Enabling Operators, Revolutionising Projects

Enabling Operators, Revolutionising Projects

The mining sector has experienced a significant transformation through the adoption of technology, which has revolutionised operations and increased efficiency across the industry. Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and automation have enabled mining compani...
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The mining sector has experienced a significant transformation through the adoption of technology, which has revolutionised operations and increased efficiency across the industry. Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and automation have enabled mining companies to improve safety, optimise resource extraction and enhance overall productivity. These technologies have allowed for the utilisation of remote-controlled machinery, autonomous vehicles and real-time data analytics, resulting in reduced human involvement in hazardous environments and improved decision-making processes. Enter Cognecto, a company that has leveraged AI-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) devices to transform the sector. With its suite of cutting-edge products and features, it has been addressing industry challenges and revolutionising asset-centric data management. Divyani Singh, Chief Product Officer, shares more about Cognecto's journey, its products and use cases, and a glimpse into the company's future plans. How it started Cognecto was inspired by a team with a cumulative experience of over 60 years in the mining and construction industries. With a vision to bridge the disconnect between operators and equipment, the company ultimately aims to revolutionise the construction industry with a 360° construction platform. The founding team at Cognecto brings together professionals from diverse backgrounds, including those who have worked at renowned companies like Coal India. Their extensive expertise in mining and construction provided them with a unique perspective on the industry's pain points. Singh shares that during their time in these fields, they noticed a significant gap between equipment operators and the machinery they worked with. Operators, often overlooked in the ecosystem, were not fully connected to the tools and technology at their disposal. “The idea came from there, wherein we could connect them and complete the entire ecosystem to create a 360° construction platform,” she says. This pivotal realisation led the team to explore ways to empower operators by establishing a seamless connection between them and the equipment they operated. Cognecto embarked on an intensive R&D journey, testing various devices and IoT technologies. The road to success was not without its obstacles as the team faced numerous failures along the way. However, they persevered. The breakthrough came during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was during this period that one of their devices successfully passed the rigorous testing phase. Overcoming the challenges One of the primary challenges that Cognecto encountered was the timing of its inception. Singh reflects on the initial phase, stating, “First, it was during the COVID time, so getting people was a challenge.” The pandemic presented unique obstacles, making it difficult to assemble a skilled team. Another significant challenge the startup faced was the rigorous testing of its hardware solutions. Being deeply rooted in the mining and construction sector, where harsh conditions prevail, the devices had to undergo extensive testing to ensure reliability and durability. As she acknowledges, “Testing the hardware, which is an ongoing process, is a challenge.” The nature of the mining and construction industry itself posed additional obstacles for Cognecto. The remote locations of mining areas, coupled with underdeveloped infrastructure, presented logistical challenges for the company's service engineers. Singh highlights this issue, saying, “Our service engineers who are on the ground go to the mining areas where there's no network, roads are not built, and somehow they have to reach there.” Overcoming these hurdles required meticulous planning and resourcefulness, ensuring the engineers’ safety while enabling them to install the devices amidst a potentially hazardous construction site. “This industry is very raw, so you have to be very careful; the foremost thing is safety.” Prioritising safety during installations and device setups is a constant challenge the company addresses with diligence. When it comes to the adoption of Cognecto's platform, the challenges were different in nature. “We didn't really have adoption challenges because the main problem we were trying to solve was excellence and recordkeeping,” explains Singh. “The industry's reliance on traditional paper-based recordkeeping systems presented an opportunity for the company to introduce a more efficient and streamlined approach.” While explaining the benefits and value of their solution to potential clients took time, it was not an insurmountable challenge for the team. The power of AI Cognecto has introduced a range of AI-enabled IoT devices that are transforming the way operators and businesses manage their assets. Singh shares insights into Cognecto's product offerings, stating, “We have a suite of devices, including load sensors, GPS sensors and tire-pressure monitoring sensors, which are complemented by our web application platform.” One of the key strengths of Cognecto's platform is the ability to convert asset-centric metrics into business-centric metrics. “We convert the data we collect from sensors into business data, such as production metrics, mining volume, vehicle performance, fuel pilferage and maintenance,” she elaborates. This transformation of raw data into actionable insights empowers businesses to make informed decisions, optimise productivity and improve operational efficiency. Cognecto's commitment to providing user-friendly solutions is evident in its approach to product development. Singh acknowledges the importance of simplicity, stating, “Our thought process was that we can't impose our technology on them. It should be a one-pager, simple and cater to their own requirements.” By listening to customers' needs and concerns, the firm ensures that its products align with the capabilities and preferences of the end-users. This user-centric approach has been instrumental in fostering adoption and driving customer satisfaction. The proprietary AI engine developed by Cognecto plays a pivotal role in its product offerings. Singh highlights its capabilities, stating, “Our AI engine converts sensor data into business analytics data, enabling the tracking of key performance indicators (KPIs) such as mining reclaims, vehicle trips, tire pressure management and load weighing.” These KPIs address critical pain points in the industry, such as tire lifespan and vehicle queue management, resulting in cost reductions and increased operational efficiency for their clients. Connectivity is a crucial aspect of Cognecto's products. “Our devices have GPS and GPRS connectivity through satellites,” explains Singh. “Data is captured and pushed to the Cloud when the device is in network coverage or even for a brief moment.” This ensures real-time data availability and seamless communication between the devices and the central platform. Additionally, Cognecto's devices feature dual SIM profiles, enabling them to switch networks automatically for uninterrupted connectivity, even in remote mining areas. Operations and maintenance Cognecto distinguishes itself by prioritising exceptional service and ongoing support for its IoT devices. “At Cognecto, we believe true value lies in our dedication to service,” asserts Singh. “We don't just stop at device deployment; we go above and beyond by monitoring performance, transforming asset-centric data into actionable insights, and consistently adding value to our clients’ operations. Highlighting the significance of reliable operations and maintenance, especially in challenging environments, she explains, “During the installation process, we take great care to protect the devices, ensuring they are well-packaged and shielded against rough roads and harsh weather conditions.” To ensure seamless device performance and address potential issues, Cognecto relies on an alert mechanism and comprehensive dashboard. Singh describes its proactive approach, saying, “We continuously receive data from the devices and if any disruptions or reporting discrepancies occur, our alert system immediately notifies us. We promptly investigate and dispatch our onsite service engineers to resolve any problems. When intervention is necessary, our service engineers visit the site, identify issues and restore optimal functionality.” What's next As Cognecto looks ahead, Singh elaborates on its expansion strategy, saying, “While we plan to explore the logistics market in the future, our core markets will continue to be mining, construction and planning. We strive to provide tailored solutions and drive innovation within these industries.” With an established presence in various regions, including Madagascar, Greece, Mozambique and multiple states in India, the company plans to broaden its geographical reach. “We aim to expand our operations across Europe and the UAE market,” she shares. “Additionally, we intend to penetrate the eastern regions of India. Given our successful projects with the Central Government, we see potential in tapping into the defence sector. Addressing concerns about the construction and mining sectors’ limited technology adoption, Singh acknowledges the industry's traditional practices. However, she points to the positive trend of technology integration, particularly in government-led initiatives. “The efforts taken by the Government have led to increased technology adoption in sectors like construction, mining and even smart cities,” she concludes with optimism. “We believe Cognecto's solutions can greatly benefit those looking to streamline their projects, manage vehicles and expand their businesses.

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