Alexander, when was the idea of Ruby born?
Alexander Jauker: Well, this was actually about 10 years ago. We were on a tradeshow and talked intensively with some of our key customers. In the evening, after the show, Andreas Penz and I had discussions where we reviewed, very critically, that the workflow of the software and using a printer driver is not the best way to get the job done for our customers. It was more a work around to get a laser product. So we - and this is a true story - drew the vision of having a new laser software onto a napkin. After that it took us several months to sharpen the idea. Also, it was a change in mindset, a shift from the laser machines being at the centre of our considerations to a full workflow, from idea to product.
And when did you finally start working on Ruby?
Alexander Jauker: It took us quite a while to get everything in place. I remember a meeting in 2016 where I promised to have the first release on the market in 2020. To be honest I was not sure if we could keep this time frame. We opened up a software centre of excellence from scratch and enlarged the team significantly. 3 years ago we started working on the software architecture of Ruby and then, of course, also on the features. Now I am very proud that we have finally reached the goal to release the open beta version of Ruby. And of course, this is just the beginning of the journey. We will have several releases per year and it will develop very quickly and continuously. The potential of Ruby is enormous.
Ok, thank you. And now to the other Alex. You are the product owner of Trotec Ruby. I've been wondering why the product is called Ruby?
Alexander Schikowski: Well, that's an interesting question. Actually we had an internal name contest where all of our subsidiaries participated. We had many proposals and made an internal ranking table. Ruby was the top-favourite, because it is not only a name. It matches perfectly with Trotec. First, the ruby laser was the first laser in 1960 and set standards for this technology - same as Trotec does within its industry. Second, Ruby is a jewel which comes along with everything it needs and will be sharpened with every release. And third - this was a lucky hit - it perfectly matches Trotec's colour code. ;)
Ok, I see. It is the perfect fit. How do you make sure you hit the customer's pain?
Alexander Schikowski: This is the key question when we develop products. What job does our customer want to get done? What are his pains and gains and what job is he doing? All these questions were the starting point for Ruby. And, to really dive down we collaborated of course with users, but also with a large network of scientific institutions. From MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and University of Potsdam to University of Applied Science in Upper Austria. In Multiple projects we developed concepts of usability, design, workflow and digital transformation.
Great! Sounds very professional. Now to you, Bianca. Tell us more about the circumstances of launching a software product in 2020.
Bianca Matthäi: Where to start? Well Trotec is used to launching new machines - so launching a software product is a totally new path to go down. Of course - and I know most of us are tired of hearing about it - but it was all overshadowed by covid-19. We had the closed beta release in April which was 4 weeks after the lockdown. We had a 5-minute discussion if we should postpone the closed beta launch but then decided that it is now even more important to get Ruby to the market. Digital collaboration, working from anywhere at anytime - but still working together on the same projects. That is what is important for our customers. It was before and is now even more so. So it was clear that we should stick to our time frame whatever it costs. Of course it was not the easiest job to undertake photo and video shoots shortly after the lockdown with changing regulations day by day. But I'm super happy that we managed to realise everything under these conditions and to finally launch Ruby today. But actually today is not a destination - it is a milestone. We have many ideas of how to bring Ruby to our customers, so there are a lot of tasks in the pipeline for the coming months such as more videos, free trial access, etc.
Cool, it seems there really are lots of new things going on at Trotec. Thank you!
Bianca Matthäi: Yes, there are :). Thank you as well.