Elisa buys German software firm camLine to spur Industry 4.0 charge
Finnish mobile operator Elisa is to acquire Germany-based industrial software provider camLine Group, in order to enhance its smart manufacturing expertise and portfolio. The fee has not been disclosed; Elisa restated its strategy to expand beyond localised mobile services, in Finland, to capture an international audience with a broader digital offer, geared heavily towards Industry 4.0.
Software firm cameLine works in the manufacturing and ‘high-tech’ industries, focusing on manufacturing execution system (MES) solutions, as well as quality and operational excellence. It works with manufacturers of semiconductors, solar devices and componentry, medical devices, and ‘advanced materials’, as well as other discrete, continuous, and mixed forms of manufacturing.
Its software solutions have been deployed in 350 factories worldwide; it employs 220 staff in eight countries. Elisa, which has been working in the manufacturing space for five years, offering 2D/3D dashboards, machine learning, and ‘lockout tagout’ solutions, said camLine will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary. Elisa will plough its own know-how in data analytics and integration, artificial intelligence (AI), and industrial networking into the unit.
Specifically, he German firm will gain from “adding machine learning, AI, and 3D functionalities to its offering”, said Elisa. Members of the camLine management team will continue in their roles, it said.
Lasse Nordlund, vice president for industrial IoT at Elisa, said: “The acquisition will speed up Elisa industrial software business growth in several industries. camLine has deep industrial expertise, long-term customer relationships and strong market position. Elisa Smart Factory solutions with ML/AI capabilities complement camLine’s offering. This combination gives us opportunity to provide unique value for the customers and speeds up growth for both solutions.
Heinz Linsmaier, chief executive at camLine, commented: “We are excited to join Elisa who is a strong partner giving continuity and further growth. Their technological and machine learning know-how is impressive, and they have the capabilities to support companies through the digitalisation journey in manufacturing. Together we have ambitious goals, Elisa’s unique offering and ML/AI capabilities will help us become more competitive in the growing smart factory market.”
Elisa has been a strong proponent of private LTE and 5G for Industry 4.0. It has worked with Qualcomm and Finnish tech firm UROS to rig-up a new IoT innovation centre in Finland with private 5G and IoT. The venue, in the city of Oulu, was the first in Finland to utilise private 5G in IoT product development and validation, according to its proprietor.
It is working with Ericsson to offer enterprises and public safety agencies a private LTE solution to manage their users, devices, and traffic on localised cellular networks. The setup utilises spectrum Elisa has already licensed in Finland, rather than license-free shared spectrum. Tests were conducted at Elisa’s facilities during the first of half of 2019.
Notably, the company is supporting the digital upgrade of around 100 factories owned by US consumer goods company Procter & Gamble, following an initial rollout of IoT monitoring and insights at 10 sites. Procter & Gamble’s factory in Rakona, in the Czech Republic, was recently ranked by the World Economic Forum as one the smartest in the world, and one of just nine from a survey of 1,000 to be credited as a ‘lighthouse’ factory for digital change.
Elisa has also been working with tractor maker Valtra to turn mass-produced tractors into “5G remote-controlled work machines”, to help with high-risk farming tasks, and with HUS Helsinki University Hospital to lay the ground for 5G-enabled ‘video robots’ to enable doctors and nurses to interact with coronavirus (Covid-19) patients remotely.