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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Telit buys GainSpan for $8m IoT boost

By Nick Flaherty

London-based cellular module and services supplier Telit has bought US WiFi chip designer GainSpan in an $8m deal that highlights the consolidation of the embedded market. 

GainSpan manufactures and commercializes chips and modules for battery-powered devices and related intellectual property (IP) with embedded software, including network stacks and application reference designs. GainSpan has over 90 employees, mostly R&D and application and support engineers, spread across an R&D center in Bangalore, India and San Jose, California.
GainSpan was set up by engineers from Intel in 2006 to develop low power WiFi chips, but the relatively low deal value after ten years of operation highlights the challenges in getting the technology designed in. 

“As we enter an era of maturity for the IoT, we are starting to witness the appearance of spaces within it such as the Internet of Sensors, the Internet of Cars, and the Internet of Digital,” said Oozi Cats, CEO of Telit. “With few exceptions, the ability to cut the power cord is an essential growth engine for all these branches of the IoT.”

Telit is bidding for 75% of 27 billion short range IoT connections predicted for 2025 that use WiFi, and a low power solution is essential.
This addresses the growing market of battery-powered devices that rely on Wi-Fi and other low-power technologies for healthcare, building management, cold-chain logistics, and a wide range of commercial and industrial application areas.

“The acquisition of GainSpan brings to Telit a world-class portfolio and a proven track record of Wi-Fi and low-power module solutions trusted by tier-one customers,” said Cats. “Combined with our existing strength in delivering the most comprehensive, relevant portfolio of products and solutions for the IoT, this addition positions us well for future growth in our target segments, including security and surveillance, home automation, healthcare, asset management, and smart cities.”

However, the technology aligns well with existing Telit products including cellular, Bluetooth/BLE, and GNSS modules as well as IoT connectivity and platform “sensor-to-cloud” services. The low-power Wi-Fi technology with low standby current and fast wake-up time enables customers to extend the battery life of their devices for years, and GainSpan's IP also offloads Wi-Fi services and networking functionality from the application. Customer devices can be designed with a simple and inexpensive MCU or without one at all.

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