Q&A with Latane Conant, CMO at 6sense

MEDIA 7 | July 17, 2019

Q&A with Latane Conant
Latane Conant, CMO at 6sense has always been keenly focused on leveraging data to ensure marketing programs result in deals, not just leads.

At 6sense, Latane helps sales and marketing leaders increase revenue by tapping into the power of predictive intelligence to uncover buyers who are ready to buy.

MEDIA 7: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
LATANE CONANT:
The first thing I ever wanted to be was a lifeguard and swim coach. When I was 5 years old, I joined the swim team as one of the youngest swimmers. At 13, I was too young to be a lifeguard so I begged them to create a “JR lifeguard” position. This was essentially deck swabbing and towel service but I didn’t care. So they hired me and called me “young jedi”. The head lifeguard loved to play jokes on me. One time he gave me a ruler and said every deck chair needed to be 10 ¾ inches apart. There were 50+ deck chairs, but I went out and started measuring. Finally, after a few chairs, they called me over the loudspeaker to come back to the office and we all had a big laugh. Another time they took me down to the filter room, which was underground and pretty spooky.

BUT as a young jedi, I had to learn how the system worked. We descended under the deck and I climbed a rickety old ladder to look down into the pump. Another lifeguard in scuba gear was waiting underwater and jumped out of the filter tank and scared the bejesus out of me! Once I calmed down I thought it was pretty hysterical! My role could have been seen as pretty mundane - bathroom cleaning and towel folding - BUT I loved the people I worked with so much. I worshipped the lifeguards and swim coaches!

They kept me on my toes and in stitches all summer, so it’s still one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I finally graduated to teaching swim lessons, with a focus on kids who did not swim at all and were afraid to go in the pool. Nothing was more rewarding than seeing someone do something they thought they could not, or actually loving something that used to scare them - like put their head underwater, dive off the blocks, or swim the butterfly stroke for a lap.

M7: Latane, you have always thrived on working with wicked smart people. How do you get the best out of them when there is a common notion that it’s difficult to make smart people work together?
LC: 
Talented people want to be able to do great work. Not the average, crank some blogs out or run an event, but truly cool and differentiated things. My job is to be a force field and ensure the team has the opportunity to try different things and do their best work. This means providing focus. A powerful focus tool we use is the V2MOM. V2MOM stands for Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, and Metrics. Vision is what you want to achieve. Ideally your vision makes everyone uncomfortably excited. Values are why it matters, what you believe, guiding principles for decision making. Methods are where the rubber meets the road and are the top things you will do to achieve the vision.

Under each method, it's key to detail out obstacles (so you can plan around them) and metrics so you know if the method is on track. What’s nice about the system is that it provides built-in planning and is time bound. So every quarter I get my team together and we revise our V2MOM. This builds consensus around the vision and how we are going to get there. Every method gets assigned an owner, which drives accountability. And we publically track the metrics weekly so everyone knows our progress. The interesting thing about the V2MOM is not what's on the V2mom but what is NOT on the V2MOM. Because the process requires hyper prioritization of what you are going to do in a given time period, it forces focus.

I’m pretty obsessed and love the V2MOM. I am happy to share more on how teams can adopt, implement, and use it.  In fact, maybe in my next life, I will be a V2mom consultant!


"Marketing is harder and harder these days because buyers want to remain anonymous."

M7: How does leveraging smart technologies like AI help marketers have an edge over others and achieve on-time targets?
LC:
We need every advantage we can get in order to be successful and AI provides that advantage. Marketing is harder and harder these days because buyers want to remain anonymous. In fact, 90 percent of B2B buying behavior is digital and anonymous. Buyers also buy in teams, so the buying journey and process is very fragmented across many people. According to Gartner, it’s typical for a buying team to have more than 10 people involved. Adding to that, buyers are resistant. Every member of the B2B buying team requires highly personalized multi-touch and multi-channel engagement to take a meeting.
But our current systems are built for known static data, which only 12% of marketers have confidence in.
Revenue-generating teams should look for platforms that allow them to uncover buyer behavior, particularly the anonymous behavior, so they can stop spending money, time, and energy on the accounts that aren’t even in-market. Instead, through AI and big data, that money, time and energy can be used to uncover their “dark funnel,” or the rich information that is being done on your company and/or solution in the dark. Next, they must prioritize. Look across behavior to determine and group buying teams. Look for changes in behavior over time to fully grasp which accounts are in-market, ready for an upsell, or have potential to churn. AI can deliver these insights with a high degree of accuracy so you can know when accounts are getting ready to open opportunities. Enabling you to focus your time, salespeople and BDRs on the BEST accounts. Once you have uncovered anonymous behavior and prioritized timing, it’s time to engage. Engaging is about orchestrating multi-touch, multi-channel, highly personalized messages at scale. This is where AI really shines. It tells us the best time to use display ads vs. email vs a direct mailer and even triggers actions across channels. It also ensures we are personalizing appropriately so if someone has consumed the demo it offers them another piece of content so they aren’t served the demo AGAIN.  Based on their behavior, buying stage, persona, and company we can dynamically deliver the best experience. Teams that use this approach see unbelievable results and are beating out their competition with 40 percent more opportunities, 5x larger deals, and 1.5x faster cycle times.


