Zagreb Company’s Devices Provide Savings and ”Smarten Up” Business

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes on the 11th of October, 2019, in fifteen years, one Zagreb-based company has grown from a small team in an apartment building into a respectable team of experts dedicated to developing and innovating their own Internet of Things (IoT) technology products. They create solutions that are used in automatic energy consumption reading systems.

The Zagreb-based company Holosys boasts more than twenty products used in automatic water and energy readout systems, water and gas infrastructure monitoring and energy efficiency monitoring systems, which are marketed in various infrastructure facilities both here in Croatia and abroad.

The company from Zagreb was started in 2004 by Bojan Grbec, Ivan Lukačević, Zoran Zoričić and Tomislav Lekić, engineers with valuable experience in large systems, which, as director Tomislav Lekić explains, was a great and key combination to launch their own project, celebrating a successful fifteen years of doing business this year.

So far, they have sold their products in more than fifty countries across four continents, and more than 500,000 metres of water and gas consumption worldwide are connected through some of this Zagreb company’s systems.

In recent years, they have seen strong revenue growth – in 2014 they had four million kuna in revenue, and last year they reached nine million kuna. They expect to finish 30-40 percent growth this year when compared to 2018. “This is largely the result of our orientation towards foreign markets, where we can see great potential in the future,” Lekić said.

But, let’s go back to where it all began… The company’s creators had, according to the director, valuable experience in manufacturing and development in companies such as RIZ transmitters and Siemens, but they were faced with a new, completely different challenge.

“During the moments of first starting a company, you can manage processes more directly and efficiently, which is both a challenge and a risk. At the very beginning, we worked in a leased space of 36 m2 in an apartment building in Dugave, and today we’re located in a leased 800 m2 in the Jankomir business zone, and there are currently 28 of us,” Lekić recounts as he looks back to his company’s beginnings.

In the early years, with the development of some of our own products, much of the revenue came from product development jobs for others. In 2012, they made the strategic decision to invest all of their development into their own products and make a living from them. Even then, they focused on the Internet of Things (IoT), smart energy and water.

“Looking back, I’m proud that we’ve accomplished many of our goals, some within the deadline, some a little slower.

For example, five years ago we said that within five years we’d develop and produce more than twenty of our own products, and we were able to do that. We intended to increase the number of customers and our sales activities, especially abroad, and we managed to continue in the same direction, which is all the fruit of organic and gradual growth.

The key to successful business in our case was to focus on our own development and manufacturing, identifying trends, and giving up on time in some industries, and instead focusing on IoT and AMR (Automatic Meter Reading).

Often, you have a number of ideas that do look great, but it’s important to choose one or two and focus and then come up with the best product possible At one point, we also worked on traffic reporting systems, where we developed great products and got valuable references, but we still decided to focus on another area,” Lekić explains.

Zagreb’s Holosys also offers a complete communication and surveillance IoT solution – from delivering quality and durable sensors to energy and water meters, to delivering a set of devices and antennas to amplify and receive signals, to processing data in software and turning it into meaningful and easy to understand information through business decisions.

“Our products and solutions, whether they be a power readout module, data collection hubs, antenna systems or data processing and analysis software, were created within Holosys.

They’re based on their own knowledge and bring numerous benefits to utilities and end-users through cost-effective system maintenance, accurate and timely information on energy and water consumption, and infrastructure damage, preventing major breakdowns and losses such as pipe crashes, ” Lekić explains.

The Zagreb-based company offers solutions on technologies that are widely accepted across the world, from the currently most widely accepted wired and wireless M-Bus technology to the ”hot” and new NB-IoT communications technology that is still very much in its infancy.

“In Croatia, our appliances can be found in all areas, both in plumbing and gas installations, as well as in many public facilities. We market a good portion directly abroad, and our clients are water and gas distributors, construction companies and faithful partners who supply our products and they are installed in Croatia and abroad, primarily in the EU,” Lekić points out. The company, he adds, nurtures a team spirit and strives for a work culture and careful staffing to select the right people for the team.

“We stand out for our innovation and this is what our employees need to be able to fully identify with. We explore new opportunities every day, whether in code programming, creating technical solutions for devices, or spotting new opportunities in the business development market. Our employees, across all departments, must be prepared to review existing solutions and create new ones daily, and above all to be motivated by the results of the research. Regardless, we’re trying and succeeding in being competitive in wages and other benefits, and so far there’s been no need to import labour. We have enough quality candidates from the Croatian labour market,” the company’s director claims.

Through these fifteen years of work, there are many projects that they are proud of.

“Some of our devices are in Tahiti, our water consumption reading modules are near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, they’re all over Europe, Africa… We’ve provided services for major infrastructure projects around the world, and our products have been installed in numerous communal areas. When I look at the whole thing, what matters is the proven quality of our products and the positive perception from our customers. They see the concrete benefits – from reading the usage of energy and water in real time, lowering the costs of business, stopping financial losses, being able to properly look into failures…

For example, using our technology can reduce unnecessary energy losses by up to 70 percent. Therefore, we can say that the devices are ecological in function and we believe that this is how we contribute, in a small way, to the preservation of our planet.

This realisation also brings satisfaction through a sense of purpose to the work. We’re most proud of the team that we’ve been able to gather together over the years, both within Holosys and among our partners, and their long-standing trust that we have maintained,” the director points out.

He also referred to the smart energy industry, which is in a phase of dynamic development due to the increasing need for energy efficiency, and solutions for remote sensing of energy, gas and water consumption are, he says, one of the most important links in this process, due to precision of measurement, simplicity of usage and of course – savings.

“We plan to launch new products in the near future in line with 5G telecom development and in this segment we expect stronger market development. Accordingly, we’re positioning ourselves as an innovator and leader in the application of new IoT technologies, such as NB-IoT, which should simplify the reading system. Our solutions are not only easier, faster and more accurate to obtain data, but also to change the way we do business and engage in business processes,” explains Lekić.

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