’ll continue to focus on Vietnam in the near term and China & USA in the mid-term (3-5 years from now) because of strong semiconductor market growth,” says the CEO regarding their plans for regional expansion.

DK hopes their partnership with MaGIC will help create job opportunities at the local level and contribute to Malaysia’s GDP while developing Malaysia’s brand as a technology hub across the region. Sophic’s rapid acceptance in the market was the result of the MaGIC programme he explains: “It has helped us to expedite new product development and market validation by minimizing the customer’s concerns around risks. This paves the way for developing great customer relationships and we can secure a long-term relationship in the client’s overall digital transformation journey.”

“MaGIC’s programme has helped us fast track our new product’s acceptance in the market. MaGIC has worked with us to improve our new customer adoption rate and better predict prospects in the long term. Programmes such as Global Accelerator (GAP) and Global Market-Fit (GMP) are pivotal to our continued regional expansion,” concluded the Sophic CEO.

– –

This article is produced by the e27 team, sponsored by MaGIC

We can share your story at e27, too. Engage the Southeast Asian tech ecosystem by bringing your story to the world. Visit us at e27.co/advertise to get started.

The post Industrial IoT startup Sophic Automation set to scale up Industry 4.0 projects in the region appeared first on e27.

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Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to the use of smart sensors in machines that enhance industrial manufacturing processes. Also known as Industry 4.0 or the industrial internet, IIoT solutions utilize a connected network of intelligent devices that can monitor, collect, exchange and analyze data on a real-time basis to create value and transform business outcomes.

Using industrial IoT platforms, companies can analyse and act on data produced by connected devices to automate and improve how they design, manufacture, and service products. An industrial IoT platform enables us to leverage machine learning and advance artificial intelligence in real-time to bring in smarter manufacturing methods and enhance products.

Operational efficiency and cost optimization are the key drivers of industrial IoT, as it enables use cases such as asset performance management, predictive maintenance, remote service, connected logistics, and smart factories. IIoT can be applied to a range of industries with applications to save time and resources but increasingly also to innovate new service and revenue models.

Also read: Protege Ventures as a gateway for VCs to invest in the future

IIoT’s primary focus on intelligent manufacturing is suited to heavy and high-tech industries like semiconductor, mining, aviation, oil and gas, defence, energy, but it also has a wide range of applications in sectors such as agriculture, logistics, finance. IIoT has great promise in the government sector to build smart cities and environmental solutions, as well as in healthcare and cross-industry applications such as smart buildings

The global industrial internet of things market size is expected to grow at 22.8 % to reach USD 1.11 trillion by 2028, according to a report by Grand View Research, Inc.

Sophic Automation: a regional powerhouse in Industrial IoT

For the past 14 years, Malaysia’s Sophic Automation has delivered software development, software and hardware integration solutions in the IIoT and Smart Manufacturing space. Employing a team of 100% local talent, their core competencies are in software, mechanical & electrical design. The company delivers industrial IoT solutions based around 4 main solution offerings to clients:

  • SMARTer worker: digitising traditional workflows
  • SMARTer machine automation: making machines smarter
  • SMARTer operations: digitised and remote operations
  • SMARTer asset: intelligent asset management

Koh, Dim Kuan (DK) and Lee Chee Hoo, founders of Sophic Automation Sdn Bhd (Sophic), started the business in 2007, bringing together decades of experience in leading digital transformation and Industry 4.0 solutions in smart factory and smart city projects.

CEO Dim Kuan says the team culture differentiates Sophic Automation from other software design houses because they continuously develop leaders and promote technopreneurship opportunities internally. “Sophic Automation provides turnkey in customized & hybrid solutions enabling seamless handshake between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) which differentiate us from competitors,” says DK. “With our focus on delivering software automation and system integration, we’ve managed to secure business to sustain our team and development,” says DK.

Koh Dim Kuan joined in 2011 as Director, taking charge of the company’s business development activities and operations management. The same year, Sophic secured its first SMARTer worker solution when we were engaged by a multinational semiconductor company to develop a machine monitoring system with mobile application for technicians and engineers to manage production equipment technical issues, and in the same year, Sophic also secured it’s first outsourced product design engineering contract from a multinational electronics company.

Powering Industrial Automation and Building Smart Cities in Malaysia

Sophic is among the top 5 IIoT solutions providers in Malaysia based on revenue and has ambitious expansion plans for the country. They have secured major deals that will play an important part in putting Malaysia on the path to Industry 4.0 transformation. Sophic MSC Sdn Bhd obtained Pioneer status from MSC in May 2012 with Liew Chee Kin joining in 2014 to lead the central region business.