"Engaging is about orchestrating multi-touch, multi-channel, highly personalized messages at scale. This is where AI really shines."

M7: How does 6sense’s Account Based Orchestration Platform help revenue teams to compete and win in the age of account-based buying?
LC:
I had my team do some research on the typical results b2b sales and marketing teams see from their efforts. The picture is not pretty. In fact EVERY minute:
- DOZENS of interested buyers will visit your website but only ONE will identify themselves.
- Your most important prospect will receive 2 NEW EMAILS. They will likely delete them both without opening.
- Your sales reps will spend ONE-QUARTER of their time on leads who have no intention to buy.
- Your BDR team will make just over 6 calls. They will book ZERO meetings.

No wonder marketing and sales teams get misaligned. This is not competing or winning.

Account Based Marketing is all the rage - It requires selecting the best accounts to go after, detailed insights into accounts and personas, highly personalized multi-channel engagement, alignment with sales, and the ability to track “real stuff” like increased engagement, pipeline, and revenue. ABM makes a lot of sense vs. traditional tactics that result in millions of unopened emails that get sent each year, thousands of dollars spent on swag at events that don’t lead to an opportunity, etc. However, the dirty little secret is that it’s impossible to scale without GREAT customer insights and orchestration capabilities. This is why you hear a lot about ABM pilots and not about ABM at scale.
6sense brings sales, business development, customer success, and marketing together on one platform that provides an unprecedented level of insights and the ability to take action. 

6sense delivers ABM at scale by providing (at a click in an easy to use UI):
- an understanding of best accounts to go after based on your business objective, technographic, firmographic, and real-time behavioral information.
- insights into the key personas to engage, the topics they care about, and where they are in their buying stage.
- orchestrated engagement across tactics from email, to display ads, to direct mail.
- alerts for sales with relevant details like when to call, what to say, what accounts are doing anonymously/in the “dark funnel”, and what marketing activities are working.
- tracking and metrics around how campaigns perform, if new personas engage, if you influenced opportunities, and if you gained net new opportunities.

This means sales and marketing can get BACK to sales and marketing, aligning on a business objective, messaging, and the experience you want to deliver for prospects - one you can actually be proud of. One without useless forms, spam, and cold calls. And because our platform provides transparency, reduced mundane work, and competitive advantage, prospecting actually becomes fun!

M7: What is the “dark funnel” and how can marketers embrace that?
LC:
So, the dark funnel is all of the data, information, people, and research that is happening right now for our product or solution that we have no insights into. You have to zoom out and think about the complexity of this cycle and how it’s changed. First of all, B2B buyers want to remain anonymous for as long as possible and our trick to making them not anonymous was to have some sort of gated content or to maybe try to run them down at a trade show or scan them but that doesn’t work anymore. All of our systems are set up for contact or a lead which is one person. What we find now is buyers buying in these teams, so you have to be able to understand how one person on the team is interacting with another person, how to put them together and how their collective research and desires come together. And again, all of that’s happening anonymously. So, the dark funnel research just went from one person to ten peoples’ research.

The other challenge is, in order to engage with buyers because they get so much noise and are so inundated, in fact in B2B we send about 300 billion emails a year, there’s only 7.7 billion people in the world and that’s not even B2C, so that doesn’t mean they’re on pottery barn’s list. So, our email motion in being able to break out of the noise is incredibly difficult. Hence, we have to have more touches and more capabilities and all of those emails and things that we’re sending are all in this dark funnel, we don’t truly understand how they’re getting consumed. So what ends up happening is we as marketers have to do a lot of guessing in how we design our programs and how we engage with customers and when you can start to really shine a light on the dark funnel and understand that rich research and the buying team and most importantly understand where they are in their journey, understand the timing. Rather than spamming you can start to really personalize in engagement and experience based on what they care about, who they are and most importantly, where they are in the buying journey.


