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Hublet – The Tablet Management Revolution
Hublet is a Finnish solution for managing and sharing tablet computers. Hublet is already being piloted in the Helsinki main library, Holiday Inn, and schools in the Helsinki capital region.
The Hublet story came into being when a group of enthusiastic people sat down to mull over the constantly increasing use of tablets in a more reasonable way. The price of the devices decreases but their use is highly personal. However, there are plenty of places where the use of tablets could be shared and public.
Why do for example schools buy or rent personal tablets for everyone when the maintenance is laborious and expensive? Why wouldn’t the information needed by doctors in hospitals be kept in mobile tablet devices that are managed from one place? How could a hotel for example offer tablets for the use of their customers in an easy and controlled manner?
For these and countless other needs, the answer is stylish, secure, user friendly and easy-to-manage Hublet. The idea of Hublet is to completely change the way tablets can be used in organizations, or shared and lent to customers and employees of the company. The service is so easy to manage that it can be done by any of the users in the organization without needing an IT function.
The use of separate tablets in organizations is difficult and expensive because the management has required maintenance operations on each tablet separately. In addition, following the lent tablets and deleting the user’s personal information afterwards has been time-consuming, if not impossible. The Hublet has made this automatic securing the users data privacy.
The service allows the creation of different content profiles for the tablets so that the same device can be used for completely different purposes on different occasions, for example at school the contents for language studies and mathematics.
The business of Hublet
The business of Hublet is modern and agile consisting of product and service development and sales, manufacture of the devices needed, operating the cloud service offered, the user support offered for clients, and additional services such as training, integration and development projects.
The company has activities in both Helsinki and Oulu. In collaboration with a carefully chosen network of subcontractors, Hublet has strongly invested in both product development and service design to ensure the usability of its products. Since the very beginning the solution has been developed with a focus on the importance of service, yet making sure that also the devices are stylish, practical and suitable for public use.
Our potential clients come from both public and private sectors; schools, libraries, organizations and companies who have the need to share tablets with their employees or partners, or even serve their customers using tablets in their own premises.
Hublet is growing its organization in a controlled manner and strongly leans on a carefully selected partner network. Partners are used for software and hardware development, assembly of devices, sales, logistics, and installation and maintenance of products. The overall management of business activities, control and supervision of development projects and conducting sales and marketing functions always lie with Hublet.
Hublet next steps
In the following year Hublet will therefore invest in partner, product and service management. The organization will be strengthened to further advance the product planning and service, and especially to build a sales organization. Furthermore, the sales will be scaled using the partner network under construction.
In the beginning, Hublet aims for a clear market leadership in the Nordic Countries and United Kingdom as the tablet service provider for both public spaces (libraries, museums, hospitals) and the school sector. The goal is supported by Finland’s reputation for excellent results in education and library sector, industrial design, game industry, mobile know-how and open source code systems. The Hublet charging dock designed by industrial design professionals and the attached tablet devices can withstand even the most critical examination and guarantee their usability.
In the future, establishing our position in the Finnish school sector will take Hublet to a whole new level content-wise. This will be based on the same ideology as e.g. Linux or MySQL, in other words open sharing worldwide. This alone will guarantee whole new ways of doing business within the domestic educational system and the field of education technology export.
Vår affärs- och marknadssituation
The Hublet concept has been in development for over two years. The company has piloted the system and the service since the spring of 2015 in two schools in the Helsinki metropolitan area, two libraries of the City of Helsinki, The Finnish Science Centre Heureka and Holiday Inn Hotel among others. The feedback received has been very positive. Naturally, the pilot stage also revealed some needs for change that have been taken into account for the commercialization stage at hand. The actual deliveries and service agreements with our first clients will start in the second quarter of 2016.
The company has been financed by 700 000 euros by the current shareholders. These funds have been used for product development, marketing and creation of subcontractor networks. In addition to the shareholders, the company is financed by Tekes, The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) and Finnvera. The company has also made other agreements for additional funding alternatives for working capital regarding the financing of client agreements.
The company’s revenue goal for 2016 is about 400 000 €. The actual sales wiil begin in the first half of next year. The result is believed to be positive in 2016 already, and the strong growth is expected to continue in the following years.
The pricing of the service is clear and the profit obtained is well predictable. The revenue is believed to grow very rapidly as soon as the sales and production organization is on place. The strategy of the company is to first concentrate on a few key areas and later expand to new areas by customer groups and geographically.
The revenue generation model of the company is based on a monthly service charge which includes devices, cloud service and support services needed. The clients don’t need to invest in devices themselves, but the service is registered into rental costs. The rental model makes the clients’ decision-making considerably easier. The client agreements are made for periods of 12-36 months.
The physical devices are manufactured either in China and/or in Finland by selected subcontractors. Especially as the amount increases, the production costs are inexpensive compared to purchasing separate devices. This increases the profitability of Hublet significantly. At least for the time being, the tablets come from a factory in China, and the charging and central unit is assembled in Finland. The whole set is delivered to the client from Finland. The company’s own personnel together with a Chinese partner overseer the deliveries and their level of quality.
