Sensirion buys Koubachi, boosts cloud-based technology
Zurich-based Sensirion recently acquired neighbouring cloud business Koubachi AG in a move to meet the increasing demand for cloud-based sensor data management and services.
The acquisition brings a handful of software and cloud-infrastructure experts to the small Swiss company, including Koubachi's founder Dr. Moritz Köhler who now heads software development at Sensirion.
Initially a sensor company developing tiny humidity, temperature, and multi-gas sensors, Sensirion has been increasingly developing as a software provider to help OEMs with the integration of its sensors in smartphones.
"This is a strategic move; we want to be able to provide all the code our customers need, and we want to have an IoT infrastructure that allows us to store our sensor data and process it through algorithms on the cloud," told us Andrea Orzati, vice president Mobile & Consumer Business at Sensirion.
Although Koubachi AG had designed a Wi-Fi Plant Sensor measuring soil moisture, temperature, and light intensity (akin to Parrot's Flower Power solution) and reporting the data to end-users via a smartphone application, Sensirion's sensors were not involved in the Koubachi design.
But the way they collected and analysed the data meant they understood very well what Sensirion's cloud requirements would be. This part of the business which now belongs to Sensirion has developed and licensed cloud server products for processing high volume sensor data for well-known manufacturers in Europe and the United States.
Sensirion's Andrea Orzati. (Source: Sensirion)
"We want to establish ourselves as the leading environment sensing company for the mobile industry," explained Orzati, providing the sensors but also the software stacks both for OEMs that are buying the sensors and for third-party application developers who will require the data.
With the Koubachi acquisition, Sensirion strengthens its software activity and hopes to provide added-value to the hardware it sells, although the strategy for data monetisation is not yet clear cut.
"For every particular market we approach, the cloud can be used to generate a particular value in different ways" said Orzati.
One possibility could be to aggregate the sensor data in one central hub and deliver different accesses and services, as it is the case for a number of other IoT data management businesses.
To ease the integration of its sensor technology, Sensirion has worked with Google to enhance the Android API with an interface for temperature and humidity measurement.
"Some years ago, when the Android OS was starting to go mainstream, we wanted to make it easy for OEMs to use our sensors' data in Android. We actively approached Google and sat down with them to specify an API (application programming interface) specific to humidity and temperature, building a clear interface for everyone to use," recalls Orzati.
"We implemented it and they liked it; it was then released in Android, as open-source."