"6sense brings sales, business development, customer success, and marketing together on one platform that provides an unprecedented level of insights and the ability to take action."

M7: To what extent does having a deep insight into a prospect’s buying journey help marketers in sales conversion and closing deals?
LC: 
Marketing is hard, selling is harder, and being a business development rep is the HARDEST. Business Development Reps and AE’s are expected to make hundreds of calls and send tons of email a week, but how do they know the contacts they are calling on aren’t random? Are they even in-market? How do they know when the best time to call is or what to even discuss without knowing the contacts needs? With outbound efforts, BDR’s and AE’s want opportunities, not just activity, but they don’t have a good way to make the right connections with the right content in order to be successful.

To reduce turnover and give outbound sales teams the best chance of success, we have to give them insights, with a robust group of digital signals to show if an account is actually in-market to buy or beginning the early stages of research. And with potential buyers leaving a digital footprint in the form of intent signals across the internet, both known and anonymous interactions with your website, as well as thousands of other 3rd party sites, we can take the guesswork out of identifying which accounts to target and what topics or competitors those accounts are searching.

Deep insights from 6sense help marketing, sales, and BDRs understand where each account is in their buyer journey and focus efforts on those who are actively in-market or in the early stages of research for our product or service. This lets the sales team know the ideal time to engage and what the account is interested in, taking the conversation from a cold call to a productive, meaningful one, driving higher conversions, win rates, and average deal size.

M7: 6sense recently launched Account-Based External Media Campaigns Analytics. How is it enabling media campaign effectiveness?
LC: 
The days of a four martini lunch and a deal are long gone since buyers don't want to talk to sales until they are 70% through the journey. Because of this shift, B2B digital ad spend is projected to hit $6.08 billion this year. It is an effective way to reach buyers in target accounts if done strategically with insights and proper measurement.

This feature focuses on digital agencies and the brands they work with. They use 6sense and all the rich insights on behavior and keywords in their campaign planning. It enables them to micro-segment and take an audience first approach vs designing a campaign and then finding an audience, flipping the campaign planning process on its head. 6sense also allows agencies to compare campaigns across different channels - tracking reach, engagement, and influence of these campaigns on accounts they are targeting for their customers.
Innovative agencies are partnering with us to deliver for their customers and they are seeing high returns on their investment.

M7: What is your favorite quote?
LC: 
“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” - Mick Jagger

ABOUT 6SENSE

6sense’s Account Based Orchestration Platform helps revenue teams compete and win in the age of Account Based Buying by putting the power of AI, big data and machine learning behind every member of the B2B revenue team, empowering them to uncover anonymous buying behavior, prioritize fragmented data to focus on accounts in market, and engage resistant buying teams with personalized, omni-channel, multi-touch campaigns. 6sense helps revenue teams know everything they need to know about their buyers so they can easily do anything they need to do to generate more opportunities, increase deal size, get into opportunities sooner, compete and win more often.

More C-Suite on deck

Q&A with Lew Weiss, Owner and Publisher, Jacket Media Co

Media 7 | August 16, 2022

Lew Weiss, founder of Jacket Media Co, host of Manufacturing Talk Radio and publisher of Manufacturing Outlook. Follow Jacket Media Co on Twitter @JacketMediaCo.

Read More

Q&A with Scott Heide, Chief Executive Officer at Engineering Intent Corporation

Media 7 | August 3, 2021

Scott Heide, Chief Executive Officer at Engineering Intent Corporation, brings more than 30 years of experience in knowledge-based engineering software and has long been a key source for industry understanding of application strategies for engineering and sales automation. Heide drove the development of Knowledge Bridge, a cloud-based comprehensive EPQ (Engineer Price Quote) and visual configuration platform. It offers tools and methods to automate custom engineering, technical sales, and business processes – the “To Order” in “Engineer To Order”. Heide holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Wichita State University and a Master of Science in Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Read More

Q&A with Thomas Cutler, President & CEO of TR Cutler, Inc.

