Ten Degrees Inc. wants to help you know where you're going. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based subsidiary of the manufacturer of the world's smallest MEMS chips, mCube Inc., recently entered the indoor navigation field, which ranges from finding stores in shopping malls to finding products in stores; it also offers maps of airports, subways, and public buildings as well as navigation apps yet to be discovered.
EE Times recently interviewed Ten Degrees CEO Ramesh Raman to find out why he thinks a new company dedicated to indoor navigation has a chance against the likes of Apple and Google.
Ten Degrees CEO Ramesh Raman believes that the killer app for indoor navigation has yet to be discovered.
(Source: Ten Degrees)
Ramesh Raman: Indoor navigation is an exciting field with the potential for rapid growth and at a very early stage of maturity. In these situations, a small company focused on the problem with the right ideas and a good team will always have a chance to succeed, even with well established companies participating.
EE Times: What will be the determining factor for success of a company in this space?
Raman: We believe that, to be successful, we need a combination of three factors -- an accurate and powerful navigation engine, a successful set of applications that work backwards from actual problems faced by enterprise customers and individual consumers, and the right business model.
EE Times: What made you decide to join Ten Degrees?
Raman: I saw a strong team, a world-class product, and an area that had a big potential to be a lot more than just the technology.
EE Times: Since mCube makes the world's smallest MEMS, will there be any hardware in Ten Degrees?
Raman: No. We are a software company only. We intend to have our software work with anyone's inertial sensors.
EE Times: What will be your focus?
Raman: Smartphones are the first focus, but wherever indoor navigation will be used and can be used, we will be there -- that is our charter.
EE Times: What will be your first application?
Raman: Our plan is to provide more details around our company, technology, and target applications in the coming months.
EE Times: What is your main message to the industry?
Raman: The message we want to get across is we have a strong team experienced in an area we really believe in -- which is the field of indoor navigation and the applications surrounding it. By creating a company that is entirely dedicated to this challenge, we are able to develop solutions for this area more effectively.
EE Times: What makes your team so strong?
Raman: Our team that transitioned over from mCube, including our CTO, has a strong background in both navigation and inertial sensors, which puts us in a unique position on the technology front. We also have experience developing customer-facing applications. That combination of skills is rare and an important advantage for us.
EE Times: Indoor navigation has been a strong research area for everyone from Apple to Lockheed. What makes Ten Degrees different?
Raman: There are tremendous market opportunities for an accurate indoor navigation solution for mobile devices, and we strongly believe the Ten Degrees solution is one of the most accurate and robust solutions being developed. This core strength, along with our focus on actual applications that add real value, will differentiate us in the market.
EE Times: Indoor navigation has mainly been an add-on to map apps so far. What more is there?
Raman: We believe there is a lot here beyond maps. We look forward to sharing more details on our specific plans in the coming months.
— R. Colin Johnson, Advanced Technology Editor, EE Times