u-blox America – Locate, Communicate, Accelerate Presentation
U-blox is a 20-year-old Swiss company that focuses on 3 pillars of technology; GPS, Cellular Communications, and Short Range Radio Technologies. Andreas Thiel, Co-founder and EVP of u-blox, speaks on the presence of u-blox in the marketplace and how they are dominating, due to many factors such as high quality and key focus.
U-blox is the largest module maker for GPS products and can be found in just about every car. Their market focus is automotive, industrial, and consumer, with a very strong focus in industrial. U-blox is involved in engineering, development, and sales and marketing of the product. The only thing they don’t do is production, but practically provide a catalog of products to the consumer.
What has kept them on top of the market for so long has been the fact that they design silicone and software that is appropriate for the target application. This really makes them different and sets them apart from other competing companies. By doing these things, u-blox is able to keep their products long term rather than short term. This keeps them on the market for many years instead of being on something like a mobile phone cycle.
In dealing with IoT connectivity, the main focus for u-blox is the hardware side and the device side. They have decided to stay away from the cloud and to avoid competing with their customers. Andreas says they are enablers of cloud connectivity, but they don’t want to own it end-to-end.
In the past, there has been a race for the faster, bigger, and more expensive technologies. Even with the cost per bit rate decreasing year after year since the beginning, the higher bit rate technologies are not necessary for many IoT applications, so no one wanted any. This move started with CAT-1, which was readily available, because it was already a standard. It continued into CAT-M1 and CAT-M2, and will continue into 5G applications once that becomes more developed.
For Andreas and u-blox, this move brings some difficulty. Two or three years ago, life was easy. Connectivity went from 2G to 3G, but with 4G came the necessary branches to lower bit rate CAT applications for these IoT devices that do not require that much data transfer capability. Since there are now so many options, it can make things difficult to choose what is best for your application. But if you dive deep into the different types of connectivity, there is a technology for each use case.
Due to these changes in the market, u-blox’s catalog got bigger. They have more products to meet the specific needs and are in the process of creating more products like CAT-M modules. Adaptability is a huge factor for u-blox as well, to make sure that the products may fit different functions if necessary down the line. U-blox tries to make it easy for the customers by providing the specific kinds of use cases to the customer so they may see what is the best fit for what they need.
Andreas Thiel — Cofounder, and EVP at u-blox