Media 7 | July 1, 2021

Thomas R. Cutler is the President and CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., the largest manufacturing communication firm worldwide with four dozen industry experts and thought leaders on staff. Cutler is celebrating the 23-year anniversary of the Manufacturing Media Consortium, a group of editors, journalists, freelancers, economists, addressing the industrial sector. Cutler and his team work to track the industrial sector trends which includes manufacturing, distribution, supply chain, robotics, technology, Industry 4.0, IIoT, and much more. Cutler has launched two new areas of concentration: the power of Gen Z on the industrial sector, and the dynamic impact of the African continent as a growing force in manufacturing. Cutler has personally authored more than 8,000 articles for a wide range of leading manufacturing periodicals, industrial publications, and business journals. He was recently named the Most Influential Supply Chain Journalist by AI Global Media. Cutler is the most published freelance industrial journalist worldwide, and nearly 5000 industry leaders follow Cutler on Twitter daily at @ThomasRCutler.

Read More

Q&A with Lew Weiss, Owner and Publisher, Jacket Media Co

Media 7 | August 16, 2022

Lew Weiss, founder of Jacket Media Co, host of Manufacturing Talk Radio and publisher of Manufacturing Outlook. Follow Jacket Media Co on Twitter @JacketMediaCo.

Read More

Q&A with Scott Heide, Chief Executive Officer at Engineering Intent Corporation

Media 7 | August 3, 2021

Scott Heide, Chief Executive Officer at Engineering Intent Corporation, brings more than 30 years of experience in knowledge-based engineering software and has long been a key source for industry understanding of application strategies for engineering and sales automation. Heide drove the development of Knowledge Bridge, a cloud-based comprehensive EPQ (Engineer Price Quote) and visual configuration platform. It offers tools and methods to automate custom engineering, technical sales, and business processes – the “To Order” in “Engineer To Order”. Heide holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Wichita State University and a Master of Science in Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Read More

Q&A with Thomas Cutler, President & CEO of TR Cutler, Inc.

Media 7 | July 1, 2021

Thomas R. Cutler is the President and CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., the largest manufacturing communication firm worldwide with four dozen industry experts and thought leaders on staff. Cutler is celebrating the 23-year anniversary of the Manufacturing Media Consortium, a group of editors, journalists, freelancers, economists, addressing the industrial sector. Cutler and his team work to track the industrial sector trends which includes manufacturing, distribution, supply chain, robotics, technology, Industry 4.0, IIoT, and much more. Cutler has launched two new areas of concentration: the power of Gen Z on the industrial sector, and the dynamic impact of the African continent as a growing force in manufacturing. Cutler has personally authored more than 8,000 articles for a wide range of leading manufacturing periodicals, industrial publications, and business journals. He was recently named the Most Influential Supply Chain Journalist by AI Global Media. Cutler is the most published freelance industrial journalist worldwide, and nearly 5000 industry leaders follow Cutler on Twitter daily at @ThomasRCutler.

Read More

Related News

MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Phoenix Motorcars & CATL Form Long-Term Partnership

