Company History trimble
Mariners soon began to use GPS location information - precise position points - to calculate real-time velocity and enhance navigation and performance of vessels between points.
From 1984 to 1988, Trimble greatly increased its family of products for scientific and research applications, as well as marine navigation markets. The next two years were explosive growth years, with Trimble receiving the first of its more than 700 issued U.S. and foreign patents for advances in GPS and other technology, making GPS viable and extremely useful in dynamic situations and commercial markets. During this time, Trimble also gained important access to other commercial markets by acquiring other companies.
In 1989, Trimble acquired the Navigation Systems Division of TAU Corporation and began developing differential GPS (DGPS) technology to provide increased accuracy for the fleet management market. Trimble also made headway into new markets in 1990 by acquiring a New Zealand company, Datacom Software Research Ltd., enabling Trimble to offer new survey and mapping software products.
The early 1990s were exciting times for the growing company. In 1990, Trimble was the first GPS company to go public, offering stock on the NASDAQ (TRMB); it was also the year that Trimble's product line became solely dedicated to GPS. During all this, Trimble continued its innovation efforts. For example, Trimble was among the first companies to integrate GPS technology with communications technology - enabling users to not only precisely locate anything on the face of the earth, but to share information and messages at the same time. Trimble's Inmarsat-C GPS system enabled long-haul trucks and ships to keep in touch with home base, share forecasts about arrival times, and coordinate critically timed cargo handoffs.
In 1992, Trimble developed real-time kinematic (RTK) technology, allowing moment-by-moment GPS updates while on the move. For surveyors, this was revolutionary; GPS equipment now enabled them to do topographic mapping, stakeout, Geographic Information System (GIS) data acquisition, and as-built surveys in real-time.
Over the next several years, Trimble rapidly advanced GPS technology. In 1994, the company developed the first GPS receiver small enough to be integrated on a PC card. Just a year later, Trimble introduced the first 'plug-and-play' GPS sensor for laptops and PDAs. GPS was becoming more and more the 'new utility.' And that continued as chipsets became highly integrated, significantly lowering manufacturing costs and power consumption.
In 1998, Trimble was the first to put GPS and cellular communications on a single board; and in 1999, Trimble GPS was used in Seiko Epson's Locatio communication device, the world's first combination PDA, wireless phone, personal navigator and digital camera.
Under the leadership of Steve Berglund, Trimble has continued to grow, innovate and evolve in the new millennium. In 2000, Trimble was the first to develop a GPS architecture - FirstGPS™ technology - that uses the host product's CPU, a huge advance in enabling GPS technology to be integrated into more and more products.
Also in 2000, Trimble acquired the Spectra Precision Group, a leading provider of positioning solutions for the construction, surveying and agricultural markets. Through the acquisition, Trimble gained significant resources in positioning technology complementary to GPS, including laser and other optical devices.
That same year, Trimble also acquired Tripod Data Systems (TDS), a leading developer of data collection software and hardware for the land survey, construction and GIS markets. Both acquisitions were part of Trimble's strategic mission to define and transform the way position-centric information is used.
Trimble established the Mobile Solutions Division to offer Internet location-based services for the mobile workplace in April of 2001. The new capabilities allow Trimble to leverage its existing wireless business by offering complete end-to-end fleet management solutions as well as address the emerging market for location-enabled mobile devices.
In April of 2002, Trimble and Caterpillar began a joint venture, Caterpillar Trimble Controls Technologies LLC, to develop the next generation of advanced electronic guidance and control products for earthmoving machines in the construction, mining and waste industries. The joint venture develops machine control products that use site design information combined with accurate positioning technology to automatically control dozer blades and other machine tools. This leading-edge machine control technology combines historical Trimble positioning technology with capability gained through its acquisition of Spectra Precision. The joint venture is the exclusive supplier to Trimble and Caterpillar, who will each market, distribute, service and support the products using both companies' independent distribution channels. Caterpillar offers products as a factory-installed option, while Trimble continues to address the aftermarket with products for earthmoving machines from Caterpillar and other equipment manufacturers.
