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Sight Machine Goes Vertical With Industry-Specific IIoT Solutions

'As we got into several verticals, we realized there is industry specific language […] that companies like once a company like us has gotten experience in a vertical,' Sight Machine CEO Jon Sobel says of the industrial IoT startup's new industry-specific solutions.

After raising a $29 million Series C round from investors earlier this year, industrial IoT startup Sight Machine is taking its digital manufacturing platform vertical with industry-specific solutions for paper and tissue, packaging and chemicals manufacturers.

The San Francisco-based startup announced the three vertical solutions on Tuesday as part of an update to its digital manufacturing platform, which it claims can improve the efficiency of factories by 5-10 percent, with every percentage point representing an extra 3-4 percent in profits.

[Related: The 10 Hottest Industrial IoT Startups Of 2019]

In an interview with CRN, Jon Sobel, CEO and co-founder of Sight Machine, called the new vertical solutions "a classic software company evolution" that came after the startup found strong traction with paper, packaging and chemicals companies. The startup has worked with them to create applications that use language and key performance indicators specific to those companies' industries.

"As we got into several verticals, we realized there is industry specific language […] that companies like once a company like us has gotten experience in a vertical," he said.

Sight Machine plans to expand the number of vertical solutions it provides next year, according to Sobel. The company's current company base represents 15 verticals, which ranges from automotive and glass to food and beverage and electronics.

"Base-level technology definitely needs to be developed with a platform mindset, but go-to-market and providing value requires a vertical mindset," he said.

Sight Machine is aiming to become the "SAP of industrial data" with its digital manufacturing platform, which it claims is unique in how it provides a digital twin for the entire manufacturing process.

Sobel said with one customer that is a large automotive manufacturer, Sight Machine was able to automate the process of reviewing quality data in an engine plant. The result? Instead of taking 300 man-hours to complete a review, it now only takes 22 seconds.

"It's a very typical example of how people in plants are constantly checking to make sure processes are in control," he said.

John Merrells, Sight Machine's head of product and engineering, said what differs Sight Machine's digital twin from other vendors is that it doesn't focus on the control side of systems, where physical models of the plant's various parts are created. Instead, it's about the "feedback," which involves looking at the flow of data from the sensors and networks into the data historian.

"It's not about visiting an asset in [virtual reality]," he said. "It's about how can I build a model of the reality of the system."

To accelerate adoption of its new vertical solutions, Sight Machine has built a formal organization for expert services that consist of employees who are experienced in data visualization, data sciences, data architecture and "continuous improvement," a methodology for improving services and processes.

Sobel said Sight Machine is considering expanding this capability beyond its own workforce to channel partners who can bring their own expertise to the table.

"We believe there's great opportunity for partnership around Sight Machine's product in combination with skilled professionals for implementation, data extraction, strategy, digital transformation and data science," he said.

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