Gino Cecchettin of 4neXt tells us about offering simple, easy to install, and easy to program devices for data collection.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Gino Cecchettin: We are fine; none of our family and colleagues has been severely affected by Covid.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded 4neXt.
Gino Cecchettin: I have always been fascinated by technology, and computers have captured my attention since I was a kid. I attended university while working as a software developer. I have been lucky to work abroad in countries such as the UK, the US, Spain and France. All experiences gave me a lot from a cultural and educational point of view.
At the beginning of 2000, I have founded my first company in the electronic field, and, since then, I started to deepen aspects related to sales and marketing. These activities have led me to significant experiences with companies such as Viessman, Bosh, Deutsche Telekom and many other major companies in Europe.
I understood the importance of data collection since 2005, when we developed a real-time sound and noise monitoring system based on WEB technologies. I founded 4neXt in 2018, precisely with the aim of offering simple, easy to install and easy to program devices for data collection in any type of application in the energy, industrial and environmental monitoring field.
How does 4neXt innovate?
Gino Cecchettin: 4neXt mission is to continue conceiving, designing and developing cutting-edge solutions in numerous sectors. Innovation for us means investing in research and development by creating new products that are up-to-date with most modern technologies, easy to use and that offer a real advantage to our customers. Innovation for us also means training. We are constantly engaged in learning and improvement activities from a technical, managerial and personal perspective.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Gino Cecchettin: In a very light way, luckily. We are a small company, so the impact was purely logistical. Our employees performed their duties at home using tools that were on our agenda anyway. Fortunately, our sector has suffered the crisis caused by Covid much less than others, and this has always allowed us to work.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Gino Cecchettin: Fortunately, despite Covid, 2020 has been a very positive year, and 4neXt recorded an increase in revenues. This happened thanks to the investments made in the first years of activity in the development of IoT platforms for data collection and remote control. We have certainly learned several lessons due to what has happened in the past months. One above all? The labour market is even more digitalized, and we can no longer exempt ourselves from making investments in the digital field. The period of relative calm allowed us to strengthen the company ERP system and to invest also in the online presence.
What specific tools, software and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Gino Cecchettin: To be honest, there is no stress at work, just a small desire to resume the relaxing activities that use to been done before Covid. For example, the classic Sunday trip or dinner with friends. However, we try to take a break in which we can also discuss issues not strictly related to work, maybe drinking a coffee even if it is takeaway. It is definitely a constructive way to strengthen ties in the team, and it will be useful in the future.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Gino Cecchettin: We have existed for only two years, and we operate in a consolidated market. Our competitors are historical Italian and international companies which have been established for decades. The competition is intense, but our technical skills, combined with the ability to find appropriate solutions for customers, allow us to find our space in the IoT automation and data collection market. Very often, customers need a partner who, in addition to the product, can also provide them with solutions that guarantee a competitive advantage. On this point, our experience is certainly helpful.
Your final thoughts?
Gino Cecchettin: We are confident that within a few months, we will return to normal thanks to the vaccine and the summer. We wish a speedy recovery to all sick people and a quick return to the life we were used to. We lack human contact with people, customers and suppliers, and although technical aids allow us to carry out our work, nothing gives more satisfaction than a handshake and having lunch together, perhaps to seal a new collaboration.
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