Trimble and Nikon Corporation formed a 50-50 joint venture in Japan, Nikon-Trimble Co., Ltd., to address the survey instruments market in March of 2003. As part of the joint venture, Trimble acquired a 50 percent ownership stake in Nikon-Trimble Co., Ltd., which assumed the operations of Nikon Geotecs Co., Ltd. in Japan. The new entity focuses on the design and manufacture of surveying instruments including mechanical total stations and related products. In Japan, the joint venture distributes Nikon's survey products as well as Trimble's survey products including GPS and robotic total stations. Outside of Japan, Trimble became the exclusive distributor of Nikon survey and construction products. The joint venture enhances Trimble's market position in survey instruments through geographic expansion and market penetration. The Nikon instruments broaden Trimble's survey and construction product portfolio and enable the Company to better access emerging markets in Russia, Eastern Europe, India and China. It provides Trimble with the ability to sell its GPS and robotic technology to existing Nikon customers around the world. Additionally, the new company improves Trimble's market position in Japan, which remains a major market for survey instruments.
In June of 2003, Trimble acquired Applanix Corporation of Ontario, a leading developer of systems that integrate Inertial Navigation System (INS) and GPS technologies. The acquisition extends Trimble's technology portfolio and can enable increased robustness and capabilities in its future positioning products. A focus is in the survey and construction product lines where GPS, augmented with INS technology, offers the potential of improved satellite tracking and faster reacquisition times for precision RTK positioning. This is particularly important in cases where GPS satellite signals are obstructed in difficult environments such as high-rise urban or heavily forested areas.
In December of 2003, Trimble acquired French-based company MENSI S.A., a leading developer of terrestrial 3D scanning technology. The addition of 3D scanning to Trimble's other positioning technologies accelerates the development of new products that enhance productivity in Trimble's existing surveying, engineering and construction markets. 3D scanning enables users to collect and use much higher amounts of 3D data than other tools.
Trimble acquired TracerNet Corporation of Chantilly, Virginia in February 2004. The addition of TracerNet's wireless fleet management solutions enables Trimble to expand its mobile resource management (MRM) solutions to include enterprise software applications.
Trimble acquired GeoNav GmbH of Wunstorf, Germany, a provider of customized field data collection solutions for the cadastral survey market in Europe, in July of 2004. The addition of GeoNav's software resources, expertise and products enable Trimble to better address local application requirements and provide customized survey solutions for the European market. GeoNav's suite of software products work seamlessly with Trimble's complete line of surveying systems including GPS rovers, base stations and optical total stations; they also provide acquisition, processing and display of precise real-time surveys.
To expand its wireless communication capabilities, Trimble acquired Pacific Crest Corporation of Santa Clara, California, in January of 2005. Pacific Crest is a leading supplier of wireless data communication systems for positioning and environmental monitoring applications. Pacific Crest's high-quality radio modems provide the necessary data link to increase GPS accuracy. Applications that can take advantage of wireless communications for precision performance includes RTK surveying and construction machine control for earthmoving operations.
In April of 2005, Trimble acquired Apache Technologies, Inc. of Dayton, Ohio. Apache designs, manufactures, and distributes professional laser products for construction leveling and alignment applications. The Apache acquisition extend Trimble's laser product portfolio for handheld laser detectors and entry-level machine displays and control systems. Apache's products set new standards for performance, accuracy, ruggedness, reliability, and repeatability in their respective markets and price ranges.
