This is an interview with Tomas Gabinus, CEO Pilotfish, published in the Voith newsletter 5/10/2019
The mission of Pilotfish is to improve public transport to the point where it becomes everyone’s first choice. How can Voith contribute to realize this mission?
With our mission we want to achieve that people consider to use public transport – whenever possible – instead of their personal car. Therefore, we have to change our mindset in order to move into a more advanced way. This is where we see our opportunity to make a contribution to society with our solutions. By supporting our customers to be more efficient we make public transport more attractive. And public transport needs to be more attractive not only for operators but also for people to offer them a state-of-the-art way to move and travel.
Voith can contribute to our mission by helping us spread the word and the solution as well as our knowledge to Voith customers. The focus thereby lies first on already existing Voith customers. But by being part of the Voith communication network it is a huge chance for Pilotfish to also reach new customers jointly with Voith.
How would you formulate a shared vision of this partnership?
Pilotfish and Voith have a unique relationship that offers a full network for service and support throughout the world as well as specialized knowledge on integration with the vehicle. As Pilotfish has established its position as the leading company for an on-board platform for digitalization of buses based on a growing industry standard called ITxPT, there is huge potential also for Voith to provide this solution to customers. With its portfolio of carefully chosen applications, Pilotfish found a new way for public transport to deliver services through the cloud.
Furthermore, Pilotfish has shown evidence that the technology and business-model scale up and can be implemented in other countries such as United Kingdom, France and Germany as well. Being part of the Voith infrastructure enables us to rely on a whole worldwide sales, service and support network.
Where do you see synergies of the collaboration between Pilotfish and Voith?
When it comes to synergies you have to consider two different perspectives. One is Pilotfish: Here I see that there is a huge benefit when it comes to global reach regarding sales and support as well as knowledge about the customers.
The other perspective is Voith: There is the digitalization transformation not only in the public transport sector but also in the whole society. The benefit of adding connectivity to Voith solutions make them more efficient and enable new services as well as support possibilities. Some of the solutions are sold on a so called Life Cycle Cost contract (LCC contract) to keep quality and maintenance of sold products. By taking over this maintenance approach you have the responsibility to surveil the status of the products or systems in order to react quickly if something goes wrong with the product before it breaks or if you need to change a component. In the long term, this enables predictive maintenance by adding intelligence, digitalization and functionality to the Voith product portfolio. Additionally, the Pilotfish solution not only applies to the buses but also to the rail and marine applications where you can use the same platform and hardware. These are two main reasons why Voith invested in Pilotfish.
What are you personally most excited about in working with Voith?
I am most excited about working with the people and meeting the clients to provide solutions to their changing requirements. It is all about exchanging knowledge and developing high-quality and sustainable solutions together. Joining and matching the two cultures of Pilotfish and Voith is not only interesting but also value adding for both parties to expand the horizon and to get to know insights into different perspectives and ways of thinking.
Which actions are you taking right now together with Voith?
We are working on the definition of processes. The harmonization of the product roadmap as well as setting up the customer action plan are fundamental to be successful on the market. On the other hand, the organization of the training activities for sales and service colleagues are very important to be best prepared for upcoming projects.
A look into the future: Which projects or topics do you want to tackle together with Voith next?
We are planning to jointly develop an ecosystem of application suppliers in the industry. We are trying to build and spread the idea of an open platform which allows that everybody can join and can bring in ideas, experience and knowledge. We offer a vendor-neutral, modularized and evolutionary IT platform with open and standardized plug and play interfaces coupled with a set of carefully selected applications.
What would you like to emphasize personally as an outlook for the future?
We are moving from an IT world with closed systems and only a few big suppliers who are doing everything at the same time to a more specialized business model where a lot of smaller companies have the chance to assert themselves on the market. This is also what we want to achieve. Pilotfish is specialized in the connectivity of the vehicle. Our target is to work together with different partners who are experts in their field. This is what is meant by the developing an ecosystem of application suppliers and explains the essence of how we are trying to make a contribution in order to fulfill our mission.