Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

U-Blox acquires Thingstream for $10.3m

Steve Rogerson
April 1, 2020



Wireless technology company U-Blox has acquired fellow Swiss firm Thingstream, an IoT communications-as-a-service provider, for CHF10m ($10.3m), announced Thomas Seiler (pictured), CEO of U-Blox, this week.
 
Thingstream provides an end-to-end system for global IoT connectivity using the MQTT protocol. The product is offered as-a-service, which provides predictable cost and on-demand scalability for its customers.
 
MQTT, short for message queuing telemetry transport, has become a widely used data transfer protocol in the IoT, along with MQTT-SN, which is tailored to the needs of sensor networks.
 
Designed for constrained environments characterised by low power and bandwidth requirements, MQTT transmits messages from one device to one or many others via a broker. To achieve reliable M2M communications, users can set the quality of service to the specific requirements of their applications.
 
Thingstream’s MQTT Anywhere service offers data transfer across more than 600 telecom carriers in 190 countries without necessitating a cellular data plan by transmitting MQTT-SN messages over 2G, 3G, LTE and LTE-M networks.
 
“The acquisition of Thingstream and its platform accelerates U-Blox’s entry into a new dimension of our services business, the IoT sphere, which will provide customers with a reliable, smart and secure solution to connect sensor data to their cloud enterprise,” said Seiler. “Our customers can focus on scaling their business rather than the complexities of acquiring and establishing a connectivity platform and maintaining the data flow management.”
 
Simplifying cost of ownership and management of an end-to-end system that is reliable and secure is crucial for the success of any IoT service. The integration of Thingstream and its platform should drive further momentum in U-Blox’s roadmap for delivering a robust service with improved functionality, secure connectivity and full lifetime support.
 
The addition of Thingstream’s team of 26 staff will bring decades of experience in telecom services and IoT, augmenting U-Blox’s functional teams in R&D and sales and marketing.
 
“By joining our business with U-Blox, we are further able to accelerate the rollout of our best-in-class, low-cost, low-power and global IoT communications-as-a-service,” said Philipp Bolliger, CEO of Thingstream. “This in turn enables customers to fast track their IoT deployments with a predictable cost and reliability.”
 
U-Blox acquired the company for CHF10m, plus coverage for some deferred staff retention. The acquisition has been successfully closed.
 
Thingstream’s intelligent global connectivity platform provides low power, low cost, ubiquitous IoT connectivity via MQTT. The secure, out-of-the-box IoT connectivity leverages both the globally available telecom network as well as private LoRaWan implementation to offer immediate, global IoT connectivity. It specialises in helping simplify IoT connectivity, reducing costs and operational overheads in the delivery of an intelligent network of connected things.
 
With headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, U-Blox has offices in Europe, Asia and the USA. Thingstream is headquartered in Switzerland with offices in the UK, USA and South Africa.