Quick Q&A: KINEXON talks sensors

Among other products, KINEXON produces the X-Tag, a UWB sensor that the company deems the 'world's most cost-efficient." It can be used for supply chains and industrial automation and was recently named a finalist in the Engineers' Choice Awards. (KINEXON)

 Global tech company KINEXON provides hardware and software to leverage real-time location data for process automation across industries.  Mehdi Bentanfous, global industries lead at KINEXON, reached Fierce Electronics via email about the work. Here are some lightly edited responses:

FE: What categories of sensor tech does KINEXON produce and what products are most popular?

MB: KINEXON is a pioneer in offering end-to-end automation use cases through location technology hardware and software solutions.

Our powerful location-based automation software allows companies to create a digital twin of all moving things--think of assets, Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), forklifts, etc.-- across their production and supply chain. That’s an invaluable benefit when it comes to increasing productivity and resilience while reducing costs and disruptions.

On the hardware side, we feature location solutions ranging from UWB to GPS. Our portfolio includes the X-Tag, the world’s most cost-efficient UWB sensor, and the ePaper Tag, one of the few UWB-based e-ink tags which enables paperless production through a location-based automation approach. Depending on our individual customer requirements, we provide solutions with BLE and GPS localization options, and we can facilitate projects looking for RFID (auto-ident) or Wi-Fi technology.

KINEXON is also the innovator behind SafeZone, the world’s most trusted digital solution in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

FE: Can you describe what’s special about your tech and competitive differentiators?

MB: At the core of our cutting-edge solutions are our customers’ needs. When confronted with a pricing challenge for ultra-precise UWB technology in complex industrial environments, our asset tag underwent a crucial Design for Manufacturing (DFM) update, which enabled us to offer UWB, the leading but formerly price-prohibitive technology for indoor localization, at a price comparable to BLE and RFID for large-scale usage in production and logistics. In fact, the X-Tag was just nominated as a finalist for the 2022 Engineers’ Choice Awards.

FE: Who do you consider to be competitors?

MB: We compete with Siemens, Ubisense, or Zebra among others when it comes to our sensor and connected devices portfolio.
KINEXON’s unique selling proposition lies in our sensor accuracy and portfolio, as well as in our powerful location-based automation software. We really noticed a huge lack in software that allowed manufacturers to really leverage all the valuable data generated by various sensors. We started the development of our powerful location-based automation software together with one of the most innovative manufacturers worldwide, and it has proven to be a much-needed tool across industries.
Providing this full-stack solution for our clients’ end-to-end digitalization journey is key.

FE: What generally do you anticipate will be the features of the next generation of your popular products?
MB: Some features that are on the horizon are combined sensor technology, including BLE and UWB, in one sensor so customers can use the best technology in every environment with lower hardware investments.  Also, new UWB sensor technology without wiring costs. And, combining 5G connectivity and location technology.

FE: What are the biggest coming trends in sensors over  the next 5 to 10 years?
MB: Rather than talking about what to expect, it’s important for companies in manufacturing and logistics to realize that we’re not talking about the future when it comes to the need for location-based automation. Companies need to tackle pain points like long and costly search times, inefficiencies in logistics and material flow, as well as quality issues along the assembly line. Location-based automation addresses all these facets -- not in the future but now.