Berlin-based tech company Inpixon (INPX.Q) inked a definitive agreement to acquire all of global location awareness tech company, Nanotron Technologies, earlier this week.

The going consensus among the tech community is that everything in the future will be smarter. That’s not necessarily a point about intelligence or quality of education—people are going to be as dumb as they’ve always been, and maybe even dumber if you accept the argument that being lazier can reduce your overall general intelligence—but the things surrounding us will be smarter.  Remember the humans in Wall-E?  Fat.  Lazy.  Dependent on technology to the point where their legs degenerate and moving around becomes arduous?  Yeah.  That’s going to be our grandkids.

Okay.  Maybe that’s entering tinfoil hat territory.

Still, you’ve heard of smartphones, smart cities, and smart cars. Well Inpixon is taking strides to make your office smart. And maybe not just your office but any and every work environment. Smart injection-moulding plants. Smart taco huts. Smart banana stands. And they’re doing it by using a little thing called indoor mapping.

What is indoor mapping?

It’s the process of converting floorplans to interactive representations of indoor spaces. The primary purpose is to help you find your way, but also uses business rules, localization and Internet-of-Things (IoT) censors to give users the ability to visualize spatial data, and create indoor location intelligence in real time.

If you work in a some variety of cubicle hell it’s probably not that big of a deal. But for warehouses, manufacturing plants and other such spacious places, having an active, rotating map that’s updated to the minute makes entirely too much sense. Their indoor mapping platform converts static maps into intelligent, multi-dimensional digital maps by utilizing multiple data layers to create location-aware applications that are completely scaleable. Indoor maps allow for the creation of smart buildings using internet-of-things technology. After being added to various platforms and datasets, these maps enable map-enabled use cases.

“Nanotron’s first-in-class products, patents, and other assets significantly enhance our overall Indoor Intelligence platform. Through this acquisition, we are adding one of the foremost engineering teams in the industry — a pioneer in the development of location-based technologies. Through the integration of technologies, we look forward to providing seamless integration across both indoor and outdoor positioning applications,” according to Nadir Ali, CEO of Inpixon.

What is Nanotron?

Nanotron is a Berlin-based tech company providing IoT options for real-time location services (RTLS) and both indoor and outdoor positioning solutions using both industry standard technologies and patented proprietary wireless communication technologies. The company gives an example of an indoor solution as ultra-wideband (UWB) and the patented tech as Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS).

But there’s more than just those two.

Nanotron’s IoT sensors, tags, tag modules and software incorporate the following technologies and positioning methodologies:

  • Chirp Spread Spectrum: used in radar applications for precise target locating based on time of arrival (ToA) estimation
  • Symmetrical double-sided two-way ranging: a patented messaging platform that allows ranging between simple, low-cost transceiver devices
  • Time of flight (ToF) ranging: physical distancing measurements for accurate zoning, secure access and virtual safety zone applications
  • Time difference of arrival (TDoA) real-time locating systems (RTLS): generating precise locations and providing highly scalable deployment options.

The transaction is expected to increase Inpixon revenues by over $5 million on an annual basis and to be accretive, but there are a handful of other dimensions the acquisition is expected to help the company grow.

Here are a few:

  • Expand Inpixon’s user base. Nanotron cites that it has more than 500 deployments to date, including several large-scale deployments monitoring tens of thousands of anchors and tags.
  • Deepen Inpixon’s geographic presence in regions outside of North America including Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East.
  • Expands Inpixon’s partner relationships with marquee distribution and technology partners, such as Arrow Electronics, DigiKey and Decawave.
  • Enhance the company’s ability to design proprietary sensor systems, including chips and multifunctional sensor systems for various industries.
  • Broaden Inpixon’s industry coverage with construction, manufacturing, mining, autonomous vehicles, and livestock, plus expand use cases including live positioning, asset tracking, collision avoidance, man-down and worker safety.

Projections from MarketsandMarkets, a third party market research firm, have the location based services and real-time location systems markets growing from USD $17.8 billion in 2020 to USD $39.2 billion by 2025, which represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.1%. Inpixon has tapped its subsidiary Inpixon GmbH to buy the outstanding capital of Nanotron using cash on hand for $8.7 million.

—Joseph Morton

Written By:

Joseph Morton

Joseph is a Vancouver-based author and journalist with both a communications degree and journalism diploma (and a few novels) under his belt. His joie de vivre is to spin difficult technical topics into more human-centric narratives. Buy him a coffee and he'll talk your ear off for hours about privacy issues, blockchain, cryptocurrency and martial arts. Don't talk to him if you're either a tomato, a bully, or if you're not a fan of either 1984 or Tender is the Night. No. You can still talk to him. Just be prepared to be told why you're wrong.

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