More than anything, 2020 will be remembered for the global COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty, the suffering, and the losses it caused. But at the turn of the new year, there is light at the end of the tunnel, as vaccines, developed at record speed, are distributed to those in need. May 2021 be the year in which we round the corner, gain the upper hand on the pandemic, and develop the antibodies, the technology, and the public policies to stop its spread.
Despite the vast and varied challenges that the global COVID-19 pandemic brought upon our business in 2020, we see ample ground for optimism going forward. If anything, the pandemic has bolstered the case for connected technology, driving up adoption rates the world over, as people have sought out contactless experiences that do not leave them isolated: remote work, online medical consultations, virtual events, online shopping, and the list goes on. It’s a trend that is unlikely to be reversed, particularly now that the technology has proven itself.
One thing that is becoming clear across the megatrends that drive our corporate strategy and, ultimately, our business, is that wireless is unequaled as a connectivity technology. In healthcare, the growing role of data in diagnosing disease, delivering care, and cutting costs is making wireless technology indispensable. In mobility, it is enabling smart micromobility solutions, increasingly connected cars, and advanced driver assistance systems. In the industry, it is driving automation, boosting resilience, and increasing productivity. And in homes, buildings, and cities, it is increasing convenience, efficiency, and safety.
Our customers are optimistic. So are we.
Talking to our customers, these trends are palpable. Carmakers’ R&D activities are aligned with autonomous driving as their North Star, with cloud connectivity and edge intelligence two key prerequisites for achieving autonomous control. u-blox is on track to deliver two others, high precision positioning and functional safety, thanks to continued investment and leadership. And wireless connectivity is shaping up to be an essential enabler for electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, which is in high demand as EVs grow their market share year on year.
Demand from our industrial customers is growing as well. As industries connect, wireless technology will deliver accuracy and efficiency gains in operations and business. These benefits will stem from increased automation, process monitoring with wireless sensors, and airborne or terrestrial autonomous vehicle, as well as improved visibility across supply and distribution chains.
And beyond these markets, there is unprecedented demand for our technologies and services to enable solutions that promote social, economic, and environmental sustainability, and make our lives safer, more convenient, and, sometimes, simply more fun. Navigation, tracking, and wireless cloud connectivity are not only important ingredients for smartwatches, but also for a wealth of other IoT use cases that benefit municipalities, commercial businesses, and private customers.
Services will shape our future
Connectivity is a prerequisite for the broad adoption of IoT solutions to optimize productivity and secure the business and operating environment. But building reliable, smart, and secure connectivity can be challenging, particularly for new entrants in this space with brilliant ideas but little to no experience in secure cloud connectivity. What they need is a secure out-of-the-box connectivity solution to complement the hardware they use, allowing them to focus on what matters most to them: fine-tuning their value proposition, growing their business, and satisfying their customers.
We are addressing this need with a growing service offering. Building on our acquisition of Thingstream in April 2020, we will continue to expand our service portfolio, accelerating our path towards achieving a unique and comprehensive silicon-to-cloud offering. By offering customers a one-stop-shop for hardware components and services, we help them mitigate risks and ensure that all the elements they need cooperate seamlessly and speed up time to market with a predictable cost.
Our underlying values remain the same
In the face of a tumultuous year 2020, our mission at u-blox remains unchanged: to empower our customers to locate their devices and connect them from silicon to cloud. This involves continuing to translate leading innovation into leading solutions, characterized by tighter integration, smaller size, improved performance with lower energy consumption, and simpler use. It is a challenge we can only live up to by understanding our customers’ specific needs across the full breadth of their use cases.
Our recipe is to trust in our core values, beginning with the long-term attitude that characterizes how we develop our products and nourish our customer relationships. It continues with our mission to reuse core intellectual property between product generations and across our product portfolio to decrease the risk of obsolescence. It involves developing value-added services that leverage our core IP in the end device and creating energy-saving products in small form factors by exploiting advanced packaging and silicon technology. And finally, it involves earning the trust of our customers and partners, through meticulous verification and validation methods that help assure the robustness of all products and services bearing our label.
Our unique offering endures
We begin this new year with a healthy dose of optimism. u-blox is in markets that are currently defining the future. These markets are growing, and their growth is accelerating. And while the global pandemic will be with us for some time still, so far it has only strengthened our offering. As the number of connected applications across our markets continues to grow, customers will be on the lookout for a connectivity partner they can rely on. By building out our unique one-stop-shop solution for positioning and wireless communication technology, we are confident that u-blox will emerge even stronger once COVID-19 is behind us.