In order to accelerate the integration of information and communication technology (ICT) to create an intelligent manufacturing industry, Hong Kong-based innovation and technology company Nexsen sees Industry 4.0 as an opportunity to actively expand into offshore markets.
Loh Wai-yew, the General Manager of Nexsen, said: “The most important aspect of data collection is processing and analysing data follow collection. Our smart-sticker “SmartTag” IOT sensor is designed for Industry 4.0. Factories use a range of machines, and the motor is the main part of the machine. We use the sensor to assess motor performance. If the data is processed through the Internet of Things (IoT), it is possible to determine if the entire production system is functioning normally.”
Using innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and big data mature, the spread of ICT is ushering in unstoppable "smart" business opportunities, which companies such as Hong Kong-based Nexsen are being quick to exploit.
Founded in 2016, Nexsen is committed to providing customised ICT solutions for corporate customers in different industries, including IoT, cloud services and intranet support. In addition to Hong Kong, the company focuses on Southeast Asian markets and elsewhere in Asia. It now has operations in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Taiwan and South Korea.
Mr Loh said the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted Nexsen’s Hong Kong business by 50% to 80% as work-from-home and other control measures increased demand for ICT services. Several intelligent technologies are maturing, and automation has been developing rapidly amid the pandemic.
The company is optimistic on ICT prospects given the global push for Industry 4.0 that made industrial customers its key target. Nexsen invested in a Taiwanese research firm to introduce a sticker sensor, “SmartTag” IOT sensor.
Mr Loh said: “Our “SmartTag” sensor can provide point-to-point services. It is easy to install, saving time and cutting costs. The data load is low, and the data feed can be processed on the cloud immediately, delivering a detailed analysis to customers' phones.
“Our products are mainly used in such fields as transport and logistics, petrochemicals and manufacturing. For Industrial type of engines, lenses and other devices can be added to augment the AI.”
Exploring offshore markets
To assess markets further, Nexsen made its debut appearance at last year’s Hong Kong Autumn Electronics Fair, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
Noting SmartTag's development potential, Nexsen hoped the exhibition would serve as a platform to promote the product and establish a broader business network.
“The results were very good, so we will continue to participate at the exhibition this year,” Mr Loh said. "The exhibitors and buyers were mainly Hong Kong enterprises during the pandemic, but we also met many new overseas customers via online. We are discussing the possibility of cooperation with some of them”.
Mr Loh said Nexsen was seeking partners in Malaysia and Japan to develop markets in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc and elsewhere in Asia. The firm will establish new companies in Hong Kong and Taiwan to strengthen its research and development (R&D).
“We plan to set up a branch for Nexsen in Taipei in the first quarter of this year to strengthen our R&D work in ICT, and we also plan to open a new company in Hong Kong in the middle of this year to bring relevant ICT R&D to the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park. We are currently looking for strategic partners to focus on R&D.”
Greater Bay growth
Mr Loh believes innovation and technology will promote the development of Industry 4.0 in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, with Hong Kong as an important component. "Our main service target is industrial customers. The Greater Bay Area can be said to be our largest market. It has customers with huge potential and provides many new innovations and technologies.
“However, the Greater Bay Area is vast and has many competitive scientific researchers. We need to do our homework before entering the Greater Bay Area, so we plan to use Jiangmen as a pilot centre. We hope that in the second half of this year, after the pandemic has stabilised, we can launch our products in the Greater Bay Area.”
Mr Loh said the pandemic had accelerated ICT development, and while the development space is large, product quality can vary. Industries need to compare technologies and pricing to enhance their competitiveness as ICT applications continue to evolve.
Meanwhile, the company's Taiwanese partners have developed medical-sensor products which are now being sold in Japan, the United States and other markets to take measurements such as body temperature, pulse rate and respiration patterns. Analysing the resultant body data enables medical staff to track diseases such as COVID-19.