Rakon Invests in Innovation
4 May 2009, Auckland, New Zealand: Technology company Rakon is embarking on a nine million dollar research and development project which is intended to enhance the company’s competitive edge and give it a stronger hold in the emerging GPS-enabled cell phone and wireless network infrastructure markets.
Rakon CEO Brent Robinson announced that Rakon has received an investment of $4.4m from the New Zealand government’s Foundation for Research, Science and Technology for the two-year project, which he says will create revolutionary new products for the mobile and wireless communications industry.
“Rakon has always been a world leader in the development of crystal and oscillator technology, with the assistance of the Foundation, we are embarking on another significant project to create something which is innovative and truly next generation.”
“Many years ago we predicted GPS would be integrating into every mobile phone. Since then Rakon has been following focussed strategies to ensure we become a preferred supplier to major mobile phone companies.”
“A big part of that is ensuring we develop products which set new benchmarks in terms of price and performance, enabling our customers to create products previously thought to be impractical or even impossible.”
Rakon’s New Zealand engineering team of over 100 people will spearhead the development project, with contributions from its UK, French and Indian operations also being key. The company has also recently established a dedicated Project Management Office (PMO) to aid in the running of this and several other international development projects.
“This R&D project is focussed on achieving two things. Firstly, to dramatically improve the user’s experience of GPS in the mobile handset, therefore making the technology more useful and available. Secondly, to help the telecoms industry take a step forward with products to enable them to cost effectively expand network coverage and deliver greater wireless bandwidth.”
Mr. Robinson said Rakon has been developing technology to enable the next level of GPS performance for many years, but the challenge Rakon intends to tackle now is offering a product that enables entirely new applications and features to be delivered.
“Once GPS enabled handsets are able to operate more reliably and in more difficult environments, like inside shopping malls, the number of uses for the user grows phenomenally. As more people can access the technology, and see benefit, it will also help to drive greater demand.”
Rakon expects the products being developed would help it expand its market share in the rapidly-growing mobile phone GPS market, which according to Berg Insight is expected to reach 770 million units per annum by 2014.
Mr Robinson said the initial impetus to put GPS into mobile phones came from the E911 emergency positioning mandate in the USA, which is also now being regulated in Japan, Europe and a number of other countries. GPS is now the preferred technology for emergency location positioning.
“More recently, GPS is seen as a way for service providers to increase data traffic through location based services. We’re all familiar with Google maps and pedestrian navigation as today’s applications, but many other applications can add functionality from knowing the user’s location,” he said.
Increases in wireless data traffic are also putting pressure on network operators’ capacity. Rakon is at the forefront of developing timing solutions that enable the infrastructure providers to significantly increase network coverage and bandwidth.
Technologies such as femtocells, picocells, fibre optics and so on, all benefit hugely from precise timing. The products Rakon is developing now will be a major step forward in enabling third and fourth generation networks to be deployed quickly, cost effectively and easily.
Mr. Robinson went on to say, “Users will benefit through more useful applications and better user experience. Network providers will achieve greater coverage, more data based services and increased revenue. We see these benefits compelling mobile phone and wireless infrastructure companies to design Rakon technology into their next generation designs.”