Insight Bite: Decawave snapped up as Micro Location revolution takes hold

The development of ultra-wideband (UWB) chips is driving growth in the Indoor Positioning market, which is widely predicted to expand at double-digit rates over the next few years.

In a deal thought to be worth £310 million, Dublin-headquartered UWB chipmaker Decawave has accepted a takeover bid from American semiconductor supplier Qorvo.

Decawave’s UWB chips can pinpoint a location to within a few inches or feet, providing much greater accuracy than GPS. This makes them useful in a range of industries. Decawave’s UWB silicon has been sewn inside basketballs to track their movement, embedded in smart suitcases that automatically follow their owners, and used extensively for automatically billed parking in the smart cities of China, which account for more than half of Decawave’s business.

Under Qorvo ownership, Decawave could find even more uses for its UWB chips, and not just in the new iPhone for which Qorvo are a key supplier:

“We believe [Decawave] will enhance Qorvo’s product and technology leadership while expanding new opportunities in mobile, automotive and IoT.”  said president of Qorvo mobile products Eric Creviston in a statement.

Decawave is the latest of over 25 indoor location companies to be acquired in recent years as interest in UWB chips has grown. Stand out deals include the lighting firm Acuity Brands’ purchase of indoor mapping company LocusLabs in December 2019, and Siemens’ March 2018 takeover of Agilion – another pioneer of UWB solutions.

Despite the slowdown amidst the trade war and increased intervention from regulators, the broader semiconductor industry seems to be bouncing back. 2019 saw several deals valued at $1 billion or more, with many driven by demand for wireless connectivity chips like UWB and others, along with networking and automotive chips.

Looking ahead, this resurgence is likely to gain momentum as semiconductor firms continue to pursue these high-growth areas.

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