To better address field workforce management, Trimble acquired MobileTech Solutions, Inc. (MTS) of Dallas, Texas in October of 2005. MTS provides field workforce automation solutions and has a leading market position in the Direct Store Delivery (DSD) segment. Today, there are approximately 200,000 vehicles in the DSD segment. The MTS solution automates the sale and delivery of high-volume consumer products such as baked goods, beverages, dairy, frozen foods and snacks to retail stores. It provides real-time information to mobile field workers via handheld mobile computing devices to improve customer service levels, on-time deliveries and accurate invoicing. The turnkey solution includes mobile hardware and software that seamlessly integrates with a supplier's existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system. With the acquisition, Trimble can now offer highly integrated fleet management and mobile computing solutions into the DSD segment.
In January of 2006, Trimble acquired Advanced Public Safety, Inc. (APS) of Deerfield Beach, Florida. APS is a leading software development company that creates mobile and handheld software products used by law enforcement, fire-rescue and other public safety agencies. APS's software provides real-time information to police officers via in-vehicle computers and handheld mobile computing devices to improve safety, productivity and accuracy. The APS software seamlessly integrates with a public safety agency's Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD), criminal databases and Records Management Systems (RMS). In addition, APS offers a variety of software solutions for fire and rescue personnel to complete inspection and emergency medical reports as well as mapping and Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) applications. With the APS acquisition, Trimble plans to leverage its Tripod Data Systems' rugged mobile computing devices and Trimble Mobile Solutions' fleet management systems to provide complete mobile resource solutions for the public safety industry.
Trimble acquired intellectual property assets from The XYZs of GPS, Inc. of Dickerson, Maryland in February of 2006. The XYZs of GPS develops real-time Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) reference station, integrity monitoring and dynamic positioning software for meter, decimeter and centimeter applications. The purchase of The XYZs of GPS intellectual property extends Trimble's product portfolio of infrastructure solutions by providing software that enhances differential GNSS correction systems used in marine aides to navigation, surveying, civil engineering, hydrography, mapping and GIS, and scientific applications.
In April of 2006, Trimble acquired Quantm International, Inc. and its subsidiary Quantm Ltd. of Australia. Quantm is a leader in transportation route optimization software used for planning highways, railways, pipelines and canals. The innovative software system enables infrastructure planners to examine and select route corridors and alignments that simultaneously optimize construction costs, environmental restrictions, existing feature avoidance and legislative obligations. The improved solution for the proposed route results in significant reductions in project planning time and cost. Transportation route alignments generated by Quantm's software add another piece to Trimble's Connected Construction Site strategy by forming a closer link between the planning and design phases of a transportation project. The ultimate goal of the Connected Site seeks to improve efficiency through a tighter integration of construction process information.
Trimble acquired Eleven Technology, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts in May of 2006. Eleven Technology is a mobile application software company with a leading market and technology position in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry. Eleven Technology's solution automates the sale and delivery of high-volume consumer products such as baked goods, beverages, dairy, frozen foods and snacks to retail stores. It provides real-time information to mobile field workers via handheld mobile computing devices to improve customer service levels, on-time deliveries and accurate invoicing. Eleven Technology has a complete solution suite for the CPG industry including applications for sales representatives, delivery drivers, merchandisers, field service technicians and supervisors. The solution includes mobile hardware and software that seamlessly integrates with a supplier's existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system. With the acquisition of Mobile Tech Solutions and Eleven Technology, Trimble is well positioned to lead this vertical segment as well as leverage our mobile workforce and fleet management applications into a fully integrated mobile resource management solution.
In May of 2006, Trimble acquired the assets of BitWyse Solutions, Inc. of Salem, Massachusetts. BitWyse is a leading data management company specializing in 2D and 3D software applications for engineering and construction plant design. The purchase of BitWyse's assets extends Trimble's product portfolio of 3D scanning solutions by providing application-specific software capabilities within the Power, Process, and Plant vertical markets. These markets are increasingly utilizing 3D scanning data to create as-built drawings, verify construction specifications and improve productivity.
