The Right AI Approach for Better Asset Performance


Our CTO Vlad Lata participated as a speaker at the "AI With the Best" online conference on April 29 – 30th. The following excerpts are taken from his interview on the right AI approach to unlocking a new level of asset performance.

Q: KONUX is famed for highly accurate smart motion sensors paired with AI data analytics — what skills set you apart from other engineering firms?

Unlike the large incumbents and horizontal analytics platforms on the market, we combine in-depth know-how on smart sensors and AI enabled predictive algorithms with railway expertise. The data fusion algorithms, which are the centerpiece of our solution, have been created by our team of AI experts working closely with domain experts. Our focus is to always take a deep dive into the problem first and afterwards to carefully engineer the KONUX stack around it in order to bring the best value possible for our customers.

Q: Can you tell us about your experience in founding the company?

Andreas, Dennis and I met at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) 4 years ago. Our common vision was to build systems that facilitate data-driven decisions for industrial enterprises. At first, we got support from the UnternehmerTUM Innovation Centre and the Centre for Digital Technology and Management that helped us lay down the ground for KONUX. Later on, by putting a lot of work into defining our product USP and roadmap we were able to win the trust of very inspiring people like Michael Baum and Andreas v. Bechtolsheim. Both of them have been great mentors and invested in our series seed, with Michael’s taking the round lead. This first push enabled us to identify the railway opportunity and show what our team was capable of achieving. NEA, MIG as well as a couple of other funds and angels were also convinced that we can build a great company that can dominate its market. And now with our latest series A funding we are very well equipped to execute on our roadmap and vision.

Q: What’s next on your roadmap?

We want to distribute the KONUX railway solution worldwide and help railway companies reach a new level of asset performance. Currently, our solution is deployed in Germany, but we are already in advanced discussions with other countries in Europe.

Q: The company has grown geographically, and in size — what has been the biggest change for you?

The biggest change for KONUX has been its development from a start-up to a more mature company with a global footprint. At present, we always have to think about everything on a global scale: product, customer success, sales, business development, marketing, etc. This has been a great learning experience and growth opportunity for the whole team.

Q: What advice would you give to budding AI developers?

I think we, engineers, should ask ourselves: Are we using AI in the right way? Do we understand what it needs, what its limitations and strengths are? There are very few companies within the industrial space that have answered these questions and I believe that KONUX is one of them. So, my advice would be: Look at AI as a tool, not as a solution for everything. Put time and effort into understanding how you could engineer it best to solve a problem and don’t assume it will solve it for you. We need to stop hyping and start showing how we can solve real industrial problems and create real dollar value for the customers.

The full version of this interview can be found on the Medium channel "With the Best".