Huawei acquires Neul to boost IoT offering

Chinese networking giant Huawei has deepened its commitment to IoT (Internet of Things) with the acquisition of UK startup Neul. The Cambridge-based company is focused on developing technology to embed processing and connectivity as efficiently as possible.

While neither company has chosen to make a formal announcement, Huawei provided the following comment: “Huawei has recently acquired Neul, an advanced Internet of Things (IoT) research and development facility in UK… Neul is a leading R&D and competence centre, based in Cambridge, UK, providing end-to-end solutions including chipset and platform, base-station and cloud management systems.”

We spoke to Tim Fowler, head of wireless at Cambridge Consultants, who has been tracking Neul for some time. “The challenge is to build a technology that is low enough cost to be put in billions of devices and also to provide connectivity, while keep the cost of being connected as low as possible,” he said. “Many of these potential IoT devices have never even had electronics before, let alone connectivity, so low energy use, and hence not needing to recharge, is also very important.”

Fowler explained that Huawei and Neul had recently collaborated to propose a novel wireless technology designed specifically with IoT in mind. As well as focusing on cost and low-energy, the other priority was superior indoor coverage as many future connected devices may be buried deep inside buildings.

The solution, which uses existing cellular infrastructure, but not existing standards, was presented at a recent Cambridge Wireless-hosted IoT event. You can download the presentation here. Huawei has clearly acquired Neul with the aim of providing its customers with an optimised IoT solution. If it manages to scale a technology that is currently still in its infancy, it could steal a march on its rivals in this exciting new field.

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