The company management sells the packaged services to selected customer groups. At the moment, 2-3 new sales consultants are being hired.
The market for the Hublet service is big and still growing. It consists of public service providers and private companies, in other words those who have a need for tablet devices but no interest in maintaining an expensive IT support function for their maintenance and update. We have explained some of the public sectors and their needs for the service in more detail below:
Public service providers:
Libraries are facing a turning point. The role of libraries as providers of information and entertainment accessible for all requires big changes in their services. The library materials are increasingly electronic and traditional printed materials and physical recordings disappear. At the same time, the libraries cannot assume that every one of their customers would have a device of their own. For a comprehensive access to their services, libraries must be able to offer these devices for the use of their customers cost-efficiently and with minimal resources, so that the modern material of libraries is accessible for everyone. The Ministry of Finance states that “during the government term 2015–2019, the aim is to develop user-based, one-stop-shop digital public services that improve productivity and efficiency.” Hublet offers the libraries a cost-efficient and easy way to fulfill the above-mentioned expectations of providing digital services for every citizen.
Hublet’s first commercial agreement has been signed recently with the Libraries of the City of Helsinki. The deliveries will begin in the first half of 2016 consisting of 12 Hublet charging docks and 72 tablets.
According to the Finnish Museums Association, its members compete for visitors due to diminishing public funding. Improving the customer experience with complementary digital material is one way to attract customers to the exhibitions. Since the complementary material is often extensive and multifaceted, it is unreasonable to expect the customers to download the possible museum applications to their own mobile devices. To ensure a comprehensive customer experience, museums should offer their customers ready-to-go mobile devices to access the complementary exhibition materials.
The Hublet service offers museums a practical way to share electronic exhibition materials to their customers. The material is already in the tablets and always up to date. Furthermore, thanks to the features of the Hublet service, the museum staff doesn’t need to watch the tablets nor manage the lending at the counter. Producing a simple PIN code for the customer is enough and they can get the tablets themselves directly from the charging dock after buying the ticket. Through Hublet’s partners the museums can create materials based on indoor positioning so that the materials will be shown automatically in the right place at the right time. In addition to the traditional audio material, the content can include texts, pictures, animations or videos.
School sector is facing a crucial period, much like libraries. Schools are forced to think of reasonable ways to keep the digital native youngsters interested and focused. At the same time schools have to provide education for the demands of the constantly digitizing world. As the municipalities don’t usually have the ability to finance each pupil a tablet of their own, schools need to think of creative ways to offer cost-efficient digital education.
The Hublet service offers the opportunity to share the same tablets with various pupils. Tablets can be taken into use during the lesson and returned to the dock when it ends. In the next lesson the new pupils get to use fully charged tablets cleared of previous user’s information. Furthermore, the tablets can be profiled in a way that allows different content to be accessed in different situations by pupils and teachers. In addition, the easy configuration and management allows teachers to manage the whole service and content of tablets themselves. The need to have small mundane tasks done by the IT department or external partners disappears, and teachers can spend their time for the most important thing - actual teaching.
During the spirng of 2015 needs and ideas were collected from potential customer segments. Hublet was present in the most important fares in the educational sector in Finland (EDUCA) and in Sweden (SETT). The customer feedback confirmed our view on the necessity of the concept as well as its functionality and uniqueness. The Hublet solution has a demand and a need in the educational sector.
Hublet is being piloted in Espoo, in Juvanpuisto elementary school, and in Helsinki, in Hiidenkivi elementary school. Information and data about the functionality of the service in schools as well as its development needs for the education sector have been collected from these schools. In the next stage we will approach private schools, because they are not obligated to tender their acquisitions.
Additionally, we see a considerable potential in kindergartens, where Hublet can be used to practice visuality (pictures, characters), languages and the basics of mathematics. The interest toward the service has already been remarkable.
Other public use:
In the hotel business many of the customers already have an electronic device of some kind. Yet, the customers’ devices don’t usually include the necessary hotel services. By offering their customers the use of tablets, hotels can target messages to customers and make add-on sales by offering additional services such as restaurants, laundry and room service. What is more, with adequate content many of the traditional and expensive hotel systems, such as in-room entertainment, can be provided cost-efficiently using tablets.
In addition to customer use, hotels can utilize tablets for many internal operations such as cleaning and maintenance services or even as work stations at the reception.
Social welfare and health care expenses in Europe are about blow up as the population ages and health care costs increase. Municipalities have the pressure to transfer patient away from the expensive hospital care to preventive and after-care, which are carried out partly at the patient’s home. One way to do this is implementing digital services for monitoring, activating and rehabilitating patients. Hublet offers a solution to access these digital health care services in health care centers and hospitals.
The health care sector has an enormous potential for the use of tablet devices both in the public and the private sectors.
With the Hublet service patients, nurses and doctors alike can use the different services from the same device using different user profiles. This increments the utilization rate and cost-efficiency of the tablets. The Hublet service can be used to serve both patients, for example for entertainment, and the hospital staff in tasks related to their profession.
