The technological landscape is always changing. Whether it’s the newest phone, a car that drives itself or a skid-steer loader that can be controlled via smartphone. At Bobcat Company, we strive to stay ahead of each new trend and pave the way for technological advances to benefit our customers. Hear a little more from our vice president of global innovation, Joel Honeyman, about our innovation strategy and Next Is Now. His team spends every day researching, developing and overseeing the latest and greatest technological advances in our compact equipment – ensuring we’re empowering you to work smarter, not harder.
Q: What does Next Is Now mean to you?
A: Next Is Now applies to innovation because things we had as theories and concepts 18 months ago, 12 months ago, have now come to fruition. We’ve gone to marketplace this fall with a couple of them, so Next is in fact Now for a number of these items and we’re really excited about that.
Until you operate a 10,000-lb. Bobcat loader with your smartphone, you don’t really understand or comprehend what that is. Customers tell us there is a lot of “WOW, I can’t believe I’m doing this, I can’t believe that this works this easily, I can’t believe this technology that’s coming out.” It goes back to what we’ve said: You’ve got to make things believable for people.
The technology is going to continue to evolve, and we are going to continue to stay on top of it. We’re going to be as nimble as we can be, to be able to go in different areas. Some things are going to work, and some things aren’t – and that’s OK. That’s why it’s called innovation. Unless you try and fail, you’re never going to push the envelope far enough, and that’s why it’s so important for us to do that.
Q: What new innovations is Bobcat working on?
A: We had a variety of innovations that we shared recently, and the first was Features OnDemand that’s coming with our new R-Series loaders. The loaders will come equipped with select optional features that Bobcat offers, and dealers will then enable those features that the buyer wants using an app. Customers only pay for the features they use – but in the future, if a need arises, they can turn on other available features. We are also working on upcoming opportunities to enable different horsepower settings on the machine using Features OnDemand. In addition, we also just released Bobcat MaxControl Remote Operation, which provides convenient, remote operation for loaders equipped with selectable joystick controls via an innovative and simple app platform for iPhones and iPads. We’ve been taking orders from dealers since September to be able to ship remote operation kits out to customers late last year.
Bobcat MaxControl Remote Operation is available right now, and Features OnDemand is available with the introduction of R-Series loaders. We also have another innovation coming in 2020: Bobcat MaxControl Object Avoidance. Object Avoidance gives operators the ability to mark points and obstacles with a simple app they want to avoid on the jobsite and send those to the machine. In operation the machine can’t or won’t hit them. We had a machine at a recent Denver event with a virtual wall, and we told attendees to get in the machine to see if they could drive through it – they all tried, but none of them could go through. This is another example of how we are empowering customers with simple, but powerful technologies to help them work smarter on the jobsite.
Q: How would you describe the renewed spirit of Bobcat Company?
A: If you rewound the clock to 12, 18 or 24 months ago, we were talking about innovations and knew we had projects on the horizon. But I think it’s in the last four or five months – and even in the last number of weeks, with all the new products we’re launching, including R-Series loaders and new excavators and some of the new technologies – that people have become really energized. Employees are enthusiastic, and we’re getting great support from them for future innovation projects.
During the next three to four months, just thinking about all the new product launches and all the new things that are going to be coming out, people are genuinely excited. We have so much to offer. Just like in our 60-year-plus heritage, we are continuing to be the innovation leader. Employees know that we’re working on the latest and greatest things to help our customers and dealers be successful. And that’s a really great thing to be a part of.
About Joel Honeyman
As the vice president of global innovation, Joel Honeyman spends his days developing and overseeing the latest and greatest technological advances in compact equipment. With over 22 years under his belt, Honeyman is well-versed in the industry and strives to bring customers and dealers the best tools to be as successful as they can be.
Interested in learning more about our new products and technologies? Check out everything Next Is Now.