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited | November 23, 2022

Phoenix Motor Inc. (Nasdaq: PEV) (“Company” or “Phoenix”), a leader in manufacturing of all-electric, medium-duty vehicles, today announced the signing of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (SHE: 300750) (“CATL”), a global leader of new energy innovative technologies, for the co-development of batteries for Phoenix Motorcars’ product lines. The MOU will support the long-term supply of battery solutions and related products for Phoenix’s commercial electric vehicles including Gen 4 vehicles, as well as the potential cooperation on Gen 5 and EdisonFuture (Gen 6) models in the future. The two companies also agreed to explore the opportunity to deploy E-rolling chassis technology in Phoenix vehicle models. Developed for commercial vehicles by its subsidiary Suzhou Synland Technology Co., Limited, CATL’s E-rolling technology is a separate frame construction chassis solution that integrates coaxial e-beam, frame, electronic devices and the battery pack which in turn is integrated with the power domain controller. The innovative technology supports various vehicle types including pickups, light trucks, vans and RVs. Phoenix Motorcars CEO Dr. Lance Zhou commented, “We are thrilled to be working with CATL, one of the world’s leading battery manufacturers and solution providers, as we develop and produce our Gen 4 medium-duty vehicles and explore further cooperation including Gen 5 ground-up chassis vehicles and EdisonFuture (Gen 6) line of light-duty vehicles over the next few years. This MOU will ensure stability and security of essential battery supply. We are also very keen on the E-rolling chassis technology from CATL which would enable simplified, highly integrated and light weighted design of e-chassis to achieve higher energy efficiency in commercial vehicles. Collaboration with partners such as CATL is central to our ‘asset light’ strategy and adds to our confidence that we will deliver our enhanced product lineup on time, within budget and with maximum quality. “We are glad to cooperate with industry pioneers like Phoenix Motorcars, and we believe the successful cooperation with Phoenix will further promote the application of advanced technologies in commercial vehicles, This cooperation not only expands our global network of commercial application business, but also reflects our determination to promote comprehensive electrification with innovative battery solutions, thus contributing to the global efforts towards carbon neutrality.” -Li Xiaoning, Executive President of Overseas Commercial Application, CATL. About Phoenix Motor Inc: Phoenix Motor Inc., a pioneer in the electric vehicle (“EV”) industry, designs, builds, and integrates electric drive systems and light and medium duty EVs and sells electric forklifts and electric vehicle chargers for the commercial and residential markets. Phoenix operates two primary brands, “Phoenix Motorcars,” which is focused on commercial products including medium duty EVs (shuttle buses, school buses, municipal transit vehicles and delivery trucks, among others), electric vehicle chargers and electric forklifts, and “EdisonFuture,” which intends to offer light-duty EVs. Phoenix endeavors to be a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of electric vehicles and electric vehicle technologies. About Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited: Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) is a global leader of new energy innovative technologies, committed to providing premier solutions and services for new energy applications worldwide. In the year 2021, CATL’s EV battery consumption volume ranks No. 1 in the world for five consecutive years, and it ranks first in the market share of global energy storage battery production. CATL also enjoys wide recognition by global EV and energy storage partners. To achieve the goal of realizing fossil fuel replacement in stationary and mobile energy systems with highly efficient electrical power systems that are generated through advanced batteries and renewable energy and promote the integrated innovation of market applications with electrification and intelligentization, CATL maintains continuous innovation in four dimensions including material and electrochemistry system, structure system, green extreme manufacturing and business models.

Read More

MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Acerta Analytics raises $8M ($10.4M CAD) to improve manufacturing quality in fast-changing automotive sector

Acerta Analytics | November 28, 2022

Acerta Analytics, the leading provider of advanced analytics solutions that leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML/AI) to turn complex product data into actionable insights, has raised an $8M ($10.4M CAD) Series B round. The funding will be used to accelerate Acerta’s mission of providing actionable insights that improve product quality and operational efficiency in precision manufacturing globally. BDC Capital’s Industrial Innovation and Thrive Venture Funds led the round, with participation from existing investors OMERS Ventures and StandUp Ventures. Acerta helps automakers like Nissan and suppliers of complex vehicle parts such as Dana dramatically improve quality in their manufacturing processes and support early defect detection, making them more efficient, helping them reduce scrap and rework and avoid shipping defective parts that lead to costly recalls and brand damage. Acerta’s LinePulse platform uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to help companies leverage their data for actionable insights into vehicle part production. Results suggest that using Acerta’s LinePulse platform can lead to a reduction of 30% or more in rework rates, which can result in multi-million dollar savings on a per-plant basis. "Automotive manufacturers are facing increasing challenges as the industry moves towards electrification with more sophisticated sensors and electronics in every vehicle model. Acerta provides a platform that manufacturers can leverage to ensure they’re delivering high-quality products to market and maintaining brand reputation.By applying our advanced analytics on their complex data, automotive suppliers and OEMs can reduce scrap in their plants, thereby raising margins and increasing throughput. We help them achieve higher operational efficiency so they can make better day-to-day decisions. Manufacturing issues contribute to approximately one third of all early in-field vehicle breakdowns, but they are especially problematic for new EVs. Given the number of costly recalls and subsequent brand damage that EV makers are seeing, companies are investing in new digitalized production lines that are poised for the value that Acerta provides.This fundraise will help us add even more value to our core platform, LinePulse. We plan to expand our team to ensure we put our next-gen solution into the hands of more manufacturers." -Greta Cutulenco, CEO and co-founder of Acerta Acerta’s solutions drive significant improvement in manufacturing quality. We’re thrilled to support a company with such an inspiring vision for bringing AI and advanced data analytics into precision manufacturing. The time is right for this innovation, and we are very confident that this team will deliver, said Joseph Regan, Managing Partner, Industrial Innovation Venture Fund at BDC Capital. "We are excited to support Greta and the Acerta team in their next phases of growth. The company’s suite of SaaS solutions for precision manufacturing is already transforming the automotive and transportation industries and receiving strong market validation. We know that there is a lot more to come" -Michelle Scarborough, Managing Partner, Thrive Venture Fund at BDC Capital. After a difficult few years in the automotive industry due to the global pandemic and supply chain issues, manufacturers are doubling down on new production lines and the sector is anticipating that demand will recover strongly, especially as a new generation of EVs comes into production. A greater focus on local production in Europe and North America is also re-shaping the industry, as increasingly manufacturers look to safeguard global supply chains. Acerta currently operates in Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan. It will use the Series B funding to expand its customer base in North America and Europe, while strengthening ties with leading OEMs and automotive suppliers. Acerta’s customers are involved in producing complex parts for all types of vehicles. About Acerta: Acerta Forged from industrial experience and driven by data science, Acerta assists precision manufacturers to take their digital transformation beyond manually crunching sensor data. Our ML/AI-powered software services enable companies to make the right decisions fast, optimize production, and improve product quality. We translate complex product data into actionable insights. Founded in 2017, Acerta Analytics Solutions Inc. is based in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. About BDC Capital: BDC Capital is the investment arm of BDC, Canada’s Business Development Bank. With over $6 billion under management, BDC Capital serves as a strategic partner to the country’s most innovative firms. It offers businesses a full spectrum of capital, from seed investments to growth equity, supporting Canadian entrepreneurs who have the ambition to stand out on the world stage.

