IoT innovators must think globally and act locally
IoT is a global market with products and services developed to meet the needs of worldwide industry, ecosystems, goods, humans and more. However, there are significant regulatory, cultural and market differences between nations and regions and these often demand localized approaches because global products are not suitable for all aspects of IoT. The preferences of people, machines and processes and requirements of business cases in different parts of the planet need to be considered alongside the regulations and economics which, put together, dictate success or failure of IoT projects.
It’s therefore essential to have research and development capabilities that not only lead invention of new ideas and capabilities for the global market but also are dispersed across the world to ensure the individual characters and requirements of local markets can be developed for and met effectively. Traditionally, centralized research and development has seen technology companies focus resources in one part of the globe and this approach has delivered excellent results because bringing smart people together in one location fosters collaboration and creates an environment in which new ideas can come together. This benefit can also be achieved in multiple locations across the globe utilizing collaboration and communication tools so a developer in Vancouver can interact and share projects with a developer in Shanghai, for example. The goal is that R&D happens globally in multiple locations, taking on regional flavours and adapting for local market needs.
IoT is a complex and global industry and research and development capabilities of vendors in this fast-moving market need to reflect this geographic diversity. Only by adopting this approach of having local research and development in multiple locations can vendors truly think globally while acting locally.
The global characteristics of IoT mean it is essential to serve the worldwide market and doing that effectively demands local presence. To further support this, Quectel is accelerating its global footprint rapidly and we now have people in countries all over the world. We are Chinese in China, Europeans in Europe and Americans in the Americas and this attitude brings us closer to customers and helps us to truly understand the needs of their specific markets.
In addition, there are practical considerations that are standard in any business relationships. Local people have complete fluency in their language and are also in the same time zone as their customers. This makes it far easier to ensure clear communication than requiring customers or workers to have calls at inconvenient times of day using a second or third language. The complexity of IoT deployments means so much can be lost in poor communication and delay can be caused to time to market because of time differences.
A great example of how Quectel approaches global IoT from a local perspective has been the initiation of our R&D facility in Belgrade, Serbia. We were looking to add European R&D capability and the highly skilled technical workforce there makes it an ideal city to target. In addition, visas are not required for travel between China and Serbia, so it makes the country a well-suited bridge between China and Europe.
We started small in 2019 looking for a facility and beginning to recruit workers. In 2020, we rented offices to support 50 people but in March 2021 we doubled this space, so we now have an office of 850 square meters. In addition, we have a lab in the same building in which we will install our anechoic chamber. This positions us to support future expansion in this part of the globe and we will be able to travel conveniently around Europe from Belgrade. In addition, customers will be able to travel here for testing and debugging and to receive whatever is necessary to support them at our lab.
We have been very fortunate in Belgrade because of the high level of technical knowledge that exists in the workplace. Our team in Serbia is composed of approximately one-third senior people with approximately ten years of experience. Another third has three-to-five years of experience while the final third are juniors.
We are now established in Serbia and some people are joining us directly from university and we are building on this in conversations with the University of Belgrade and other Serbian universities. We look forward to cementing our position in Europe with the outstanding capabilities we have assembled in our Belgrade R&D facility which will help us collaborate more closely with European customers and partners and continue to build a smarter world.