DecaWave, Time Domain join forces on micro-location

DecaWave, a chip-making company that has pegged itself as the next Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), has announced a partnership with ultra wideband hardware and software developer Time Domain in a move it says is intended to speed development and time to market for location-based technology solutions. The deal designates Time Domain as DecaWave's "preferred partner" in microlocation navigation and tracking technology and allows DecaWave rights to Time Domain's patent portfolio.

"The ubiquity of GPS has made location-based information a vital part of our daily lives," said DecaWave CEO Ciaran Connell in a press release. "However, many emerging applications are demanding an even greater degree of location precision and reliability, as well as the ability to operate seamlessly indoors and outdoors. We are partnering with Time Domain to capitalize on these global trends, which have created an ideal environment for UWB-based micro-location to flourish and thrive."

Rachel Reinhardt, CEO of Time Domain, said in a release that the partnership is "a transformative step for the UWB industry."

"This is a transformative step as on one end DecaWave is bringing its unique patented chip technology and on the other end Time Domain is bringing its application system expertise and patents," DecaWave's marketing manager, Mickael Viot, told FierceWirelessTech. "Those two dimensions are critical to the adoption of a new technology as customers need peace of mind on the patent side."

Still, any progress in UWB may be deemed transformative when taking into consideration speculation that the technology was becoming obsolete. The companies plan to use the locating technology for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, a purpose some consider the revival of UWB, which DecaWave has been called a pioneer in.

Competition with more popular IoT standards and technology remains to be seen, but Viot said UWB's use is far outside the scope of competing innovation.

"UWB cannot be compared directly to other IoT standards as what UWB brings is unique: High accuracy location," he said. "No other technology can deliver this. And this high accuracy location, 'sensing the where,' really matters to a growing number of applications in the IoT."

Added Viot: "The technology is mature. We will work on improving some features like further reducing the power consumption. The real challenge, [which is] nice to have, is that we have a strong market traction in several high volume markets which will require the development of more application specific solutions."

In addition to honing the technology, the companies will work on "coordination on industry and regulatory standards and the creation of a UWB industry forum," the last of which dissolved in 2009.

"Those projects will influence the IoT development in the sense that it will create more awareness around the benefits of 'sensing the where' for various IoT applications, plus it will create awareness around the community of users/developers fostering the adoption of this technology," Viot said.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Ofcom seeks comments on changes to UWB regulations
UWB: Back from the dead, bound for IoT location-based services
DecaWave claims accuracy within centimeters for indoor-positioning chip

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