Start-up of the year, which successfully digitizes the Slovenian industry!

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Some two years after having received the Slovenian start-up award in 2017, the young, high-tech company VIAR from Celje found itself in the heart of the digitization of the Slovenian industry. 

Digitization of industry: Remote Assistance and interactive video instructions with the help of REWO platform.

 

The significance of the award and the story

The importance of awards received by Slovenian startups on various occasions at home and abroad, do not only raise positive responses in the business public. Therefore, the story of VIAR, which, in addition to the title of the Slovenian start-up in 2017, is also one of the most successful recipients of the investment SK75 of the Slovenian Entrepreneurial Fund, is so much more encouraging for the entire Slovenian startup ecosystem. In the era of the fourth industrial revolution, this story is important for the successful digital transformation of a number of production companies providing effective tools for making and using the VIAR REWO solution to create and use interactive video instructions for employees, remote assistance and the preparation of work simulations for new employees.

 

Eminent buyers of the first solution

VIAR was founded four years ago by Jernej Mirt, Blaž Zafošnik and Marko Munda. Their first solution was software that allowed architects to take their customers to their own apartment, even before it was built. They continued with cardboard glasses for the virtual reality of Viarbox, who outgrew the solution to architects, and acquired buyers such as Disney, Microsoft, Volvo, Bosch, Renault, Samsung and Epson. On the initiative of the market, in 2016, the development of the VIAR360 platform for the production of content or experience in virtual reality was based on 360 degree recordings. As a kind of "PowerPoint for VR" that can be used without any know-how, the platform has been a success in the USA, where they quickly started working with some of its biggest universities, including Stanford University, North Carolina State University and Ohio State University.

 

With an excellent team and innovative product to US investors

The excellent team with innovative high-tech products persuaded the American investors in the same year – in addition to the 9Mile Labs and Techstars, the business angels, including the former member of the Microsoft HoloLens Executive team, Michael Nassirian. A year later, the venture capital fund Kolektor Ventures, founded by the industrial group Kolektor, invested in the VIAR. At this time, the VIAR360 platform has already begun to assert itself as an effective tool for internal education, which is now used by many companies at home and around the world, including the American telecommunication conglomerate Comcast and American software giant for visualizations and computation in the cloud VMware.

 

Problems in the industry as a trigger for the development of REWO

With careful observation of the issues their potential buyers are facing, the VIAR soon detected another burning challenge. There are still many processes in industrial enterprises run by pencil and paper, the experienced experts in production are ageing and retiring, and younger generations – given lack of mentors, no clear instructions, no orientation and piles of impractical and complex paper documents for different tasks - are left with no motivation, perform at low level of quality and decreasing productivity. With the knowledge of the full spectrum of opportunities that virtual reality can provide in solving such problems, the VIAR found that their solution Viar360 was not optimized for use in the industry. Therefore, last year in spring they launched REWO – a platform for digitization of know-how that dramatically improves and expedites processes of capturing, visualizing and transferring knowledge in production companies.

 

Record-cut frame-add text and graphics-publish

Currently, companies such as Elan, Gorenje, Odelo, Cablex, Domel, Hella, Kolektor, A1, Agromehanika, Adria technique and others are among the REWO buyers. In the words of a number of satisfied users, the essence of the app is best described by the following: "record – easily and quickly cut out the essential frames – add text and graphics – and publish". Jan Podlogar from Odela explains that they decided for the REWO in order to better visualize the instructions for making of their products, while limiting paper consumption. "The platform is easy to use, with it we have significantly reduced the time for creating and updating of work instructions and have improved the productivity of the company and the satisfaction of employees," adds Jan Podlogar.

 Implementing of the REWO platform in the company Odelo

 

How to provide foreigners with understandable instructions for work?

The Technical director of Elan, Miran Pristavec, explained that they have more and more employees from abroad, to whom all knowledge and guidance through the REWO platform are transmitted significantly faster and more understandably. Elan finds especially valuable the on-line solving of problems on various work operations by integrating other Elan departments such as Planning, Technology, and Construction. "The REWO platform makes it easier for employees to understand the objectives, improve product quality, facilitate new technologies in processes, and have fewer complications or ambiguities in the selection and use of the documents," adds Miran Pristavec .

 

A solution not applicable only in big corporations!

The VIAR Director, Jernej Mirt, describes the fact that the REWO solution is not only suitable for large companies, as an additional achievement of his team. The REWO improved productivity and increased the quality of the products even in a small but fast-growing company of an independent entrepreneur, Igor Stare, who develops agricultural machines under the trade mark Gorenc. "When implementing lean production, we have been looking for an opportunity to record all the technological processes in the company as effectively as possible. REWO has proved to be a very simple solution to our problem, as we have skipped an intermediate, less understandable paper phase in the preparation of the visualized instructions," explained Stare.

 

The reward has opened a number of doors

"Only in the first half of this year, REWO has been used for all our customers over 5000 times to intervene in the transfer of knowledge, which means that we have made a significant contribution to improving work or in preventing many costly mistakes. Even more, I appreciate the fact that the Slovenian industry has accepted us as a trusted partner, which also greatly contributed to the Slovenian start-up award, which we received in May 2017 at the PODIM conference. Industrial companies in Slovenia are very attentive to who they collaborate with. If there is a certain start-up company or an established existing player on the market, in most cases they choose the latter, so that this prize has actually opened up many doors that would otherwise remain closed, "points out the Director of VIAR, Jernej Mirt.

 

Raising awareness and educating about industry 4.0

The VIAR team, which currently comprises of nine experts from the field technological development, while three company employees manage marketing and sales, will continue to digitize the capturing and transfer of knowledge in Slovenian production companies in the future. In 2020, they will focus mainly on the DACH region and continue to be actively devoted to the American market through their own branches in Seattle. They also guide their efforts to raise awareness and promote all the opportunities that the Slovenian industry brings to the megatrend digitization or the Industry 4.0, as – twice a month – they read the most high-profile articles and publications and publish a Newsletter 4.0 with content showing that the future of production will tailor technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence and autonomous robotic systems.

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VIAR team