Robert Bosch Venture Capital , the corporate venture capital company of the Bosch group, has completed an investment in Poka Inc, a Canadian start-up based in Quebec. Poka is a web and mobile app that makes it easy for factory workers to create, standardize, share and access content critical for day-to-day manufacturing operations. This includes items such as training guides, procedures, equipment parameters and troubleshooting solutions. “The greatest potential in the long term is not only in hardware or device connectivity, but also in smart software – the essential enabler of internet of things applications and smart factories” says RBVC Managing Director Dr. Ingo Ramesohl. “Poka adds to the growing RBVC portfolio of technologies addressing the industrial and manufacturing verticals next to start-ups like FogHorn and Security Matters.“
Potential Impact on the Manufacturing Industry
Poka was born on the factory floor as an innovative answer to real-world problems related to training effectiveness and knowledge sharing between plants, shifts and when workers retire. “Bosch is a leader in creating world-class manufacturing operations around the globe,” says Luis Llovera, Managing Director of Bosch Ventures. “Together with Poka we can help companies realize measurable improvements in productivity, equipment downtime, communication, quality and safety.”
The Future Smart Factory
Unlike traditional training and content software designed for knowledge workers, Poka addresses the realities of the factory floor including a mobile workforce and the need for just-in-time, micro-learning. “As production lines become more automated, the need for highly skilled workers increases as well,” said CEO and co-founder Alex Leclerc, “Poka accelerates employee onboarding and mitigates knowledge loss when workers change roles.”
Poka solves challenges that are universal across all manufacturers but are particularly acute in the food & beverage, automotive, electronics and any manufacturing segment that has a high degree of automation and consequently a strong reliance on skilled workers.