In 2016, we maintained our focus on providing leading-edge components that enable our customers to build systems for smooth integration into the Internet of Things. For the automotive, industrial and consumer sectors, data transfer, location and precise timing are the key factors for efficient operation. For us, they are the WHAT? WHERE? and WHEN?, the essence of the Internet of Things and u-blox is at the core of this development. These are the questions we help our customers to answer: by delivering precisely the products they need.
The meaning of WHAT, WHERE and WHEN?
These three terms define the core of everything customers need to control in the Internet of Things and in markets increasingly subject to disruptive business models. As the transition from products to services affects more industries, they also constitute the data our customers collect about their products and, in the future, will provide an invaluable source of precise and relevant information. The WHAT defines specific types of information: What temperature is it? What mileage is left in this tire? The WHERE, as the term implies, mainly involves positioning: Where is this tire, container or washing machine? Where can it be serviced? In future, this will provide manufacturers with supplementary information on the use and performance of their products. WHEN? is another of u-blox’s prime strengths, because we excel at providing accurate timing information. Combined with the other two elements, it puts the data in perspective, enhancing the value of the information.
Making products that simplify development and provide leading-edge security
With the growing prevalence of the Internet of Things, u-blox has identified two factors that are crucial if the market is to continue expanding and fulfill its potential: applications must be as simple to use as possible, and they must be secure. We are therefore focusing on the development of easy-to-use, fast-to-market components into which customers can build their own wireless systems and environments and significantly reduce their time to market with new products. The presence of all these simple components in billions of devices such as automatic garage doors or coffee machines, however, makes systems more vulnerable to hacking and other breaches of security. We are therefore investing considerable resources in the development and certification of components that meet market requirements and are resistant to cyber attacks.
Carving out more independence
One of our central aims is to reduce our dependence on component suppliers and define our own future. We continue to invest a significant proportion of our revenues in the development and control of core technologies that give us entry into the value chain at an earlier stage and enable our products to stand out from those of the competition. This is inevitably a long-term commitment but one we believe to be central to sustain long-term success.
Helping our customers do what they do best
We specialize in helping our customers make the most of their own strengths by providing them with products over which we have farreaching control and helping them to make their systems run more efficiently. One example is our CellLocate service, which we give our customers free of charge and which enables our cellular modems to report their position. Ultimately, we do not develop products or services that earn revenue in markets that are better served by our customers, and their customers. This clear-cut division neatly avoids potential conflicts of interest.
In order to ensure that our products tick all the boxes with their target audiences, u-blox has an ongoing policy of entering into cooperative partnerships that are of benefit to both parties. Some of these are with the best-known names in their respective industries, such as Accenture (data analytics), Ingenu (proprietary RPMA cellular technology) and Cohda Wireless (V2X protocols). Our cooperation with partners is tied to our interest to drive new standards for low power wide area networks and to lead the technology development for the IoT markets we serve.