A matter of days after announcing the closure of its Digital Health division, diversified Finnish communications giant Nokia has doubled down in another of its key business areas, the Internet of Things (IoT).
When one door closes, a connected one opens. That appears to be the mantra of Nokia, which has finalised the acquisition of California analytics startup, SpaceTime Insight.
Nokia adds machine learning analytics
The move will expand Nokia’s IoT portfolio, which already includes smart home technologies, and forays into 5G connectivity and virtual reality.
SpaceTime Insight offers analytics services through its own IoT platform to clients in the transportation, energy and utilities sectors, including Entergy, FedEx, NextEra Energy, Singapore Power, and Union Pacific Railroad.
SpaceTime Insight will bring machine learning-powered analytics capabilities to Nokia’s Software IoT product unit. But also key will be the intangibles that the acquisition adds to Nokia’s offering: SpaceTime Insight’s sales expertise and client relationships, along with a track record of IoT application development.
According to a statement from Nokia, “The acquisition supports Nokia’s software strategy,” and “will strengthen Nokia’s IoT software portfolio and IoT analytics capabilities, and accelerate the development of Nokia’s IoT offerings to deliver high-value IoT applications and services to new and existing customers.”
Bhaskar Gorti, president of Nokia Software, added that the addition of SpaceTime to Nokia Software “is a strong step forward in our strategy, and will help us deliver a new class of intelligent solutions to meet the demands of an increasingly interconnected world. Together, we can empower customers to realise the full value of their people, processes, and assets, and enable them to deliver rich, world-class digital experiences.”
As part of the deal, SpaceTime Insight CEO Rob Schilling will join Nokia’s IoT product unit, which is situated within Nokia’s Software business group.
Schilling certainly sees plenty of room for growth. “Today marks a transformational moment for SpaceTime, and I’m delighted to join forces with one of the world’s top organisations – a global brand that is reshaping the future of networking and intelligent software,” he said.
Internet of Business says
As anyone older than this millennium knows, Nokia’s story is an example of how fast, and how dramatically, things can change in the world of communications: from leading the mobile world in the late 90s with its simple, well-designed interfaces and software, to crashing out of the market in the wake of the rise to dominance of iOS and Android, via the company’s on/off relationship with Microsoft, which itself lost its footing in the mobile world. However, Nokia still owns the Alcatel mobile brand.
Now the IoT is up for grabs in terms of new opportunities and alliances. At present, the IoT remains a relatively small fraction of Nokia’s wider dealings. Last year the company reported total revenues of more than €23 billion. The software division made up just €1.6 billion of that. Nevertheless, one of Nokia’s strengths has long been its software, even if its branding and market positioning has sometimes failed to hit the mark.
Either way, the Nokia name is both as tough as old boots, as the saying goes, and a long and convoluted story. Appropriately, in both cases, as the company name dates right back to 1871, when an 1865-founded company’s founders opened a pulp mill for paper production in the town of Nokia, then renamed the company after it. Soon Nokia had diversified into electricity generation – and rubber, for shoes and other items.