Read More

MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Innodisk Proves AI Prowess with Launch of FPGA Machine Vision Platform

Innodisk | November 24, 2022

Innodisk, a leading global provider of industrial-grade flash storage, DRAM memory and embedded peripherals, has announced its latest step into the AI market, with the launch of EXMU-X261, an FPGA Machine Vision Platform. Powered by AMD's Xilinx Kria K26 SOM, which was designed to enable smart city and smart factory applications, Innodisk's FPGA Machine Vision Platform is set to lead the way for industrial system integrators looking to develop machine vision applications. Automated defect inspection, a key machine vision application, is an essential technology in modern manufacturing. Automated visual inspection guarantees that the product works as expected and meets specifications. In these cases, it is vital that a fast and highly accurate inspection system is used. Without AI, operators must manually inspect each product, taking an average of three seconds per item. Now, with the help of AI solutions such as Innodisk's FPGA Machine Vision Platform, product inspection in factories can be automated, and the end result is not only faster and cheaper, but can be completely free of human error. Innodisk's FPGA Machine Vision Platform comes with 1GbE LAN, 4 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports, 2 M.2 slots, and a series of other expansion and connectivity options. Thanks to the platform's 0° to 70 °C operational temperature support, and optional industrial temperature support from -40° to +85°C, EXMU-X261 is tough enough for the harshest of industrial environments. In addition, EXMU-X261 features support for Innodisk's InnoAgent out-of-band remote management module, allowing the platform to be remotely managed from anywhere, even during a system crash or an in-band network failure. This is important for any automated system, as it allows for it to be completely unmanned, which further reduces manpower and maintenance costs. Customers can take advantage of AMD's Xilinx Kria K26 SOM's ability to quickly get applications to market thanks to EXMU-X261's full support for Innodisk's AI Suite SDK. The suite includes an FPGA Model Zoo, as well as Innodisk's in-house software solutions, such as iCAP (Innodisk Cloud Administration Platform), and iVIT (Innodisk Vision Intelligence Toolkit). iVIT for example, provides a deep learning environment for efficient development and deployment of "no-code-operation" solutions.

Read More

MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Phoenix Motorcars & CATL Form Long-Term Partnership

