Secure connectivity enables international growth for Volter Oy
Volter Oy is a Finnish company that manufactures electricity and heat production plants. The company’s small CHP (combined heat and power) plants run on wood chips, a clean renewable energy source. The company has customers in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia. Volter has delivered more than 100 plants to this day. Improving remote connections is an important part of the company’s international growth story.
Challenge: Remote monitoring
Volter Oy manufactures movable, wood chips powered electricity and heat production plants. The idea of a mobile power plant was born out of the need to produce energy in areas outside the power grid. Today the purpose of the plants varies from own energy production to electricity sales, and the company’s customers include agricultural companies, production plants and schools on four continents.
When the company started, the control and maintenance of power plants was laborious. Every plant sold required a separate monitoring computer from which Volter’s maintenance staff checked the status of the plant remotely. As the operations expanded globally, remote monitoring of power plants became laborious. In order to ensure data security, each customer had to be customized their own VPN connection, the use of which required sufficient IT skills from the customer. A customized VPN connection also required its own IP address – the internet interface used by the customer at their premises as such was not enough.
This complexity was reflected in the customer experience. Power plants are managed by both private consumers and IT personnel in huge industrial properties. There is also great variation in the IT skills of the customers, who found establishing remote access difficult. To improve customer experience, Volter was looking for an easier option for a customized VPN connection.
Solution: Easy, secure and reliable TOSIBOX® technology
Volter compared a few standardized VPN solutions, and Tosibox’s products rose above the others in their simplicity. Volter switched to the TOSIBOX® solution thanks to its reliability and ease of use. Volter now uses a TOSIBOX® connection in each facility to maintain devices including updates, adjustments, and maintenance.
TOSIBOX® Lock is a remote access endpoint designed for industrial and office environments that allows the encrypted transfer of huge amounts of data. To function, the device requires a TOSIBOX® Key as its counterpart. When both devices are in operation, the Lock will establish a VPN connection to specified access points – in the case of Volter, to the customer’s own computer and to Volter’s service computer. After configuring the connection, both parties can monitor the operation of the power plant in real time. Customized VPN connections could also be forgotten. The system significantly simplified the introduction and maintenance of power plants.
The big leap in customer experience took place with the TOSIBOX® Mobile Client mobile application, which made it easy to establish remote access. Using an application on the phone requires hardly any IT skills from the customer. Most customers now use the TOSIBOX® Mobile Client to establish secure remote access to the plant’s user interface. With the Mobile Client, customers can track the plant’s performance in real time, for example, by phone or tablet, regardless of location. When technical support is needed, the parties can be anywhere in the world – no matter where the power plant is located. For the customers, this has been a huge relief.
”The ease of use is definitely Tosibox’s trump card for both us and the customer. Above all, we have been amazed at how smoothly things work in the collaboration. The VPN environment was time-consuming and unfamiliar to many. Ease of use, speed and security are features that surprise our customers time after time. The Mobile Client, in particular, has a definite wow factor as it allows the device to be used remotely with a phone or a tablet.”
Iikka Korva, Automation Engineer, Volter Oy
Benefits of using TOSIBOX® solution
- Ease of use and speed: a plant can now be set up anywhere in the world and can immediately be controlled remotely in a reliable and secure way.
- The remote control function allows plants to be serviced, monitored and run regardless of their location.
- The customer can monitor and run their plant remotely through the device-independent Mobile Client service. The user interface is the same as the one on the plant’s own monitoring panel.
- TOSIBOX® is scalable, and new devices are easy to add.