Huawei acquired Internet of Things radio module specialist Neul, which is based in Cambridge, UK. Huawei is the latest large vendor to snap up a smaller, IoT-focused firm.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the UK publication Business Weekly, which first reported on the transaction, said Huawei paid $25 million to acquire Neul. The report, citing an unnamed source, said Neul has been seeking a major strategic investor without success. The publication also said that Huawei intends to invest tens of millions of dollars in Cambridge to build a global Internet of Things "stronghold" there.
"IoT is a key future direction of the Internet. Huawei is optimistic about the future of IoT. It is a business opportunity that we are keen to exploit and the acquisition of Neul with its unique brand of skills and technologies will help Huawei to achieve this," Huawei said in a statement to GigaOM.
"The acquisition of Neul gives Huawei improved access to the growing and exciting market in the IoT," the vendor added. "Huawei has no doubt that the IoT market offers huge scope to expand and to deliver important new services and solutions to customers."
Neul specializes in wireless applications for the industrial Internet of Things, including sensors and modules embedded into large industrial equipment designed to make the equipment more efficient. The company was founded in 2010 and had raised $18.8 million in funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, IQ Capital Partners and Cambridge Business Angels.
Neul has been involved several IoT trials in the UK. For example, BT, in partnership with Neul and others, agreed to provide technology for the first city-wide IoT network in Milton Keynes. The network was designed to demonstrate how a large number of static and mobile sensors can be controlled.
Additionally, Neul was also a founding member and major backer of the Weightless standard, which aimed to build IoT networks using TV White Space spectrum. However, as GigaOM notes, last week the Weightless Special Interest Group said it would suspend its work in White Space spectrum due to continued uncertainty around the globe over whether TVWS will be opened up for commercial use. Instead, the group is going to focus on industrial spectrum bands already in use globally.
Other major vendors have also been making IoT moves of late. In August Samsung Electronics purchased home automation platform SmartThings (a 2014 Fierce 15 winner), which Samsung said will enable the startup to expand its platform and work with more partners and devices. Founded in 2012, SmartThings lets people monitor, control, and automate their homes from wherever they are through a single mobile app. The platform supports more than 1,000 devices and 8,000 apps created by its community of device makers and developers.
- see this Business Weekly article
- see this GigaOM article
- see this ZDNet article
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