With cost of living going up for many individuals, families and businesses across the globe, being able to secure the right price for needed or desired items is key. The same applies when it comes to remote monitoring devices and services for the industrial gases market, a trend which is being both recognized and actioned by Otodata.
The Montreal, Canada-based firm prides itself in cost-effective offerings that allow customers to monitor any of their owned industrial gas assets. It was in 2021 when Otodata identified increased affordability as a main driver for such assets, and now the price point of its innovations start at just $2.50 a month. When recently speaking to gasworld, Andre Boulay, President of Otodata, emphasized that the right price will continue to be a number one priority, especially as the cost of other business assets are set to spike.
“In 2022, I think we will see the increased cost of deliveries, higher gas prices, driver shortages etc., cause even more companies to use telemetry to lower their operating costs,” Boulay explained. “Early on at Otodata, we realized that telemetry would only be mass adopted on all assets if it was cost-effective.”
“Telemetry has to be so cost-effective that a customer can see the benefit, without even having to do any calculations. This philosophy has proven successful in the propane tank monitoring market, where we monitor over one million tanks - and I’m confident that it will prove true in the industrial gases market as well.”
"We’ve always felt the industrial gas market would be a logical place for us to expand and grow.”
Otodata, however, hasn’t always been active in the industrial gases market. It was in April last year (2021), when the company made its move into the sector, through its acquisition of Pittsburgh-based Wise Telemetry – and what a wise move it was. Otodata’s scale, combined with Wise Telemetry’s industrial gas experience, is now creating unprecedented advances for telemetry. With over one million monitors across the globe, the business combination can now offer monitoring for any industrial gas asset at a price that makes sense.
Propane was where it all started for Otodata, and the company believes the telemetry trends it witnessed within the market will soon be replicated in the industrial gases sector. Speaking on this organic growth, Boulay said, “The industrial gases market is where the propane market was three to four years ago regarding telemetry: early mass adoption. People are now deploying telemetry at a scale that far exceeds anything that was ever done in the past. This is primarily driven by our low-cost, high-adoption mentality.”
“The acquisition [of Wise Telemetry] has definitely opened up a large market for us and, as a result, has allowed us to grow and evolve. By using our combined knowledge and resources, we can develop better and more intuitive solutions for our customers.”
“Otodata had been aware of Wise Telemetry for a few years, we actually first learned about them through gasworld. We’ve always felt the industrial gas market would be a logical place for us to expand and grow. When I met Eric Wise [previous CEO of Wise Telemetry and now Vice-President of Industrial Solutions at Otodata], it was clear that we had similar visions on where we could take telemetry in this market.”
“Our business is now positioned particularly well to help industrial gas distributors who also deliver fuel gases like propane. Although we are still in the beginning stages, we already see that there are great customer relationships to be had and a much wider variety of applications for our monitors. Due to this merger, we now have a production facility and warehouse in Pittsburgh, where Wise Telemetry was founded, which will allow us to serve our US customers better.”
Already, within its short time within the industrial gases space, Otodata has started experiencing some market trends. Speaking to gasworld about trends, Otodata explained that for the first time, it is seeing customers put telemetry on entire fleets for carbon dioxide (CO2) tanks, manifolds and more.
“CO2 is a hot topic at the moment, so we’d like to continue to invest our efforts in the best solutions for those customers and monitor as many of those tanks as we can. Another trend is the use of monitoring for packaged gas assets like tube trailers and automatic manifolds,” Boulay explained.
“What kickstarted this trend is our experience with large-scale deployments and our understanding that mass adoption will only come through low-cost, reliable solutions. Otodata has always worked that way within the propane market and hopes to apply the same formula within the industrial gas market as well. It’s a strategy that has worked for us and customers alike.”
Growth is the magic word
As well as expanding both its customer base and presence within new markets, Otodata’s development will this year additionally be reflected in a brand-new facility, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Already, renovations are more than underway, and the company hopes to be in its new home within the next few months.
“The site will include administrative offices, a production facility and warehouse,” Boulay told gasworld. “We plan to keep at least 30,000 monitors in stock at this new location. It’s a great location because we have the option to expand the building and double our space as we grow. We’ve always outgrown our facilities within one to two years of moving into them, so this is a great option to have. Additionally, we’re looking forward to hiring locally and having the tools and resources to serve our US customers even better than we can now.” Partnership growth is another thing we can expect from Otodata this year. The company has a rich history in collaborations, and this is only set to grow as it continues to develop in the industrial gases market. In arguably one of its most talked about collaborations, Otodata in September (2021) announced a new partnership with Ratermann Manufacturing.
Through the collaboration, customers can both order Otodata innovations both directly from Otodata themselves, or through Ratermann. Speaking to gasworld about the deal, Otodata highlighted that it is beneficial for customers who are buying new assets and want them to arrive with telemetry pre-installed.
“Wise Telemetry always had a good relationship with Ratermann and, when we learned that they were looking to offer telemetry products, a partnership made perfect sense,” Boulay explained. “The partnership has many purposes, but in general it is about reaching as many fast distributors as possible with telemetry technology that will help their business. By partnering with Ratermann, customers now have an additional channel to purchase our products and even have them pre-installed on new tanks.”
Speaking on future partnerships and whether Otodata believes partnerships will be key for its business plan moving forward, Boulay continued, “I believe collaboration will always be a key part of our plans for years to come. We’ve learned that collaborations with our partners breed innovation and allow us to target the specific needs of our customers. Stay tuned, interesting collaborations will be introduced!”
Of course, whilst in-house growth and collaboration growth are both beyond exciting for Otodata, the company is still being hit by some of the current shortages that are being felt by companies throughout the market, particularly semiconductor chip shortages and supply issues. That being said, the firm is still doing its upmost best to maintain its production and roll-out efforts.
On the semiconductor chip shortage, Boulay said, “Otodata has been affected by the shortages and finding the right chips at the right price has been challenging to say the least. That being said, we have managed to source them without jeopardizing our quality, service level or affecting customer pricing.”
“Due to world-wide supply chain issues, we have experienced delays with a few of our materials, but with some strategic planning, we managed to push through and get our products produced.”
Source: gasworld.com, Molly Burgess, May 2022