Products and services
How we set ourselves apart
Our blend of market-leading products and growing portfolio of data services to complement them makes us an indispensable partner for our customers
Ensuring our products and data services continue to meet customer needs
Central to the success of our products and data services is our relentless drive to innovate. Carefully targeted innovation enables us to unleash exciting new solutions that meet customer needs in the short, medium and long-term. You can discover more about how our innovation work drives our product and service development in the Innovation section of this report.
Key achievements in 2019
2019 saw us strengthen our cellular module offering, notably with the launch of the SARA-R5 chipset and its LTE-M and NB-IoT modules. These also include u‑blox M8 GNSS positioning technology.
The SARA-R5 series delivers on the needs of the many IoT applications requiring secure wide area connectivity, using very little energy. Hardware-based Root of Trust, in a discrete, secure element within the module, gives customers EAL5+ High Common Criteria-compliant security, from the chip to the cloud. The modules are also compatible with our Firmware Over The Air (FOTA) service, enabling customers to deliver updates to SARA-R5-based devices in the field during their often multi-year lifetimes.
Short range communication
It has been an exciting year for u‑blox in the short range communication space. The July acquisition of Rigado’s Bluetooth modules business is massively significant for us. By bringing Rigado engineers and modules into the u‑blox family, we have broadened and improved our offering, particularly for customers building consumer products.
We have also built on Rigado intellectual property to launch new Bluetooth modules. Key among them is the BMD-360, a state-of-the-art consumer-grade Bluetooth 5.1-compliant module that supports direction-finding and long-range communications – all in an exceptionally cost-effective package.
Meanwhile, the latest iteration of our industrial-grade NINA modules, the NINA-B4 series, brings Bluetooth 5.1 low energy capabilities to customers building connected solutions for use in challenging conditions.
Having both the BMD-360 and NINA-B40 series ensures we have Bluetooth products to address the short range connectivity and positioning demands of two significant – but very different – segments of the IoT.
Positioning and timing
Building on the success of our F9 high-precision positioning platform, this year’s newly launched ZED-F9K dead reckoning module addresses the needs of autonomous vehicles and advanced driver-assistance system designers. Mission-critical systems demand decimeter-level positioning at all times, even when the vehicle cannot receive a signal from a GNSS satellite.
The ZED-F9K module delivers this, using inertial sensors to complement multi-band GNSS and information from correction data services. This results in a 10-fold increase in positioning performance over standard positioning solutions.
We are also really excited about the launch of our M9 positioning platform. We call it ‘ultra-robust’, and we mean it. With concurrent reception of up to four GNSS constellations, sophisticated interference mitigation and advanced spoofing and jamming detection, customers enjoy an exceptionally reliable location reading. The M9 platform is designed for automotive, telematics and UAV applications.
Our long-term product and data service development strategies are delivering results, and we will continue to pay particular attention to three broad areas:
• Building more products on our own silicon
• Enhancing security
• Developing data services to complement our products
Combined, these empower us to provide a compelling offering to our customers, whereby they see us as more than a commodity component supplier - we become a strategic and indispensable long-term partner.
Our own silicon
Building products on our own silicon means we have greater control over everything from performance and capability to long-term product availability. This is critical in enabling us to differentiate our offering and create products that genuinely meet our markets’ longer-term needs. Finally, we offer a lot more value to our customers. We will continue with this strategy in 2020 and beyond.
Recent years have seen us make significant investments in both hardware and software security. In 2020, we expect to see many of these developments coming to market, in the shape of new products and commercially available services.
We will continue to drive forward our security-related R&D, looking at new ways to enhance the robustness of our customers’ solutions. As we do today, where appropriate, this will include partnerships with carefully selected security specialists.
Value-added data services
We will invest further in our portfolio of data services. This is a key area when it comes to differentiating our offering. By providing customers with both high-quality chips and modules, and data services that push their capabilities to new and unique levels, we deliver unmatched value and make ourselves ever-more-critical to our customers’ operations.