Trimble (TRMB.Q) sells earthquake detection kit, but will we be ready?

May 21, 2020

There’s a part of every person that thinks that life is going to continue on, day after day, week after week, unbothered and the routine unbroken by outside events outside of our control. But if there’s anything we know now, it’s that it just isn’t so. And if you’re living anywhere along the coast of the Pacific ocean, there’s another world-stopping event that’s well overdue that we’ve had our fingers in our ears over for the past half-century or more, and that’s an earthquake.

That’s right. I’m talking about the big one.

If there’s any variety of take-away from the experience with COVID-19, it should be the certain knowledge that we’re not somehow special or immune to big world-stopping problems and calamitous events. If you had asked me last year if something like this was possible, I would’ve said yes: the data’s been in for awhile—we’ve been overdue for a pandemic, which usually come around once a generation. We haven’t had a pandemic on this scale since 1918, and frankly speaking, this hasn’t been as bad as the Spanish Flu. But that’s data and raw information, and there’s a distinct gulf between what we know intellectually is expected and the actual physical reality of something happening.

The coronavirus pandemic caught the rest of the world with its pants down, and we’re going to be busy cleaning up this mess for generations. But the disease itself did (and is doing) what was expected – taking off those susceptible to it, and while that’s sad, we’ve basically adapted by adopting social measures to minimize the damage. We coped.

There’s no coping with an earthquake and most of us are definitely not prepared on an individual level, but there are some steps to make sure that we’re ready on a collective level.

Trimble’s (TRMB.Q) most recent announcement that they have sold their REF TEK seismic monitoring portfolio to Nova Scotia-based Xeos Technologies is one such way.

Xeos and its subsidiary design and manufacture telemetry and data collection produces are used for structural monitoring, oil and gas operations, and scientific studies in the polar, volcano and earthquake fields.

Trimble is a multinational tech company that makes solutions for a wide roster of industries ranging from agriculture to forestry to electric and water utilities. Their REK TEK adds seismic recorders, seismometers, accelerometers and software for seismic and earthquake engineering systems to government, scientific research and structural monitoring organizations.

The systems are used for scientific study, as well as all kinds of issues dealing with earthquakes ranging from seismic warning assessment, earthquake structural response and hazard mitigation. When not called upon for seismic issues, the technology provides assistance for oil and gas operations monitoring.

“The addition of the REF TEK seismic products are complementary to our remote monitoring business and allow us continued penetration into our existing seismic monitoring markets. By adding seismic hardware, Xeos will be able to extend its product portfolio to address an even wider range of applications,” said Derek Inglis, president and CEO, Xeos Technologies.

The sale will not have a material impact on segment or overall financial results.

—Joseph Morton

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