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Jul 3, 2018

NetModule celebrates its 20th anniversary

From no-name to industry leader

NetModule celebrates its 20th anniversary and at the same time establishes itself as the market leader for wireless routers for public transportation. Over the last five years, NetModule AG's company turnover has increased by almost 300 percent, starting at approx. 6 million in 2012. Last year almost 16 million € turnover was achieved, divided between the two markets of transportation and industry. At the same time, the team has grown from 34 (in 2012) to 55 employees.

"In the last five years we have clearly expanded our position in the public transportation market. Today we are one of the market leaders for vehicle routers, while we still see good potential for our wireless routers in the industry," says Jürgen Kern, CEO of the NetModule Group. Under his aegis, business characteristics have changed significantly: from pure service provider to product manufacturer. While the ratio between Professional Services and the product business was 90% to 10% 10 years ago, today it is more than the other way around. In its current business model, Professional Services are integrated into the product business and are primarily available for customer-specific product adaptations, e.g. for OEM products. The entry into the OEM business took place in 2017 together with the market launch of the NB800 industrial routers.

NetModule has evolved from a Swiss provider of embedded Professional Services for large customers to an internationally active company with routers for energy, IIoT, automation, road and rail traffic. Today, the NetModule Group with headquarters in Switzerland bundles NetModule GmbH in Germany, founded in 2005, the subsidiary NetModule Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong, established in 2011, and the subsidiary NetModule Australia PTY Ltd. in Sydney, Australia, founded in 2017.

While the headquarters in Switzerland mainly handles development, production control and administration, the German NetModule GmbH is the main revenue driver, initially < € 0.5 million and today around € 10 million, supported by local development and support. The Hong Kong branch provides support and monitoring of equipment manufacture by contract manufacturers in China. At the same time, Hong Kong serves as a location for sourcing in Asia and as a door opener to the Asian market in order to further advance the internationalization of the business. NetModule also maintains pathbreaking cooperations with leading large companies such as Alstom, Siemens, Philips, Bombardier, Phoenix Contact, Volkswagen, Mercedes and ZF Friedrichshafen.

"We will continue to see 'connectivity' as one of our focal points in the future. Especially the use of different transmission technologies in one device will gain in importance", says Jürgen Kern, CEO of NetModule Group. Data from sensors, for example, is transmitted using short-range radio technologies (ZigBee, BLE, etc.), which can then be recoded, pre-processed and forwarded to the Internet or cloud via mobile radio or WiFi. "Applications for eMobility and/or autonomous driving in the transportation sector also have a high demand for connectivity to the Internet and thus for corresponding communication devices - exactly NetModule's area of expertise.”

As a visionary from the very beginning, Jürgen Kern focused the company specifically on future technologies and markets. The modular embedded design was part of the portfolio from an early stage, in addition to services relating to complex FPGA design. In 2006, NetModule launched the Wireless Router Initiative - an important milestone in the company's development. With M2M applications in the fields of automation, industry and transportation, NetModule was a real pioneer at that time. When the Swiss already presented a preconfigured complete solution offer in 2009, they took a unique position in the market and positioned themselves as trendsetters. The first generation of wireless routers was designed for use in transportation and industry and enabled applications such as condition monitoring, remote access, e-ticketing, transmission of passenger information, and later passenger WLAN and infotainment, online video surveillance and asset tracking. Since then, the knowledge and experience gained has been continuously incorporated into ongoing developments.

Video interview (german):

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