Optical/IP Networks

Qualcomm Snaps Up M2M Firm

Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) today improved its ability to remotely monitor hugely expensive assets such as cellular towers and gas pipelines through the acquisition of machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless communications specialist, nPhase LLC, for an undisclosed sum.

nPhase used to be Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s North American gateway service provider. The Nokia M2M gateway was installed in the nPhase Network Operations Center, enabling the delivery of telemetry services for customers via the Cingular Wireless network.

Nokia, however, has now terminated its M2M business.

Chicago-based nPhase was spun off from IT consulting firm Professional Consulting Services Inc (PCS) in 2003. It makes tailored M2M systems for fixed assets available through OEM partners. The company says that -- depending on the deployment -- its systems can communicate wirelessly, via a fixed phone, or via an Ethernet network connection.

Examples of some of the systems nPhase has developed include technology for monitoring cell tower light outages; watching the structural health of parking structures and bridges; measuring the levels of chemicals and critical chemical events in swimming pools; and clocking the time that a user spends at the drive-thru window of a major restaurant chain.

Qualcomm has been involved with the telematics market since 1991. The firm started with fleet management systems but has broadened its range with a number of fixed and mobile applications. (See Telematics on Track.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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