What is the key problem Symboticware solves for the mining industry?
Symboticware is founded around the idea that it is possible to have highly productive, reliable and safer operation of off-highway vehicles. It’s possible to make and keep the operators productive and safe while minimizing the carbon footprints of these vehicles.
Resource companies such as Mining, Agriculture, Forestry, Construction etc. spend more than US$100 billion every year towards unscheduled downtime of off-highway vehicles. Additionally, more than 5 billion tonnes of GreenHouseGases (GHG) are produced from these vehicles every year.
We are the Operating System of Intelligence for the natural resources industries. We know data. But more than that, we know that actions drive value. Hence, we provide our customers actionable insights from world's best predictive AI solutions.
How are Symboticware’s technologies being used in the field?
Symboticware started in 2008, and dozens of large mining companies including Glencore, Barrick, Vale, and Newmont have been our loyal customers for more than a decade. Our customers’ needs are now changing. Digital transformation and its relation with productivity, safety, carbon footprint and operating costs is now a board agenda. The adoption of digital technologies has been accelerated and customers expect a full scope solution. We offer our customers an end-to-end hardware and AI- software platform along with cutting edge communication technologies such as our patented Store-and-Forward, Data Muling, and Private LTE through our partners.
With our integrated end-to-end solutions, our customers across the industries will be able to optimize their fleet productivity, operating costs, their carbon footprint and operator safety.
As a recognition of our work towards optimizing GHG emissions from mobile vehicles, Symboticware has recently been recognized as a cleantech company by Export Development of Canada.
What are the challenges and opportunities related to technology penetration in Québec’s mining sector?
There are certain opportunities that are present across the mining industry and around the world. As I said before, there is an accelerated adoption of digital technologies. However, decision centralization and/or a less productive dynamic between HQ and sites prevent the identification of opportunities and implementation of appropriate technologies. Sometimes, there is a tendency to find a solution that can be deployed across all the sites. Oten, all sites do not have common problems and something that works great at a site may not be effective at others. One site may require one solution more urgently than the other site, so this centralization can be a problem.
The second issue is a lack of innovation and technological penetration. It’s an industry-wide phenomenon, however, Québec falls a little behind some other peer regions. From a global perspective, the blame for lack of innovation falls on the machine manufacturers and technology suppliers because they’re supposed to invent on their customers’ behalf.
Obviously, machine manufacturers' vested interest in maximizing the sale of their parts and services prevent them from offering a solution that can help customers optimize their operating costs. It’s unfortunate that some of the technology suppliers become part of a machine manufacturer and lose their independence.
What are the tough questions investors ask about Symboticware when you are raising money, and how do you respond to those questions?
A VC's job is to get solid financial returns for their investors. They make sure that they are investing in a large and fast moving market, a big enough problem that can be solved by the proposed solution, and in a team that can execute effectively on the vision. Answering these questions gets harder when it comes to the mining industry for reasons associated with slow speed of adoption and long sales cycles. We work in an industry where everyone wants to be the first to come second.
Fortunately, things are getting a lot better. With GHG emissions, productivity, safety and operating costs being on top of the board agenda, there is a widespread demand for our solution which answers the market size and speed adoption question to a great extent. From a solutions perspective, with our proprietary technologies and integrated hardware-software-AI solutions, we are in the most favorable place to solve the above problems. Finally, when it comes to our team, we are assembling one of the best teams in the mining tech space to build the most impactful tech solutions.