Friday 16 March 2012

Acquisition expands wireless reach

Wireless reach expanded with acquisition of portfolio of cellular routers and gateways

B&B Electronics  has deepened its wireless solution portfolio with the acquisition of Conel s.r.o. (CZ) Conel is a well-established market leader in reliable and secure wireless communications routers, gateways and devices that connect cellular networks to Ethernet, serial and other data networks.

The acquisition further expands B&B’s European footprint, as well as strengthens B&B’s position in the fast-growing wireless market by extending its reach into cellular communications networks. In 2011, B&B acquired Quatech, Inc., an industrial networking company with a complementary product line that included an industrial-grade embedded OEM wireless technology platform sold under the Airborne brand name.

“The Quatech and Conel acquisitions are consistent with our strategy of rapidly growing our market share and deepening our technology solutions,” explained Seán Harrigan, B&B’s president and CEO. “As our industry continues to consolidate, we plan to remain aggressive in seeking out a wide range of opportunities that will strengthen our position, product breadth and the value we bring to our customers.”

Conel, founded in 1991, employs approximately 73 people in its Czech facility, where it designs market leading products. Conel’s European customer base is diverse, covering applications in wastewater, construction, fleet and vehicle management, pipeline monitoring and electric grid asset monitoring.

“Conel brings a wide variety of advantages to B&B’s customers,” added Harrigan. “It has built a strong brand in Europe with products that quickly have become known for rugged reliability. Its product roadmap will provide several exciting extensions of our own technology into the wireless solutions that are proving so important to many of our customers.”

Harrigan said the company will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of B&B Electronics, and company Managing Director Jan Cevona will continue with B&B as Managing Director. Harrigan said the companies will work together to secure the necessary industry approvals and certifications to bring Conel’s product technology to North American customers.

Conel is known for extensive product breadth in this sector, with strong product offerings for GPRS, EDGE, UMTS / HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+, CDMA protocols in its current line of modems and routers. Conel’s rapid growth rate in Europe also has been tied a customer-centric strategy of providing strong local support and a Firmware-Over-The-Air (FOTA) technology that allows its products to receive automatic wireless firmware updates without requiring an on-site technician visit. In an approach similar to B&B’s product philosophy, Conel’s products are designed with an emphasis on “plug-and-play” user convenience and simplicity, with a built-in SIM recognition driver in the router that recognizes the unit and configures the internal cellular modem automatically, making integration simpler for customers.

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