In October of 2006, Trimble acquired Visual Statement Inc., of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. Visual Statement provides state-of-the-art software tools for crime and collision incident investigation, analysis and reconstruction, as well as state-wide enterprise solutions for reporting and analysis used by public safety agencies. The company is an additional investment in the Mobile Solutions business segment that supports Trimble's strategy of providing productivity solutions for mobile workers. The Visual Statement acquisition complements Trimble's subsidiary, Advanced Public Safety (APS).The combination of APS and Visual Statement will provide a comprehensive suite of solutions to offer public safety agencies throughout the Americas.
Trimble acquired XYZ Solutions, Inc., of Alpharetta, Georgia in October of 2006. XYZ Solutions provides real-time, interactive 3D intelligence software to manage the spatial aspects of a construction project. The software transforms data from various sources into actionable information that can be used in the decision making process to reduce rework and improve productivity for engineering and construction professionals. XYZ Solutions' unique 3D software package allows users to model spatial information combined with positioning technologies to virtually "see" a construction site or asset, from anywhere, at any time, in a collaborative Internet-based environment. Within its interactive environment, decision support guidelines or business rules can be integrated into the solution set to virtually model "what-if" scenarios on a project in real-time increasing customer awareness and profitability. The acquisition of XYZ Solutions adds a 3D visualization component to Trimble's Connected Construction Site strategy.
In November of 2006, Trimble acquired Meridian Systems, Inc., of Folsom, California. Meridian Systems is an established market leader in construction project management technologies to the building owner and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) market segments. Meridian Systems provides enterprise project management and lifecycle software for optimizing the plan, build and operate lifecycle for real estate, construction and other physical infrastructure projects. Building owners, construction contractors, engineering firms, and government agencies use Meridian technology to reduce capital construction costs and improve project productivity. The acquisition of Meridian Systems adds the business and lifecycle management software component to Trimble's Connected Construction Site.
Trimble acquired Spacient Technologies, Inc. of Long Beach, California in November of 2006. Spacient is a leading provider of enterprise field service management and mobile mapping solutions for municipalities and utilities. The acquisition enhances Trimble's GIS and Mapping business by further expanding its solutions for the field and mobile workforce-a strategic area of focus for the Company.
In February of 2007, Trimble acquired publicly-traded @Road, Inc. of Fremont, California to expand its investment in Trimble's Mobile Solutions (TMS) while also reinforcing its existing growth strategy for the segment. The acquisition positions Trimble as a market leader in providing Mobile Resource Management (MRM) solutions. In addition to its industry-leading technology, @Road has developed deep domain expertise and a strong field service management capability within its MRM solution set to address challenges faced by a variety of industries, including transportation, distribution, telecommunications, cable, field service, utilities, facilities management and public works. This complements Trimble's existing domain expertise in the construction supply, direct store delivery, public safety and utilities industries.
Also in February of 2007, Trimble acquired INPHO GmbH of Stuttgart, Germany. INPHO is a leader in photogrammetry and digital surface modeling for aerial surveying, mapping and remote sensing applications. INPHO products are used by service companies offering geospatial data collection by photogrammetry and LIDAR as well as state authorities involved in supplying geospatial information. Photogrammetry adds a new dimension to Trimble to address the geospatial information industry, which has primarily focused on ground or terrestrial-based positioning solutions.
In September of 2007, Trimble acquired Ingenieurbüro Breining GmbH of Kirchheim, Germany. Breining is a provider of customized field data collection and office software solutions for the German survey and cadastral market. The addition of Breining software resources, expertise and products enable Trimble to further address local application requirements and provide customized survey solutions for the German market.
To extend Trimble's portfolio of field and mobile worker solutions within the utilities market, the company acquired the UtilityCenter® assets from privately-held UAI, Inc. of Huntsville, Alabama in November of 2007. UtilityCenter software provides a comprehensive suite of workflow solutions designed to automate the daily business operations of utilities—from work management, asset inventory, outage management and job order tracking to regulatory compliance reporting and updating maps while in the field. The acquisition of the UtilityCenter software enables Trimble to offer industry-specific field solutions to electric and gas utility customers. With a complete line of rugged data collection and mobile computing devices, TerraSync field asset software and UtilityCenter software, Trimble customers can now streamline many of their complex day-to-day operations. UtilityCenter software for the electric and gas utility market complements Trimble Fieldport software designed for the water/wastewater utility market.
