Launch of beta user interface IXON Cloud
The foundation for what’s coming in 2020
Today the beta version of the completely new IXON Cloud user interface was launched. In this blog post, I’ll shed a light on this new foundation for the future, IXON’s vision and the upcoming developments on our roadmap.
You don’t digitise overnight, but normally you’ll go through different phases. IXON aims to support machine manufacturers and guide them through each of the phases step-by-step. We’ve spent the last few years actively listening to our customers’ feedback, and have consequently added various new features to the IXON Cloud.
A solid foundation for new features
But to take the next step in our journey to continuously innovate IXON Cloud, without sacrificing user-friendliness, we can’t avoid a major revision to the user interface. Only then can we meet machine builders’ wishes without creating an unnecessarily complex user experience. Therefore we’ve created a new platform interface based on a customer-centric vision, in which the machine builder and its users are key.
Quite a while ago we started designing the new user interface based on all the customer requirements and feedback we’ve received over time. Now the time has come to present it to our customers. We’re launching the beta version of the new IXON Cloud interface just before we enter the year 2020. First, the beta will exist as a parallel next to the current user interface, but soon the new interface will be the default. We naturally hope for extensive feedback, so that we can continue to improve IXON Cloud and offer its users the best possible experience.
The story so far
IXON came on the market in 2014, offering a VPN solution that allowed machine manufacturers to connect to their machine with the push of a button. This enabled machine builders to provide their customers with faster service and save on travel costs. Suddenly, service engineers could solve the majority of problems or malfunctions from their workplace.
In 2016 it became possible for machine builders to give their customers access to the machine’s control panel in an easy and secure manner – all via their smartphone. Machine manufacturers could connect IXON Cloud to their custom domain (e.g. portal.yourcompany.com) and create their own white-labelled portal by setting up their corporate colours and logo.
In 2017 we introduced Cloud Logging and Cloud Notify: two revolutionary apps with which IXON Cloud could easily and reliably communicate with machines to collect data and alert users in case of an incident – without requiring the machine builder to write even a single line of code.
In 2018 we simplified the art of creating custom dashboards and continuously released ever smarter widgets. The number of connections with other SaaS platforms and BI tools also grew.
This makes IXON Cloud a fully-fledged no-code IoT platform that can be used to manage machines, resolve malfunctions and clearly view machine performance.
The next step
A lot of machine builders are now ready to take the next step. With IXON Cloud, they have all the tools at hand to build smarter machines and help their customers in a sufficient manner. But the machine manufacturer’s valuable knowledge is currently only applied during the development and installation of a machine, while the true added value and the real difference can be made by applying this knowledge during the entire life cycle of a machine.
Machine builders need a portal that supports this. Only then can you make the most of your knowledge and skills, even after the development and commissioning of the machine. Additionally, machine builders must be able to analyse the big data that a machine generates every day, and convert it into new insights to achieve production profits. These insights, however, also hold major value for machine owners.
Machine builders therefore not only need a platform where they can perform their own analyses by applying their specialised knowledge, but also a platform where they can provide their customers with acquired (real-time) insights – allowing them to offer customers improved service and added value. All the while, a machine manufacturer should continue to be able to focus on their speciality without having to worry about typical IT matters such as security, user management, data storage, web development, etc.
New business models
Based on the conversations we have with machine builders all around the world, we’ve found that many of them expect to be using different business models in the future: customers don’t want any hassle with machines, but would rather choose a model that places all responsibility with the specialist.
Machine owners want to be kept informed in case of any issues and expect machine builders to provide the solutions. In short, they expect the machine builder to take responsibility during the machine’s entire life cycle. You can see it as a printer or coffee machine in the office: it should just always work and not have any issues. If you know that there are specialists who can manage this more efficiently than you can do it in-house, the choice is easy.
This offers machine builders unparalleled opportunities because, if you implement this the right way, you can increase your turnover and be less vulnerable in times of an economic downturn.
IXON Cloud supports machine builders during the development of new machines, in providing fast and adequate response to incidents, and in collaboration with their customers. The combination of machine data and the machine builder’s knowledge ensures a continuously improving production, during the entire life cycle of a machine.
Two major new developments on their way
Our development roadmap is closely aligned with this vision. There are currently two projects in development, which are expected to be released in the first half of 2020: the PageCreator and an even more extensive rights management system. We’ll briefly discuss both of these upcoming developments.
When a machine builder offers customers access to their own IoT portal, it needs to perfectly fit their business. With the PageCreator, machine builders can extensively adjust the user interface of IXON Cloud. In addition to the look and feel, the PageCreator will also offer the ability to organise the pages that users see with customisable widgets. Data is no longer restricted to a separate dashboard, with widgets that are a part of the main user interface. IXON has developed a few basic widgets, the code of which will be made publically available. This way developers can build on these widgets themselves, or develop their own widgets from scratch that perfectly fit their application and user requirements.
It will also be possible to set which pages should be shown for each type of user. This way you can decide exactly which information and functionalities should be accessible to them. Which brings us to the second new development: Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), a role-based user management system. Such a system is a comprehensive way of user management and can be adjusted by the machine builder to perfectly fit its business operations. Whether you work with customers, partners, distributors or regional offices: everything can be arranged so that it works easily and clearly for your organisation. It’ll even be possible for your customers to manage their own users within their group.
IXON Cloud users do not have to worry about migrating to the new rights management system. Users will be informed in a timely manner and the migration will be smooth.
First things first
But although we are hard at work on these new functionalities, we’re currently focusing on launching the new user interface for IXON Cloud. All feedback is welcome, from improvement proposals to any other comment. We’d also like to hear should something not be completely clear to you. The entire IXON Team is at your service to help make the transition from old to new as smooth as possible.
Here’s to 2020, here’s to helping machine builders take the next step in their digitalisation journey.