Projects executed by Sophic in Malaysia have ranged from an automated visual inspection packaging equipment solution for a multinational food and beverage manufacturer, to a fully automated chemical compounding system for a glove manufacturer. In 2016, Sophic Automation obtained ISO 9001:2015 certification for smart manufacturing & automated digital solutions.

Also read: Learn the ropes around scaling your startup across borders

They were awarded a business growth fund from Malaysia Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) and secured funding from Multimedia Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (MDEC) under the Digital Malaysia Grow Embedded Systems Industry Project, to develop a Universal Data Bridge and Connectivity Solution. Sophic Automation, has also been awarded “Best Investee Company” by the Malaysia Venture Capital and Private Equity Association in both 2016 and 2018.

Continuing its growth in 2017, Sophic won a smart cities project to enable intelligent video analytics and intelligent operations centre for Penang Island City Council (MBPP). This project entailed the provision of a Command, Control, Collaborate and Cognitive centre for the government sector client. Sophic also set up an intelligent command centre for a semiconductor manufacturer to achieve its lights-off operation objective. Sophic continued to ramp up its smart cities business in 2020 with the design and development of a mobile application, as part of a smart city project, for local state authorities in Malaysia.

Sophic and MaGIC: Partnerships key to accelerating Industry 4.0 in Asia

“As part of our business expansion plan to capture potential demand in the semiconductor and electronics industry in Vietnam, Sophic Vietnam was set up in February 2014 to penetrate into the Vietnam market and provide better services to our customers in the country,” says DK.

“The major gaps we’ve observed from various industries are around getting real-time data from their manufacturing plant,” says DK regarding the challenges Sophic is solving for enterprises adopting IoT. “Data connectivity and IoT has been a key solution we’re providing to address these challenges/problems. As Industry 4.0 is driven by data, data will be key raw digital information to embark on a digital transformation journey,” he points out.

Speaking on the market prospects for IIoT, the Sophic CEO says that thanks to a “strong and active engagement from government policy and agencies who conduct the ground events, as well as funding support to industry, the market awareness in IIoT has been established quite well, but somehow, the adoption rate from industry is not moving fast as expected. Possibly due to an unclear vision of IIoT among small-medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as concern around high investment and operating costs.”

DK is very positive about the growth trajectory of the company: “We’ve been expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30%+ since 5 years, and staff strength is now over 100 people. With our focus on software technology, the talent pipeline will be our core focus so we can expand our R&D activities. We want to bring to market a cost-effective solution that can serve SMEs. Growth through mergers and acquisitions is another option we’re considering down the road.”

Leveraging local and regional partnerships has been a key strategy, says DK: “We strongly believe in ecosystem partnership to leverage our partners’ strength to ensure win-win business for customer, partner and our team. We’ve been able to fully leverage each other’s strengths to conduct successful marketing collaboration, from leads to winning project bids.”

Also read: Leveraging digital-first CX for customer delight and business growth

MaGIC has provided very good coaching to facilitate our business growth plan. The market promotion initiatives are very important as part of the product commercialization process,” says DK about the benefits of working with MaGIC. “It’s quite natural to expand regionally as part of the business growth process, which is mainly driven by market demand, and we aim to provide better customer services in the region and continuous product improvement. We’ll continue to focus on Vietnam in the near term and China & USA in the mid-term (3-5 years from now) because of strong semiconductor market growth,” says the CEO regarding their plans for regional expansion.

DK hopes their partnership with MaGIC will help create job opportunities at the local level and contribute to Malaysia’s GDP while developing Malaysia’s brand as a technology hub across the region. Sophic’s rapid acceptance in the market was the result of the MaGIC programme he explains: “It has helped us to expedite new product development and market validation by minimizing the customer’s concerns around risks. This paves the way for developing great customer relationships and we can secure a long-term relationship in the client’s overall digital transformation journey.”

“MaGIC’s programme has helped us fast track our new product’s acceptance in the market. MaGIC has worked with us to improve our new customer adoption rate and better predict prospects in the long term. Programmes such as Global Accelerator (GAP) and Global Market-Fit (GMP) are pivotal to our continued regional expansion,” concluded the Sophic CEO.

– –

This article is produced by the e27 team, sponsored by MaGIC

We can share your story at e27, too. Engage the Southeast Asian tech ecosystem by bringing your story to the world. Visit us at e27.co/advertise to get started.

The post Industrial IoT startup Sophic Automation set to scale up Industry 4.0 projects in the region appeared first on e27.

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