Our two Management Directors talk about the journey of KTM innovation, the challenges and why they work so well together.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been on the rise for years, so in 2018/2019 we decided it was time to take a serious look at how IoT could transform our vehicles: KTM Innovations launched a massive Proof of Concept. For 26 months, we’ve been using 9 end-to-end IoT platforms on 30 vehicles. Each of our products is different, so we’ve integrated everything from our bicycle to our X-bow. We tried and tested in Austria, Italy, Germany and Spain but also in Columbia, California and all the way to the border of Iran. One million kilometers have been ridden and tracked so far.
TESTING TO THE EDGE AND BACK
We looked at edge capabilities, networks, back-end functions, APIs, business applications as well as numerous use & business cases. How could we achieve maximum flexibility? Get the highest information density? Work across various channels? Incorporate firmware OTA updates? Deploy analytics to the edge, minimize the edge, and test edge capabilities? We wanted 24/7 monitoring, perfect fleet management and much more. So yes, we went in with tough goals and it turned out to be one hell of a ride.
ONE HELL OF A RIDE
In order to compare the different platforms properly we often had to mount 4 devices on the same bike. We then compared the data. This required creating feeds out of the various platforms into our own little IoT database and analytics platform. We worked with several startups on shared IP and other issues. We even built a special garage at our headquarters in Wels to mount and manage the IoT test bikes.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
We’d gone into this project with the expectation that this would be an easy task. IoT is used all around the world. It’s been developed for years, so clearly, it’s no longer rocket science, right? Well, the challenge turned out to be much bigger than we thought. Maybe this shouldn’t have come as a surprise: KTM builds tough bikes for tough riders in tough conditions. We need an IoT platform that can handle all that and still add value to our products. We finally feel that we’re on the right track now. And in the end, aren’t the toughest rides always the best ones?
STARTUP GATEWAY TO THE KTM GROUP
At KTM Innovation, tech scouting doesn’t just happen – it is lived and celebrated by all employees. Instead of using a classic top-down approach, we have defined a special bottom-up scouting process.
We are open for innovative products, services, business models and technologies in the following areas:
- Smart Product: Our portfolio includes Powered Two-Wheelers (PTW), super-fast road bikes, entry level road bikes, off-road motorbikes for kids, endures, electric off roaders for kids and adults, electric scooters and electric mountain bikes. All of our bikes are performance bikes READY TO RACE.
- Smart Production: With our high-quality production and global supply chain, we are able to produce over 450.000 PWT a year.
- Smart Commerce: Our B2B2C commercial channels include 3,000 dealers in 80 countries.
- Smart Organization: Our organization comprises many subsidiaries (including Europe’s largest design agency), 4200 employees and substantial portfolio of brands (KTM, Husqvarna, GasGas, WP, X-bow, Raymon, Husqvarna Bicycles).
In a top-down approach, concrete questions come from all areas of the company and are then specifically scouted. At KTM Innovation, we rely on a different tactic: We are open to all ideas and technologies that make us faster and better across all business departments. This method helps us find new solutions that we might not have even been aware of. We use our own innovation funnel to screen the large number of startups. This helps us understand their needs and support them in their process.
Here’s how our Innovation Funnel works:
1. Pitch your solution to KTM Innovation.
2. Include your contact, pitch deck, videos and/or demos, so we can analyze your proposal.
3. We’ll evaluate your solution based on the question of: “How big is the potential for the KTM group?”
4. If your solution has business potential, we’ll develop initial use cases to make your solution or technology more tangible for KTM.
5. We’ll introduce your solution to the relevant business departments.
6. If your solution is approved by the respective department, we’ll discuss further development steps.
7. For highly complex or totally new technologies, we often run tests, pilots, trials or POCs to fully assess the potential and test the limits of your idea. This can take anywhere between a few days and a few years.
What we’re looking for
To all the startups out there: If you have a high-tech solution that can be applied to the motorcycle industry, get in touch with us. Our tech scouts will get back to you with feedback after reviewing your solution. To make screening more efficient, please ensure you fulfill the following points:
1. Brand check:
Do you know KTM? Do you have a suitable use case for our business?
2. Pitch deck:
A professional pitch deck is a MUST.
Briefly introduce your solution and clearly outline your assets during an initial call.
Stay flexible. We might need to adjust your solution to create a perfect fit.
Can’t wait to hear from you!
Inno Camp #2 took place on the 3rd and 4th of October.
This time, our focus was on new services as part of our smart commerce stream. Together with KTM employees from the marketing, research and development, finance, product management, distribution and innovation departments, the exciting startups WHIP from Italy and MOTION-S from Luxemburg worked hard at developing significant future improvements for our customers. All teams were approved by the jury (which again included several board members), which means the total number of POCs in the current year has increased to around 20. Well done! We will continue to offer the Inno Camp as an effective tool for promoting innovation in startups. We are open for all startups that can support us with smart products, smart production, smart commerce, or smart organization.