Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

China's Huawei spends $25 million to acquire UK IoT specialist Neul

Iain Morris
September 25, 2014
 
Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei has snapped up UK Internet of Things player Neul for $25 million in a move aimed at strengthening its position in the M2M technology sector.

The deal – which was reported by Business Weekly – will put the Chinese player in control of the company behind the development of the Weightless standard, which is based on using the ‘white space’ spectrum freed up in the transition from analog to digital broadcasting for M2M services.

Neul (Cambridge, UK) has since rolled out its NeulNet platform based on the Weightless standard and has also formed a partnership with UK telecoms incumbent BT.
The two players are collaborating to develop smart city technologies in the city of Milton Keynes.

A number of other high-profile technology companies have been involved in Weightless, including UK network operator Cable & Wireless Worldwide (London, UK) – now controlled by Vodafone (Newbury, UK) – and chip designer ARM (Cambridge, UK).

According to the Business Weekly report, Neul chief executive Stan Boland was under pressure from venture capital investors to maximize value, although Boland has been criticized for letting the business go too cheaply.

In statements emailed to a variety of news websites, Huawei (Shenzhen, China) explained that the takeover would give it control of important R&D facilities in the UK and some groundbreaking M2M technology.

“Huawei has recently acquired Neul, an advanced Internet of Things (IoT) research and development facility in UK,” the statement reads. “The acquisition of Neul gives Huawei improved access to the growing and exciting market in the IoT, which enables advanced connectivity of machines, devices, systems, and services under a variety of applications.”

"Neul is a leading R&D and competence centre, based in Cambridge, UK, providing end-to-end solutions including chipset and platform, base-station and cloud management systems,” it continues.

Boland is also reported to have said that Neul has been collaborating with Huawei for several months on narrowband cellular technologies based on low-band spectrum.

The move comes with Huawei predicting there will be some 100 billion connected devices in use by 2025.
 
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