Trimble acquired privately-held Crain Enterprises, Inc. of Mound City, Illinois, in January of 2008. Crain is a leading manufacturer of accessories for the geomatics, surveying, mapping, and construction industries. Crain's product lines include tripods, bipods, leveling rods, measuring rulers, prisms, prism and GPS poles, stream gauges, wire installation tools, as well as bags, packs, and sewn carrying cases for surveying and positioning instruments. The purchase of Crain allows Trimble to provide the necessary accessories that can be offered as part of its positioning solutions used in the Engineering and Construction markets. In addition, Crain and Trimble will be able to leverage distribution channels.
To further address local application requirements and provide customized survey solutions across Germany and in Europe, Trimble acquired privately-held HHK Datentechnik GmbH of Braunschweig, Germany in January of 2008. HHK is a provider of customized office and field software solutions for the cadastral survey market in Germany.
Trimble acquired privately-held Géo-3D Inc. of Montreal, Canada also in January of 2008. Géo-3D is a leader in roadside infrastructure asset inventory solutions. The acquisition of Géo-3D extends Trimble's portfolio of field solutions to include mobile mapping specific to the transportation and utilities market. Géo-3D's geo-referenced land videography system rapidly documents images and positioning information to catalog roadside infrastructure such as road signs, guardrails, light poles and other assets. By automating roadside asset inventory management, transportation and utility organizations can increase productivity throughout the infrastructure's lifecycle.
In July of 2008, Trimble acquired a second engineering and construction accessories company, SECO Manufacturing Company of Redding, California. The purchase of SECO complements the Crain acquisition. SECO specializes in the development, fabrication and machining of metallic accessory products while Crain is more focused on polymer and composite-based products. These capabilities are expected to permit marked improvements in functionality for customers in next generation products. In addition, Trimble, SECO and Crain will be able to leverage distribution channels throughout the world.
In October of 2008, Trimble acquired the assets of RolleiMetric from Rollei GmbH of Braunschweig, Germany. RolleiMetric is a leading provider of metric camera systems for aerial imaging and terrestrial close range photogrammetry. RolleiMetric products broadens Trimble's portfolio of engineering scale mapping and asset management solutions. RolleiMetric's Aerial Industrial Camera (AIC) has established an excellent reputation with aerial mapping system original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and end users, and complements Trimble's existing Spatial Imaging solutions as well as aerial imaging solutions offered by its subsidiaries Applanix and INPHO. Additionally, RolleiMetric personnel will enable Trimble to bring metric camera optics and mechanical design expertise in-house. With a customer base in Europe, North and South America, and Asia, RolleiMetric products are used by service companies collecting geospatial data by photogrammetry as well as state authorities and municipalities involved in supplying geospatial information.
Trimble and Caterpillar announced a second joint venture in October 2008. The new company, VirtualSite Solutions, will integrate the deep expertise of both parent companies in the areas of product design and software development to transform the way contractors manage their businesses. The joint venture will create information rich worksites allowing customers to more efficiently and safely manage their equipment fleets, reduce operating costs and improve productivity in the area of fuel consumption, maintenance, worksite productivity and fleet logistics. Additionally, a new distribution channel will be established to bring these technologies to customers and other users. The new dealer distribution channel will be branded SITECH, and it will be the outlet for products and services for the aftermarket. Trimble will have primary responsibility for managing the SITECH dealer relationship.
To expand its precision agriculture solutions, Trimble acquired the assets of privately-held Tru Count, Inc., of Ames, Iowa in October of 2008. Tru Count is a leading manufacturer of air and electric clutches that automate individual planter row shut-off. Tru Count air and electric clutches work on a variety of planters, regardless of make or model. The low-cost Tru Count Air Clutch is placed on each planter row and is controlled with compressed air—pneumatically from the tractor cab by a GPS system or manual controller. The technology makes it easier for farmers to avoid over planting seed and can save on input costs.
