Join or Sign in

Register for your free asmag.com membership or if you are already a member,
sign in using your preferred method below.

To check your latest product inquiries, manage newsletter preference, update personal / company profile, or download member-exclusive reports, log in to your account now!
Login asmag.comMember Registration
https://www.asmag.com/rankings/
INSIGHTS

Askey makes bold move to transition into solutions provider

Askey makes bold move to transition into solutions provider
Askey makes bold move to transition into solutions provider
Long known as a networking equipment manufacturer, Askey has made the bold move to transition into a solutions provider and systems integrator who played a leading role in several advanced smart city projects. Now Askey is embracing the era of 5G, which the company says will help advance smart cities and smart transportation to a new level.
Long known as a networking equipment manufacturer, Askey has made the bold move to transition into a solutions provider and systems integrator who played a leading role in several advanced smart city projects. Now Askey is embracing the era of 5G, which the company says will help advance smart cities and smart transportation to a new level.

Founded i n 1989, Askey originally made cable modems, ADSL modems and other networking equipment under original manufacturing contracts with brand customers. Its success in this regard eventually drew the attention of Taiwan’s IT giant ASUS, which acquired Askey in 2006. Yet with the increasingly competitive landscape in the networking equipment sector, Askey made the difficult yet bold move to transition into a solutions provider to find additional opportunities beyond original manufacturing, deliver further value to customers and sustain growth.

Specifically, Askey is quite focused on the smart city sector, which is seen to generate huge business potential. According to a recent IDC forecast, global spending on smart cities initiatives will total nearly US$124 billion by the end of this year, an increase of 18.9 percent over 2019. To respond to the smart city trend, Askey has rolled out a range of solutions, from connected car cams to advanced V2X units, for various smart city applications to ensure road safety and operational efficiency.

Smart city projects in Taiwan

Furthermore, to clearly demonstrate its capability in the smart city sector, Askey has clinched certain major smart city projects in Taiwan for which the company served as the leading systems integrator, among them the Smart City Loopzone system at the Taipei Main Station and Taipei City smart bus stops discussed as follows.

Taipei Main Station

In the “Taipei Main Station smart security and operation project,” Askey brought together 10 partnering companies to work on the five major components under the project namely: AR navigation, indoor positioning/ navigation infrastructure and app, smart tourism for visitors, security and smart parking. The result is a significant boost to the security, efficiency and user experience at Taipei’s largest rail hub. “Thanks to edge computing and Bluetooth beacons, the user can download the app and navigate inside Taipei Main Station by way of AR; they can follow the arrow on the screen to get to their intended place, without having to worry about getting lost,” said Robert Lin, Chairman and CEO of Askey. “These new functions at Taipei Main Station have won praise from various foreign VIPs and guests who visited the station and experienced the technology.”

Smart bus stops

For the past four years in a row, Askey has won the Taipei City smart bus stop project, which aims to facilitate and add value to passengers as they wait for buses. As of now, Askey has constructed 60 to 70 percent of Taipei City’s smart bus stops, each of which is equipped with a 55-inch LCD panel that not only shows the next bus’s arrival time but also broadcasts municipal information as well as various commercial messages. The bus stop also allows checking of balances in passengers’ Taipei Smart Cards as well as Internet surfing via Wi-Fi.

From 4G to 5G

The success Askey achieved in these projects won the attention of the Tainan City Government, which asked Askey to be a chief technology provider in the so-called “5G Tainan Team” whose main goal is to turn Tainan into a 5G city where 5G applications are used in different public arenas. For this project, Askey installed on Tainan City buses their connected car cam that transmits live, 1080p video to the traffic management center. The connected car cam is further equipped with AI analytics that detect deviation from lanes, driver fatigue and other abnormalities, ensuring the safety of the driver and passengers alike. Further, Askey also provides its V2X solutions where the onboard unit on the bus interacts with roadside units on the road infrastructure or bus stops to allow further safety and operational efficiency.

While V2X or vehicle-to-everything still mostly uses LTE or 4G technology, Lin believes the real game-changer will be 5G of which Taiwan has begun commercial operation. According to Lin, 5G is expected to bring revolutionary changes to how V2X data is communicated, further transforming “Internet of Vehicles” from a mere concept to reality.

“V2X will benefit greatly from 5G, which has the following advantages: mass connections, low latency and high speed. All this will help realize the Internet of Vehicles vision that 4G alone can’t,” Lin said. “We have invested relatively early in 5G compared to other Taiwanese manufacturers. We have been doing R&D ever since the first generation of 5G chips from Qualcomm, and we’ve been testing our products in different regions, including the United States, Europe, Japan and Asia Pacific where different 5G standards are used. Once the regional compatibility issues are solved, this will be our competitive edge over others.”

‘Solution partner’ in overseas markets

Indeed, in Taiwan, Askey has achieved much success as an integrator in various complex smart city projects. But for overseas markets where such projects are led by local integrators, Askey positions itself more as a “solution partner” whose key target countries/regions include Europe, North America, Japan, Singapore and Australia. Customers include not only major telecom and cable operators, but also end user entities beyond those segments. Especially in Japan, Askey solutions are popular among insurers, who have purchased 1 million units of the aforementioned connected car cam which captures and transmits video to the cloud, ensuring that evidence is properly kept in the event of a dispute. Another target segment in Japan is fleet management, which can benefit from the connected car cam as well as Askey’s onboard diagnostic (OBD) device that connects with the vehicle’s CAN Bus, transmitting all car-related information to the backend where the operator can then have oversight on each vehicle and its latest status.

Future focus: 5G, smart home and IoV

Even though the company has been impacted by covid-19, Lin calls it “darkness before dawn” and expects sales to get a boost in the fourth quarter. As for the future, Askey will clearly focus on three areas — 5G communications, smart home and Internet of Vehicles — and dedicate efforts and resources into these segments:the company spends billions in one year on research and development alone. Although smart city development hasn’t been going on as rapidly as anticipated, Lin believes that 5G will only accelerate its progress and ultimately contribute to its explosive growth. What Askey will do, then, is to strengthen its core capabilities, find new partners, and replicate its smart city success in Taiwan to overseas, in the process contributing to smart city growth worldwide.

Conclusion

Indeed, with the IT industry becoming more and more competitive resulting in sharp drops in prices, hardware manufacturing alone is no longer a viable option. Transitioning into a vertical-driven, valueadded solutions provider is, then, a necessary move for equipment manufacturers. In this regard, Askey has done a great job, providing specific, customizable solutions targeting specific verticals and projects, which can help generate more revenue that the company can thrive on. Askey’s example, then, is something that IT companies can learn from.


Share to:
Comments ( 0 )