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited | November 23, 2022

Phoenix Motor Inc. (Nasdaq: PEV) (“Company” or “Phoenix”), a leader in manufacturing of all-electric, medium-duty vehicles, today announced the signing of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (SHE: 300750) (“CATL”), a global leader of new energy innovative technologies, for the co-development of batteries for Phoenix Motorcars’ product lines. The MOU will support the long-term supply of battery solutions and related products for Phoenix’s commercial electric vehicles including Gen 4 vehicles, as well as the potential cooperation on Gen 5 and EdisonFuture (Gen 6) models in the future. The two companies also agreed to explore the opportunity to deploy E-rolling chassis technology in Phoenix vehicle models. Developed for commercial vehicles by its subsidiary Suzhou Synland Technology Co., Limited, CATL’s E-rolling technology is a separate frame construction chassis solution that integrates coaxial e-beam, frame, electronic devices and the battery pack which in turn is integrated with the power domain controller. The innovative technology supports various vehicle types including pickups, light trucks, vans and RVs. Phoenix Motorcars CEO Dr. Lance Zhou commented, “We are thrilled to be working with CATL, one of the world’s leading battery manufacturers and solution providers, as we develop and produce our Gen 4 medium-duty vehicles and explore further cooperation including Gen 5 ground-up chassis vehicles and EdisonFuture (Gen 6) line of light-duty vehicles over the next few years. This MOU will ensure stability and security of essential battery supply. We are also very keen on the E-rolling chassis technology from CATL which would enable simplified, highly integrated and light weighted design of e-chassis to achieve higher energy efficiency in commercial vehicles. Collaboration with partners such as CATL is central to our ‘asset light’ strategy and adds to our confidence that we will deliver our enhanced product lineup on time, within budget and with maximum quality. “We are glad to cooperate with industry pioneers like Phoenix Motorcars, and we believe the successful cooperation with Phoenix will further promote the application of advanced technologies in commercial vehicles, This cooperation not only expands our global network of commercial application business, but also reflects our determination to promote comprehensive electrification with innovative battery solutions, thus contributing to the global efforts towards carbon neutrality.” -Li Xiaoning, Executive President of Overseas Commercial Application, CATL. About Phoenix Motor Inc: Phoenix Motor Inc., a pioneer in the electric vehicle (“EV”) industry, designs, builds, and integrates electric drive systems and light and medium duty EVs and sells electric forklifts and electric vehicle chargers for the commercial and residential markets. Phoenix operates two primary brands, “Phoenix Motorcars,” which is focused on commercial products including medium duty EVs (shuttle buses, school buses, municipal transit vehicles and delivery trucks, among others), electric vehicle chargers and electric forklifts, and “EdisonFuture,” which intends to offer light-duty EVs. Phoenix endeavors to be a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of electric vehicles and electric vehicle technologies. About Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited: Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) is a global leader of new energy innovative technologies, committed to providing premier solutions and services for new energy applications worldwide. In the year 2021, CATL’s EV battery consumption volume ranks No. 1 in the world for five consecutive years, and it ranks first in the market share of global energy storage battery production. CATL also enjoys wide recognition by global EV and energy storage partners. To achieve the goal of realizing fossil fuel replacement in stationary and mobile energy systems with highly efficient electrical power systems that are generated through advanced batteries and renewable energy and promote the integrated innovation of market applications with electrification and intelligentization, CATL maintains continuous innovation in four dimensions including material and electrochemistry system, structure system, green extreme manufacturing and business models.

Read More

MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Acerta Analytics raises $8M ($10.4M CAD) to improve manufacturing quality in fast-changing automotive sector

