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“India is a very important and promising market”
Tell us about the transition from Thales to Magellan?
At the end of August, private equity firm Shah Capital Partners (SCP) completed the acquisition of Thales Navigation and the company was renamed Magellan. This is a great milestone for the company and puts us in a position to compete more effectively as an independent GPS/GIS company with a focused shareholder who brings great operational expertise to the mix. The entire company – consumer and professional businesses – is part of the acquisition so we will continue to serve the survey, GIS, OEM and consumer markets we serve today.
We plan to expand our business and build on our unique ability to leverage the high-volume consumer manufacturing and ease-of-use expertise to bring cost-effective and user-friendly solutions to the professional markets. We see significant interest in the Survey/ GIS markets in particular, for more accessible solutions and we will also tap businesses that have not been able yet to take advantage of GPS.
Your key products?
Our survey and GIS products are now marketed under the Magellan Professional brand – a brand that illustrates both the heritage and pioneering force of our company, but also conveys that this product line is designed for professionals. The flagship products in this line include the ProMark3, Z-Max. Net and the MobileMapper CE. All of these solutions are flexible products that allow customers to get the GPS functionality and performance they need at a cost that their business can afford. – ProMark3 is a centimeter accurate GPS survey solution that also allows surveyors to offer GIS services without further investment in equipment. ProMark3 continues the leadership of the ProMark2, the best-selling single-frequency GPS survey receiver on the market. – The Z-Max.Net GNSS surveying system is one of the .Net generation of Magellan solutions
that offer VRS, FKP, NTRIP and GPRS, RTCM V3.0 network communication. It’s also the most flexible survey GPS available, offering simplicity of operation and the strongest RTK in the business. – MobileMapper CE is also part of the .Net generation, offering the same communication flexibility for mobile mapping professionals. By teaming with a variety of software business partners such as ESRI, Geosurf, Geospatial Experts and others, the MobileMapper CE is the perfect handheld GPS data collector for applications like asset management, utilities, forestry, agriculture and many more.
How are your offerings different from the others?
In addition to being more flexible than offerings from competitors, Magellan Professional solutions offer leading technology advantages but with a lower investment both in terms of learning curve and expense. ProMark3, for example,is half the cost of the nearest competitor and allows surveyors to perform centimeter accurate surveys with only three-screen operation in the field. ProMark3 guarantees easier operation, faster survey and reliable data. Magellan Prism™ technology reduces survey data collection time significantly over competitors for a marked increase in productivity. Our products are all about giving an advantage in productivity to customers and we can only do that if we provide features that enable rapid surveying and data collection like fast signal acquisition, multiple communication options, and ease of use.
How do you differentiate your consumer and professional products?
The customers are very different so naturally the solutions are also very different. Our consumer products focus on navigation and are based on 3-meter accuracy, which is plenty accurate enough for consumer usage scenarios. They incorporate features like multimedia and points of interest, waypoint tracking, and other applications that are useful to drivers and outdoor enthusiasts. Magellan Professional products can benefit from some of these “consumer” features and from underlying technologies, such as Bluetooth connectivity, color touchscreen and turn-by-turn route guidance. However the professional products require much higher accuracies for the collection of positioning data, enhanced ruggedness, strong performance and reliability of surveys. Both product lines benefi t from increasingly more portable form factors, power consumption advances, simpler user interfaces and cost-reduction, but a higher level of performance and accuracy will continue to be key in the professional line.
How do you educate your potential customers?
Introducing the Magellan Professional brand is one of the important first steps in this education. We don’t want our professional customers to mistake the Magellan brand for a consumer brand, so we have dedicated a professional brand to this business. We plan to remind customers and prospects frequently in the next few months through advertising and other communication campaigns that highlight the “Professional” in Magellan Professional. And when you are talking about the integration of GLONASS, Instant RTK technology, and centimeter-accurate surveying, it’s unlikely that our professional customers will be confused about the level of performance Magellan Professional solutions provide compared to Magellan consumer products.
How do you see the advent of GNSS systems like Galileo?
Magellan is a huge proponent of Galileo and has been intimately involved in the development of the first Galileo receivers. The introduction of this system underscores the coming expansion of this market. Galileo will increase signal availability when it’s fully deployed, but it will be years still before it is, so for now, we are adamant about not passing on the cost of incorporating a technology that can offer no benefit to our customers. When Galileo is ready for deployment, we’ll be among the first to provide compatibility and dual functionality in products where the benefi t will truly be felt by the customer.
How prepared are you to offer products and services compatible to the range of existing and proposed GNSS systems?
Magellan – then Ashtech – created the very first GLONASS receivers and, as I mentioned, we have been at the forefront of Galileo receiver development, so we probably have a technology advantage over competitors in this area. We have chipsets today that are Galileo-ready. The implementation of technology compatible with these systems is not an obstacle for Magellan. However, we are committed to providing these technologies when they can benefit the customer. Otherwise, we’re just playing a marketing game and selling technologies to customers that they can’t possibly use today.
What are your strategies to deal with the market like India which is too price sensitive?
Markets like India are actually the strongest opportunities for our growth because Magellan has a cost structure and product options that can meet the stringest price demands of these regions. No competitor will be able to offer the low-cost solutions that Magellan can because of it’s highvolume consumer manufacturing. We see India as a very important and promising market both with Survey and GIS and view Indian users as being very technically savvy in the purchase and use of GNSS receivers. In the region we see an above average adoption of our GNSS technology in India versus other countries in the region.