IT that creates the future
Interview in the Economic Forum
Discover the world of IT innovation with next system! In the following interview with Patrick von Unold, CTO, and the Economic Forum , you will gain insights into pioneering technologies and industry-leading solutions. From haptics and display technologies to embedded computers and customized motors, find out how we are shaping the future of electronics.
Interview with Patrick von Unold, CTO of next system Vertriebsges.m.b.H.
Technology is making quantum leaps and it is a challenge for companies to keep up. For next system Vertriebsges.m.b.H. from Vienna, the company name says it all. A leading Austrian provider of industrial hardware and software solutions, the company consistently focuses on future-oriented, technologically innovative solutions that offer users real added value.
Economic Forum: Mr. von Unold, your product range is large. What are the most important product categories at the moment?
Patrick von Unold: Our product segments are haptics, display and touch products, embedded computers, motors and drives and medical solutions. Our history had a strong focus on motors. However, all our segments are now equally important for our business.
Economic Forum: Do you mainly offer standardized or individual solutions?
Patrick von Unold: It depends on the area. In the display sector, it’s all about standard solutions. We have an extremely large selection and advise our customers individually on which products are best suited to their needs. Typical products here are industrial LCDs, for example. There is now also a selection of other display technologies with lower power consumption, for example. Against the backdrop of rising electricity prices, this is an important issue for customers. OLEDs, which are suitable for industrial applications, are also new. In the touch area, on the other hand, it is mostly about individual solutions. With our ‘haptic feed-back’, we have a real USP on the market. The glass itself provides vibration or the click feeling. There is no longer an extra button for this. This is not yet widespread in the industrial environment, but it is gradually gaining ground. This eliminates the need for mechanical buttons, which provides greater operating safety and makes cleaning easier. This is a major issue in the medical environment, for example. Functions such as gesture or proximity control will soon be available. This means that the sensors will become increasingly sensitive. Force sensing without a haptic function is also an option.
Economic Forum: What are the current topics in electronics?
Patrick von Unold: This is about standardized embedded electronics with individual software as well as customer-specific solutions. Edge computers are a hot topic, i.e. the transfer of intelligence to local machines on site. Central machine control is giving way to specific smaller electronic controls. The topic of cloud computing is also interesting here, for example, for remote maintenance or updates. Finally, artificial intelligence is a major topic including image recognition or learning systems. We offer our customers hardware and software solutions from a single source.
Economic Forum: Where are the trends in the motor sector?
Patrick von Unold: Motors are almost always customer specific. We develop the systems together with our partners. For example, motors for fire engines through to motors for the automatic opening and closing of doors. We offer our customers a wide range of quantities and performance classes.
Economic Forum: What are the current innovation topics at next system?
Patrick von Unold: The topic of haptics is important. We have a technological advantage here that is protected by numerous patents. We will position ourselves even more strongly in this area in the coming years. We are looking for partners worldwide. We are also looking into technologies such as gesture and voice control. We have several new display products in the pipeline, including micro-LEDs, and are looking at HMI products and sensor technology. One topic is the automatic switching on and off of displays. Software is becoming increasingly important. The trend here is clearly moving towards complete HMIs for industrial and high-quality consumer applications.
Economic Forum: Where do you see the USPs of next system compared to other providers?
Patrick von Unold: We have many long-standing and therefore experienced employees that can advise our customers very well. In addition to our expertise, we offer added value through our partner network. This enables us to offer fast and flexible support, even in times of crisis. We can also provide a wide range of technologies and are thus always in a position to develop the best possible solution for the customer, both on a technical and a commercial level. Due to the size of our company and our mindset, we are highly flexible.
Economic Forum: What is on your agenda for 2023?
Patrick von Unold: Our order books are still full and we are expecting another successful year. We will strengthen our position in the systems sector and communicate this clearly. Haptics is an important component for systems and we will offer complete HMIs. We have two new potential partners in Taiwan. We have also developed a haptics starter kit. Finally, we will strengthen our distribution and invest in sales and technology. In the long term, we want to expand our position as a leading system provider.