Acerta Analytics | November 28, 2022

Acerta Analytics, the leading provider of advanced analytics solutions that leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML/AI) to turn complex product data into actionable insights, has raised an $8M ($10.4M CAD) Series B round. The funding will be used to accelerate Acerta’s mission of providing actionable insights that improve product quality and operational efficiency in precision manufacturing globally. BDC Capital’s Industrial Innovation and Thrive Venture Funds led the round, with participation from existing investors OMERS Ventures and StandUp Ventures. Acerta helps automakers like Nissan and suppliers of complex vehicle parts such as Dana dramatically improve quality in their manufacturing processes and support early defect detection, making them more efficient, helping them reduce scrap and rework and avoid shipping defective parts that lead to costly recalls and brand damage. Acerta’s LinePulse platform uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to help companies leverage their data for actionable insights into vehicle part production. Results suggest that using Acerta’s LinePulse platform can lead to a reduction of 30% or more in rework rates, which can result in multi-million dollar savings on a per-plant basis. "Automotive manufacturers are facing increasing challenges as the industry moves towards electrification with more sophisticated sensors and electronics in every vehicle model. Acerta provides a platform that manufacturers can leverage to ensure they’re delivering high-quality products to market and maintaining brand reputation.By applying our advanced analytics on their complex data, automotive suppliers and OEMs can reduce scrap in their plants, thereby raising margins and increasing throughput. We help them achieve higher operational efficiency so they can make better day-to-day decisions. Manufacturing issues contribute to approximately one third of all early in-field vehicle breakdowns, but they are especially problematic for new EVs. Given the number of costly recalls and subsequent brand damage that EV makers are seeing, companies are investing in new digitalized production lines that are poised for the value that Acerta provides.This fundraise will help us add even more value to our core platform, LinePulse. We plan to expand our team to ensure we put our next-gen solution into the hands of more manufacturers." -Greta Cutulenco, CEO and co-founder of Acerta Acerta’s solutions drive significant improvement in manufacturing quality. We’re thrilled to support a company with such an inspiring vision for bringing AI and advanced data analytics into precision manufacturing. The time is right for this innovation, and we are very confident that this team will deliver, said Joseph Regan, Managing Partner, Industrial Innovation Venture Fund at BDC Capital. "We are excited to support Greta and the Acerta team in their next phases of growth. The company’s suite of SaaS solutions for precision manufacturing is already transforming the automotive and transportation industries and receiving strong market validation. We know that there is a lot more to come" -Michelle Scarborough, Managing Partner, Thrive Venture Fund at BDC Capital. After a difficult few years in the automotive industry due to the global pandemic and supply chain issues, manufacturers are doubling down on new production lines and the sector is anticipating that demand will recover strongly, especially as a new generation of EVs comes into production. A greater focus on local production in Europe and North America is also re-shaping the industry, as increasingly manufacturers look to safeguard global supply chains. Acerta currently operates in Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan. It will use the Series B funding to expand its customer base in North America and Europe, while strengthening ties with leading OEMs and automotive suppliers. Acerta’s customers are involved in producing complex parts for all types of vehicles. About Acerta: Acerta Forged from industrial experience and driven by data science, Acerta assists precision manufacturers to take their digital transformation beyond manually crunching sensor data. Our ML/AI-powered software services enable companies to make the right decisions fast, optimize production, and improve product quality. We translate complex product data into actionable insights. Founded in 2017, Acerta Analytics Solutions Inc. is based in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. About BDC Capital: BDC Capital is the investment arm of BDC, Canada’s Business Development Bank. With over $6 billion under management, BDC Capital serves as a strategic partner to the country’s most innovative firms. It offers businesses a full spectrum of capital, from seed investments to growth equity, supporting Canadian entrepreneurs who have the ambition to stand out on the world stage.

Read More

MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Innodisk Proves AI Prowess with Launch of FPGA Machine Vision Platform

Innodisk | November 24, 2022

Innodisk, a leading global provider of industrial-grade flash storage, DRAM memory and embedded peripherals, has announced its latest step into the AI market, with the launch of EXMU-X261, an FPGA Machine Vision Platform. Powered by AMD's Xilinx Kria K26 SOM, which was designed to enable smart city and smart factory applications, Innodisk's FPGA Machine Vision Platform is set to lead the way for industrial system integrators looking to develop machine vision applications. Automated defect inspection, a key machine vision application, is an essential technology in modern manufacturing. Automated visual inspection guarantees that the product works as expected and meets specifications. In these cases, it is vital that a fast and highly accurate inspection system is used. Without AI, operators must manually inspect each product, taking an average of three seconds per item. Now, with the help of AI solutions such as Innodisk's FPGA Machine Vision Platform, product inspection in factories can be automated, and the end result is not only faster and cheaper, but can be completely free of human error. Innodisk's FPGA Machine Vision Platform comes with 1GbE LAN, 4 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports, 2 M.2 slots, and a series of other expansion and connectivity options. Thanks to the platform's 0° to 70 °C operational temperature support, and optional industrial temperature support from -40° to +85°C, EXMU-X261 is tough enough for the harshest of industrial environments. In addition, EXMU-X261 features support for Innodisk's InnoAgent out-of-band remote management module, allowing the platform to be remotely managed from anywhere, even during a system crash or an in-band network failure. This is important for any automated system, as it allows for it to be completely unmanned, which further reduces manpower and maintenance costs. Customers can take advantage of AMD's Xilinx Kria K26 SOM's ability to quickly get applications to market thanks to EXMU-X261's full support for Innodisk's AI Suite SDK. The suite includes an FPGA Model Zoo, as well as Innodisk's in-house software solutions, such as iCAP (Innodisk Cloud Administration Platform), and iVIT (Innodisk Vision Intelligence Toolkit). iVIT for example, provides a deep learning environment for efficient development and deployment of "no-code-operation" solutions.

Read More