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Cisco's $310m Ubiquisys deal central to internet of everything push

04 Apr 2013
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Cisco has said its move to acquire UK firm Ubiquisys for $310m will help meet its desire to be at the forefront of the internet of everything drive.

The Swindon-based firm Ubiquisys specialises in mobile femtocell and LTE technology that allows operators to offload traffic from their mobile networks to fixed line service, and Cisco sees this as a key part of its wider network offerings.

Cisco's Phil SmithSpeaking to V3  Cisco UK chief executive Phil Smith (pictured) said that as more devices are set to come online with more features and capabilities, such as with new 4G services to be available later this year, networks will need to be able to take the strain.

“The reality is that as more devices get connected, it could be as much as 50 billion by 2020, you’re going to see a rising demand for rich connectivity as more information is downloaded and uploaded from all sorts of devices,” he said.

“Furthermore, with so many devices now being used by enterprises, both in the office and on-the-move there is a need to provide constant coverage that can meet workers’ needs.”

As such the technology from Ubiquisys will allow Cisco to help operators spread the load on their networks, from both 3G and 4G services, and send traffic directly into their backhaul networks, rather than via radio cell towers, which can cause congestion.

Cisco said Ubiquisys staff would be moved to Cisco and that the acquisition will close in the fourth quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2013.

Smith added that it was great for Cisco to be able to recognise the talent at a UK firm like Ubiquisys with the deal.

“Half the Cisco staff in the UK are focused on research and development and it’s great to be able to showcase the innovation in the UK and prove it’s a good place to do business and help attract talent,”he said.

Ubiquisys currently works alongside other small cell firms such as Nokia Siemens Networks and uses silicon from vendors, such as Broadcom, Texas Instruments and Intel, so it remains to be seen how these relationships will play out once the firm is fully taken into the Cisco fold.

Daryl Schoolar, principal analyst at Ovum, said the deal was a notable move by Cisco and should prove beneficial.

“Ubiquisys has over 50 customers (vendors and operators) that include Softbank (Japan), SFR (France), and Network Norway. Ubiquisys’ small cell experience greatly bolsters Cisco’s small cell position,” he said.

“The acquisition doesn’t just provide Cisco with Ubiquisys’ small cell knowhow; it also gives Cisco experience in working with a broader set of mobile operators.

He added that it would also shake-up the small cells market and could put the fear among those already in the market.

“Small cell vendors should take Cisco very seriously. Not only is Cisco greatly improving what it can offer mobile  operators  in terms of a licensed small cell, Cisco can also offer operators other tools, like data analytics, SON, and evolved packet core needed to build a mobile network,” he explained.

“This isn’t something all of Cisco’s competitors can claim.”

The deal follows hot on the heels of a move to acquire Austrian firm SolveDirect, a firm that provides tools to join and manage disparate IT systems together in a single system.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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