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Smart People: Michael Mohr of Plugilo

Smart Industry 2016: Smart People - Michael Mohr
Few still remember the Dotcom Bust of 2001, but with Michael Mohr, thememory still rankles. Flush with cash from going public with his successful startup DCI, a company specializing in trade databases, he too suffered when the bottom fell out of the stock market. But unlike thousands of others, he survived, and now he’s back to settle the score.

Today, DCI AG operates subsidiaries in Hanoi and Shanghai, where busy programmers are hard at work creating the “The Plug”, as Mohr calls it. Actually, the wall plug he proudly drapes around his shoulder for photo ops is just a symbol for what he describes as “plugging into the world of Cloud Content”. His ambition is to link every company database in the world through a “meta-level” in which products and services can be described in a common language, thus ending the “techno-babble” that causes confusion and loss of sales.

Our ultimate goal is to make data smarter.

Michael Mohr

Today, every manufacturer has its own system of product and serial numbers as well as its own nomenclature to describe what the product does and how it works. This information is constantly being updated internally as new product releases appear, but this information seldom makes it out into the real world, where the product may already be listed in hundreds of webshops and online marketplaces. As a result, potential customers are often misled by outdated or non-existent product information. “Getting manufacturers to agree on a common system to describe their stuff is the task of Sisyphus”, Mohr maintains. So instead he decided to plug everybody into a system that acts as a mediator between the various manufacturers, vendors and customers. “Every time a new picture of a given product is stored in the company database, it is automatically updated all over the Web”, he describes the way his new company, called Plugilo, operates. The ultimate goal, he says, is to “make data smarter”.
Right now, Plugilo is still very much Mohr’s dream child, although the technology behind it is ready and working. Remember all those little Vietnamese programmers? What is lacking is the worldwide organization and the funding to maintain it. Mohr envisions the Plug as a universally recognized symbol stating that the information you are about to access is updated regularly. In fact, clicking on the plug will take consumers directly to the manufacturer’s database, which for Mohr is the fount of all real knowledge about a product. And while the system relieves vendors of the need (and cost) of updating the information about the products they sell, manufacturers for the first time get a direct line to the consumer – something they have been dreaming about for years.

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