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17-09-2020
5 min. read
Sjors de Kleijn

Full control and management of automation systems worldwide

Hotraco Group, “the system creators”, has become one of the largest providers of innovative automation systems for livestock farming, horticulture and crop storage. These systems, equipped with their own hardware and software, provide reliable control information (live data) and a sustainable performance so end customers can achieve the best results for animals, crops and people.

Hotraco’s focus on innovation, service and the powerful collaboration with the global dealer network, installers and end customers made them a global player. Control over and access to all systems worldwide was therefore necessary to keep an overview. Martien Selten, Service Manager at Hotraco told us more about this.

We have as many as 1,000 IXON routers in the field.

Martien Selten
Service Manager of Hotraco Group

Providing good service to systems worldwide

“To provide good service worldwide, our dealers are trained to work with our systems. With more complex customer questions they speak to our service department,” says Martien. Hotraco makes use of the IXON Cloud portal and the IXrouters, which are completely provided in their own branding. In addition, the IXON app has been published in the app stores under the name “SyslinQ Remote App”.

This allows them to provide remote service and this complete package is an extension of the Hotraco systems. “We offer the router as an option, but we strongly advise to purchase it in order for us to be able to provide remote service and maintenance,” Martien explains. “In 90% of all cases we solve problems via VNC or HTTP. The other 10% we log in to our own linux application via VPN. Then we can run SSH commands to check the PC,” Martien says.

We can control our systems from anywhere.

Hotraco barn condition system Hotraco barn condition system

One platform to manage all systems and users

There are now more than 1,000 IXrouters in the field, making it essential to keep an overview. “To monitor the overview, we have set up a comprehensive tree structure. The Hotraco account includes our divisions, such as Agri. These cover all the dealers with their own sub-company which in turn include end customers,” says Martien.

Martien keeps control of the systems and manages all rights via the IXON Cloud platform. “We want to prevent customer A from accessing customer B’s system, but Hotraco has to be able to access all systems,” Martien explains.

“IXON’s advantage is that there is no subscription system, only the one-time purchase of a router. Our distinguishing feature is that we offer remote service completely free of charge,” says Martien. That’s how Hotraco provides support to dealers and installers, as well as to their end customers.

The simplicity of use and installation are one of the reasons why Hotraco chose for IXON. “We were looking for a stable, plug & play system that we could connect to the internet,” Martien recalls. “We used to have difficulty with port forwarding because each farm needed a different local router configuration,” Martien continues.

The service application is perfect, for our customers as well. It’s now easy and simple to remotely access the barn or greenhouse.

IXrouter with Hotraco stickers IXrouter with Hotraco stickers

Added value with white labelled IXON products

The pre-configured IXrouters with Hotraco stickers, equipped with remote control of touch panels via VNC, are stocked in a virtual warehouse. “Everything has a fixed IP range. When the systems are delivered, all you have to do is activate the router and the end customer is invited,” says Martien.

I’m very satisfied with IXON’s service, it is accessible and they contribute ideas, even in difficult situations.

Hotraco’s focus on service and innovation is emphasized by their collaboration with the University of Wageningen, and the smart, built-in alarm and data functions. “A fault in the installation can be disastrous for livestock within fifteen minutes,” Martien explains. “The farmer now has more flexibility and receives all warnings and alarms in one overview. He can then decide for himself whether to take action or not, even when he’s in a restaurant,” Martien points out.

SyslinQ Remote App for smartphone and smartwatch with barn alarm using IXON Cloud Notify SyslinQ Remote App for smartphone and smartwatch with barn alarm using IXON Cloud Notify

IXON is safe for the customer, no one can access the data.

"Our sales and product development listen carefully to customers to respond to their needs," says Martien. 'Big data' from various systems provides customers with direct insight into the system performance. "It's very specific management data which is passed on using combined data with formulas," explains Martien. "This data remains local and is regularly synchronized to the Farm management system via HTTP," Martien continues.

Hotraco leads the way with their continuous development of the Hotraco automation systems. “Everything is transferred to TCP/IP. The internet has the future and customers are realizing that more and more,” concludes Martien.

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