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Decawave Investment Signals a Future of Location-Aware Electronics

Decawave announced recently a $30 Million investment, marking a huge push forward for location-based Internet of Things (IoT) products and solutions. The investment also underscores the growing strength of China in the manufacturing of location-aware electronics.
Decawave is a leading producer of chips and hardware components for ultra-wideband (UWB) radio, which is used for high accuracy localization of devices and tags, mainly in indoor settings. Decawave’s customers use Decawave chips to make a large variety of location-aware electronics. These electronic devices and appliances, including robots, drones, robotic cameras, shopping carts and more, use Decawave’s chips to measure their own locations as they move around indoor sites where GPS signals are not available.
Of the roughly 200 companies in the indoor location market, very few are selling localization technology in chip form that can be incorporated into electronic appliances. Most of the indoor location market is focused on solutions that can be deployed in sites or on smartphones. Decawave is positioned to dominate the market for chip-based localization.
The investment round was led by Atlantic Bridge Ventures, joined by West Summit CapitalACT VenturesZZ VenturesEnterprise Ireland and others. Several of the funds have ties to Ireland, where Decawave is based. Most significantly, West Summit and ZZ Ventures are based in China, and this investment round accompanies news that Decawave is opening a new office in Shenzen, China.
Decawave’s focus on China is important to understand. It does not mean that the target market for location-aware electronics products is the Chinese market. The target market is worldwide. But it does mean that a huge segment of manufacturers of cutting edge electronics are in China. Chinese manufacturers have demonstrated tremendous growth recently in bringing innovative electronics to market, including robots and drones, and are able to move from concept to manufacturing very fast, often within a year, compared to 2-3 years in many other countries.
Several of Decawave’s Chinese clients are reportedly developing robots and drones that automatically follow their user, or that navigate automatically from place to place. These actions require precise localization, either within a map of a site or relative to a user. Decawave’s UWB technology enables localization to an accuracy of 10-15cm, with a very fast update rate, as required for applications of this sort.
Decawave is not without competition in delivering accurate localization to the Internet of Things and electronics markets. Finland-based Quuppa recently introduced a hardware component product, called the Quuppa Tag Module, that enables their unique angle-of-arrival (AoA) technology to be embedded in electronic devices. Like UWB, Quuppa’s technology delivers localization to within 15-20cm, and is starting to be incorporated into third-party products in the Internet of Things market. But Decawave's technology is available in purely chip form with a wide range of deployment options.
Congratulations to Decawave on the investment. Congratulations to electronics manufacturers worldwide on having a stronger base from which to buy location-awareness. And to consumers worldwide interested in the next generation of location-aware electronics: just wait, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

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