Health care centers
Healths care centers have the need to increase their performance and steer patients more and more toward self-service. This kind of activities free up the personnel of health care centers for the actual care work and other health services that require physical presence. Entering the patient information into the health care system can be done by customers themselves with a user-friendly application on a tablet. Care instructions and other content related to health care is all available on the same device. The mobility of the device allows for more possibilities of use also for the personnel.
Even though there are competing products in the market for each component of the Hublet service, none of the providers has produced a corresponding set of services as a whole. Competitors for the charging dock could include locked drawers designed for tablets, and different tablet stations, which allow the borrowing of tablets wrapped in extra casing. However, in these services the problems related to privacy have usually been resolved poorly.
Management systems (Mobile Device Management, MDM) mainly derived from the traditional IT sector do exist but often their main focus is in the management of users’ private devices. The explicit competitive advantage of Hublet is its cloud service, which allows for personal content management using shared tablet devices. None of the MDM products on the market include the same possibility to jointly share content to tablets, perform the post-use cleanup of personal information nor create different content profiles for different occasions that can be taken into use instantly after borrowing the device.
The users’ own personal laptops, tablets and smart phones alongside devices offered by organizations to their staff can be seen to compete with the whole service and customer experience offered by Hublet. In these cases the maintenance of the devices, such as software updates and device logistics, must be carried out in one way or another.
Out team consists of experiences entrepreneurs, financing professionals, coders and salespersonnel. Our core team members are listed below.
Managing DirectorSaila has worked in demanding international tasks for over 20 years. Saila has experience from different-sized organizations from startups to Nokia. She has work experience from the fields of sales, business management, mobile, IT and service digitalization. https://fi.linkedin.com/in/sailalaitinen
Products and DesignKai-Jussi has a long experience in development and management tasks in different stages of products and services. He has worked in different kinds of software, product and service development jobs from startups to large companies. In addition, Kai-Jussi has worked in the development of service business for various large companies. https://fi.linkedin.com/in/kaissi
SalesHarri has 20 years of experience in international B2B service business, and has a background in Nokia, Nokia-Siemens and Elisa-Videra. Harri has a strong knowhow of service and product portfolio management, solution development and project management. https://fi.linkedin.com/in/harri-koskimäki-44166760
Software and Software Architecture DevelopmentDuring the last 15 years Juha has worked as a software developer, IT architect, technical product manager and director of technology in different-sized companies. Juha has years of experience in developing, operating and maintenance of services with large amount of users and a strong background in software development including different background system platforms as well as web and mobile device technologies. http:// https://fi.linkedin.com/in/jmtranta
Chairman of the BoardAriel Nemes has a long experience from corporate and corporate finance field. Ariel started his career within the banking and finance sector having worked both in Finland and Internationally. Ariel has been an entrepreneur for more than 20 years, working as an Md in his private company, Proxum Oy. Ariel is an active Board member in a number of companies having always also an equity stake in those companies. Ariel has been involved in a number of M&A transactions as well as in various companies business development.
Member of the BoardTuomas Hirvonen is the managing director of RSM Finland Finance Oy. Tuomas has long-term experience in industry, analysis of listed companies, capital investment, corporate acquisitions, entrepreneurship and business consulting. Tuomas has worked in different tasks related to investment banking during the last 15 years.
Member of the BoardJonne is the Financial and Administrative Director of Kakkonen-Yhtiöt Corporation. In addition to the board of directors of Hublet, Jonne forms part of various other boards of directors, including those of Striim.in, Neurosonic Finland and K2 Turvapalvelut Oy.
ShareholderKyösti Kakkonen is the founder of Tokmanni corporation and worked as the CEO of the corporation for 20 years until 2009. Nowadays Kakkonen works as the managing director in many of the companies owned by him, including Joensuun Kauppa ja Kone Oy, K2 Invest Oy and Kakkonen-Yhtiöt Oy, many positions of responsibility in different organs, and by his companies, is a shareholder in about 35 companies with a 10-100% share.
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We have actively worked to minimize and eliminate the risks observed. The risks are related to choice of strategic partners, manufacturing the physical product, loss of important knowhow and the functionality of the product during the alleged rental period among other things.
We have constructed the organization with patience, choosing people who bring us the knowhow and the experience we need. We have used competent partners from different fields to strengthen our knowhow in selected areas. We have built our network of subcontractors carefully and changed suppliers when deficiencies were detected.
In order to minimize the risk associated to the manufacture and choice of partners, we executed a meticulous analysis of suppliers and audited the ones in the final stage to ensure both financial stability and quality of activities. Furthermore, the quality during the production is monitored constantly with the help of local partners and any quality deviations are dealt with quickly on the spot.
To ensure the functionality of the product we have tested the product since the earliest stage possible, so that the possible corrections in the product can be performed cost-efficiently.
We have also started the sales efforts at a very early stage to find out the commercial functionality of the concept. Contacting the potential clients has given us additional information that we have been able to use in the product development well before launching the first version for production.
The staff size and experience risks have been minimized by signing a comprehensive shareholder contract. None of the information is only known to a single key person in the event that some of the key persons would not be available for the position in the future.