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U-blox bolsters IoT stategy with connectBlue acquisition

20 May 2014

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Swiss-based u-blox has acquired Swedish connectBlue AB, a provider of industrial-grade short range radio modules, which support industry standards Bluetooth and IEEE 802.11 / Wi-Fi that enable connectivity between equipment and the Internet.

The acquisition enhances the u-blox portfolio of positioning and cellular wireless communications solutions with short-range communication products. This strategic move broadens the u-blox module offering bringing within reach millions of devices connected to the Internet. Key applications include industrial machine-to-machine (M2M), medical equipment, data acquisition, vehicle monitoring, and asset tracking systems.

Solutions provided by u-blox enable people, vehicles, and machines to locate their exact position and wirelessly communicate via voice, text, or video. With a broad portfolio of chips, modules, and software solutions, u-blox allows OEMs to develop innovative solutions that enable mobility quickly and cost-effectively.

"The Internet of Things requires end-to-end connectivity to allow powerful applications to manage mission- and business-critical devices such as health monitoring and point of sales terminals, factory automation, and vehicle sensors," said Thomas Seiler, u-blox CEO. "ConnectBlue's short range radio technology combined with our comprehensive line of cellular modems and satellite positioning receivers allow us to provide a complete communication solution for thousands of existing and future applications."

"Our combined portfolio provides a lower-cost and more reliable alternative to cable, copper and fibre used in factories, vehicles and outdoor installations," said Rolf Nilsson, connectBlue CEO.

Established in 2000, connectBlue has a market-proven portfolio of certified, industrial-grade modules supporting popular Classic Bluetooth, Bluetooth low energy, and Wi-Fi standards. Their products guarantee long-term compatibility across product generations and technologies. In addition, connectBlue products are approved for the European, US, Canadian, Japanese markets and are compliant with EMC, Safety and Medical standards, and the Bluetooth qualification programme.

The company has an impressive list of global customers producing medical instrumentation, equipment for industrial automation, measurement, data acquisition, and vehicle management systems. It also has its own in-house Bluetooth stack and software drivers for Wi-Fi modules, critical intellectual property that makes its products extremely reliable in demanding applications.

ConnectBlue's operations in Malmö will become the new product centre for short-range radio. For existing connectBlue customers, the current product offering will continue to be supported and further developed.

The acquisition entails purchase of 100 per cent of the shares of connectBlue for an enterprise value of $28million. For the acquired business, u-blox expects revenue of around $10million and an EBIT of $1.12million for the remainder of 2014.

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