Trimble acquired TopoSys GmbH of Biberach an der Riss, Germany in November of 2008. TopoSys is a leading provider of aerial data collection systems comprised of LiDAR and metric cameras. TopoSys aerial data collection systems are used by service companies collecting geospatial data by LiDAR and photogrammetry as well as state authorities and municipalities involved in supplying geospatial information. Typical applications include mapping for coastline protection, floodplain control, city modeling, opencast pit mining, and corridor mapping.
The acquisition extends Trimble's portfolio of engineering scale mapping and asset management solutions.
In December of 2008, Trimble acquired the assets of privately-held Rawson Control Systems based in Oelwein, Iowa. Rawson manufactures hydraulic and electronic controls for the agriculture equipment industry, including variable rate planter drives and controllers, variable rate fertilizer controllers, mechanical remote electric control valves and speed reducers. Rawson's products work in conjunction with the Trimble® FieldManager™ Display which monitors and controls up to four inputs such as seed, fertilizer and crop protection. The controllers can be operated either automatically by GPS solutions or manually, both of which are supported by Trimble's portfolio of assisted steering or manual guidance products. With the addition of Rawson's technology, Trimble adds to its fully-integrated solution in the flow and application control market, allowing growers to choose how to guide, monitor, control and automate their farm machinery.
Also in December of 2008, Trimble acquired the FastMap and GeoSite software assets from KOREC, a privately-held Trimble distributor serving the United Kingdom and Ireland. The acquisition, which includes software development, professional services and business development teams, will allow Trimble to expand its Mapping and GIS solutions to provide optimized software and professional services in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
In January of 2009, Trimble announced that it had acquired the assets of privately-held Callidus Precision Systems GmbH of Halle, Germany. Callidus is a provider of 3D laser scanning solutions for the industrial market. Callidus' products enhance Trimble's 3D scanning portfolio, with both close- and mid- range scanning technology. The Callidus CP 3200 time-of-flight and the Callidus CPW 8000 pulse-wave scanners are utilized for applications within the power and manufacturing process plant markets as well as in shipbuilding and offshore applications. Spatial data captured by 3D scanners is used throughout the plant lifecycle including design, operation and maintenance. The Callidus portfolio also includes the CT 180 and CT 900 close-range scanners used in dimensional inspection and quality control applications.
In March of 2009, Trimble acquired privately-held QuickPen International based in Englewood, Colo. QuickPen is a leading provider of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), mechanical construction and plumbing industry. QuickPen provides estimating, Computer Aided Design (CAD), fabrication and asset tracking software. The company's state-of-the-art 3D CAD software produces detailed HVAC ductwork and piping models that can be rapidly fabricated. In addition, QuickPen's asset management program allows contractors to manage their significant investment in tools and equipment. The acquisition enables Trimble to provide complete “BIM to field” solutions for mechanical and HVAC contractors to automate project estimating, detailing, layout and construction.
In May of 2009, Trimble and the China Aerospace Science & Industry Academy of Information Technology (CASIC-IT) signed a definitive agreement to form a joint venture in China. The joint venture, 50 percent owned by Trimble and 50 percent owned by CASIC-IT, will combine the commercial expertise, knowledge and technologies of both CASIC-IT and Trimble to develop, manufacture and distribute in China Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers and systems, based on the Chinese Compass satellite system, for civil applications in the commercial positioning, navigation and timing markets. The joint venture will be based in Beijing, China.
In June of 2009, Trimble acquired privately-held NTech Industries based in Ukiah, Calif. NTech is a leading provider of crop-sensing technology that allows farmers to reduce costs and environmental impact by controlling the application of nitrogen, herbicide and other crop inputs. The acquisition further expands Trimble's ability to offer innovative field applications for fa