Media and analysts had a chance to sit down with Ola Rollén, CEO of Hexagon, at lunch today at the Intergraph 2010 conference. Rollén was very forthcoming regarding the company strategy and vision for what a model that is integrated with sensors might look like.
When asked about interests in the agriculture market, Rollén shared that the company currently works in the machine control field with the automation of tractors for agriculture. Adding Intergraph’s GIS expertise, and the ERDAS imagery analysis capability, Rollén sees a vision for a constantly changing map that informs the tractor for optimum management of the crops. He said that today there is a disconnect between the sharing of these crop yield models with the farmer, but that eventually this will become much more automated.
Mining is another example where Rollén says Hexagon is pursuing this “GIS with activity” vision. The addition of positioning technology in mines (GPS), with machine control of ore carts, adds a great deal of safety to the movement of ore through mines, and increases efficiency by more than 30%. With the purchase of Intergraph, Hexagon now has the means to create and update a highly-detailed model, which is the critical piece for further automation and efficiency gains. The fact that most mining operations are in highly inhospitable climates today, feeds the need for greater automation.
Transportation was another example that was given where greater efficiencies could be gained by the marriage of machine control with highly detailed models. Rollén discussed a vision for the chaining of large trucks, driven by an electric engine, that would greatly increase the efficiency and emissions impact of truck traffic between distribution hubs. Again, the marriage of a highly-detailed model, with high precision and constantly-updated intelligence would yield greater efficiency and improved profits.
Hexagon’s “GIS with Activity” vision has been a long-term goal. Rollén said that the modeling software piece has been a target for some time. He even indicated that they had looked at Bentley, and thought Autodesk was too big for them, before moving forward on the Intergraph acquisition.
While it doesn’t sound like we’ll see a return to the platform competition of the 1990s in the GIS space, the kinds of solutions that are on the horizon for the Hexagon group of companies, will push the envelope for geospatial technology integration for the creation of intelligent models.