Conrad Connect Professional: Ten Key Questions and Answers at the 2019 IFA
The Internet of Things is in a state of constant flux. Which means we continually expand and improve Conrad Connect, our IT platform, to help you run your own digital business as smoothly and effectively as possible. Our latest upgrade is called Conrad Connect Professional and comes with features that allow companies to utilise the IoT in order to automate their business operations.
The new digital business solution was introduced to a tech-savvy global audience at this year’s IFA, drawing way more attention than expected, and getting plenty of useful comments and requests made by people from across a wide range of professional backgrounds. Needless to say that the business solution specialists manning our booth did listen attentively. Below their answers to the ten most frequently asked questions about Conrad Connect Professional at the IFA.
1. Who is Conrad Connect Professional aimed at?
Conrad Connect Professional is an IoT platform specially designed for businesses, regardless of their size. Looking for IoT-based sensors and applications to automate your business operations? Keen on providing IoT services to business partners but don’t want to develop GUIs, APIs and automation routines from scratch? Welcome to Conrad Connect Professional. As our set-ups are all pretty much plug and play, it only takes a couple of minutes to get your own automation projects off the ground.
2. Does Conrad Connect Professional also suit small and medium-sized businesses?
Absolutely. In fact, the platform’s features, functions and pricing policies have been specially designed with SMEs and self-employed professionals in mind. Means if you are a facility or office manager, a chemist, a GP, or an electrical contractor, or if you work in electrical engineering, run a test lab, hotel, restaurant or retail business, Conrad Connect Professional is definitely something worth looking at.
Goes without saying that large enterprises also benefit from using our platform instead of building up their own. And there’s no minimum number of users, square metres of office space or threshold annual revenue required to make the use of Conrad Connect Professional in your company economically viable. Starting out small and scaling up when necessary works perfectly well.
3. What features make the IoT platform attractive to businesses?
The feedback obtained at the 2019 IFA shows us that companies first and foremost want to automate everyday operations, including straightforward visualising of business information, or of data relating to the company premises.
“For instance, our platform helps facility managers keep an eye on building performance, reducing the overall energy consumption in the process,” says Dennis Schwibinger, one of Conrad Connect’s B2B specialist advisors. “For example, a set of room sensors together with the Conrad Connect dashboard enables monitoring of air quality. This also allows setting up automation routines that tell the heating system to shut down when the windows are open.”
Programmable smart buttons are a simple way to streamline processes. Pressing these buttons allows, for example, company purchase officers to place orders, cleaning staff to tell managers that hotel rooms are ready for check-in, or guiding warehouse forklift operators to the relevant stock-keeping units.
“Moreover, if you are a reseller or a MRO provider, Conrad Connect Professional makes implementing IoT solutions requested by your customers much easier,” explains Jane Stojcheski, a product manager at Conrad Connect. “You basically use your main account to run a number of subaccounts each of which is assigned to one of your customers.” At the moment, we are still operating the beta version for testing purposes, however, the plan is to make the multi-user feature available to everyone in a not too distant future.
4. What smart devices and services are available to businesses?
This list contains all available smart devices and services compatible with Conrad Connect Professional, comprising a total of 4.000 products from more than 90 different brands. Also on the list: providers that utilise IoT features to offer real-life services, such as automated order placement. And more products and services are being added as we speak. “A lot of the questions we got at the IFA were centred around the use of wireless mini sensors by Disruptive Technologies on Conrad Connect,” recalls Dennis Schwibinger. “I am happy to announce that our platform will be supporting DT sensors shortly.”
Learn more about Conrad Connect's Smart Ordering Service in the video.
5. What‘s the difference between Conrad Connect Professional and Conrad Connect?
Whilst Conrad Connect Professional is specifically aimed at businesses, Conrad Connect caters first and foremost for consumers. The multi-user feature allows businesses to grant both employees and customers access to the platform. Conrad Connect Professional also comes with a comprehensive Help & Support package.
6. What costs are involved?
Why not try out Conrad Connect Professional free of charge for 30 days? What’s more, if you do so, you don‘t need to provide any payment details. If you like what you see, open a starter account at €20 per month. This account comes with all the features you require for everyday operations. If you need more options, visit our Service Marketplace to buy upgrades or subscribe to extra services. Because we at Conrad Connect Professional adhere to a strict only-pay-for-what-you-need policy.
7. Can I get support when starting out using the IoT?
Our platform has been designed in a way that starting out doesn’t require any prior knowledge. Our ready-to-use project templates shared by members of our community enable you to crack on right away. However, if you would like to learn more about how your company can benefit from nowadays digital business opportunities first, our network of B2B specialists is always glad to help.
8. I’m a supplier. How can I embed hardware and/or software?
“Lots of manufacturers have expressed interest in partnering up with Conrad Connect,” says Peter Kiss, Head of Business Development at Conrad Connect. “At the moment, it’s still us who need to check and establish interface compatibility manually. However, it won’t be long until we’ll allow suppliers to configure their hardware themselves via an open API, to ready their products for use on our platform.” The API is scheduled to be released by the end of the year.
„Das Interesse von Herstellern, ein Teil des Netzwerks von Conrad Connect zu werden, ist enorm. Derzeit prüfen und stellen wir die Kompatibilität zwischen den Schnittstellen individuell her. In Kürze ermöglichen wir interessierten Hardware-Herstellern, Ihre Geräte über eine offene Schnittstelle eigenständig an die Anforderungen von Conrad Connect anzupassen“, betont Peter Kiss, Head of Business Development bei Conrad Connect. Die Open API wird noch dieses Jahr erscheinen. Kontaktieren Sie uns gern, wenn Sie mehr über Partnerschaften erfahren möchten.
If you want to offer a smart service, use the Developer Portal to make it available on our Service Marketplace, allowing Conrad Connect users to subscribe to your service right away. Our Marketplace services constitute an added value for our platform since they enable sensors of smart devices as well as features of both our platform and external APIs being linked to real-life services.
9. Is there a Platform as a Service (PaaS) option?
If you run a business, want to offer IoT services but don’t want to build the necessary IoT architecture yourself, Conrad Connect makes for an excellent choice. And our soon-to-be-released multi-user feature is where it is at: you open a main account that allows you to use the platform like everyone else. However, this account lets you set up subaccounts assigned to individual customers that allow you to manage customer projects.
“Moreover, you can use your corporate design on our platform if you like, which contributes to a consistent brand experience for your customers,“ explains Dennis Schwibinger. And if you need more custom features, we are also PaaS providers. Means we are happy to fine-tune our platform entirely to your and your customers‘ needs.
10. How do I stay in the loop?
“At the IFA, we’ve been blown away by the interest shown in what’s new at Conrad Connect, ” says Giorgi Jashiashvili who leads the company’s Digital Marketing team. “If you want to find out more about the latest tech and services with Conrad Connect compatibility, or see whether your favourite brand works on our platform, check out the brand compatibility list, and the list of supported products. Both are kept up-to-date. Moreover, our blog explains all the new features and functions, also showcasing select IoT projects for those who are looking for a bit of inspiration.”