Option reports First Half Year 2013 results
Option started a new business model focused on the M2M market which is expected to grow in the coming years as the vision of the 'Internet of Things' gradually becomes reality.
With CloudGate Option targets niche and specialised markets that are less volume driven and more focused on added value, local presence, services and product related features, both soft- and hardware, that allow it to be better adapted for the targeted segment or application.
In contrast to competing products, CloudGate can be easily adapted or expanded to specific use cases and this both on hard- and software level. To this extent Option has, using the experience it has gained in developing previous products, developed an end to end M2M application development and deployment system. The CloudGate solution includes a Cloud based application and configuration provisioning system and a stable, reliable routing platform with a sophisticated software development kit. The routing platform is based on an open source platform with proprietary extensions and a full automated test suite that allows Option to quickly extend the platform to meet customer needs while maintaining a very high level of quality; indispensible in a market where devices are deployed to remote, inaccessible locations. The CloudGate hardware incorporates flexible hardware expansion card bays which allow the CloudGate hardware to adapt to multiple different M2M segments.
From a hardware perspective CloudGate offers an important expansion possibility to its users. This allows users to transform the product into a more versatile solution that can be used for digital signage applications (when combined with the Ethernet expansion card), for different telematics use cases (when combined with the telematics expansion card), in a WiFi environment (when combined with the WiFi expansion card), etc...
The software and hardware expandability allows the user to transform and adapt the basic product very easily and to tailor-make a truly optimised solution.
Furthermore, the product differentiates by its ease of deployment particularly in environments where custom software needs to run on the CloudGate. These types of solutions are becoming more and more prevalent as M2M applications generate large amounts of data which requires pre-processing before being sent to remote systems. Because of its high degree of adaptability, CloudGate is sold through various channels and in collaboration with different partners including; network operators, system integrators, value added resellers, value add distributors, equipment manufacturers and others.
CloudGate was first introduced in the US market. Since the product launch, Option has announced partnerships with distributors (e.g. GetWireless), leading US System Integrators and developers (such as ILS, ClearConnex, Exosite, Hilton Development Group, and many others). Via this partner network CloudGate has been introduced as a part of a number of M2M partner solutions and sales of CloudGate have continued to increase. Option has received positive feedback on the product and it continues to work on further expanding the ecosystem to secure a good market coverage and presence in the different M2M segments. With Cloud Gate Option is competing for some of the existing and new projects in the U.S. M2M market.
Leveraging its in-depth technical and telecom market knowledge, Option has been able to have CloudGate certified with the leading carriers in North America, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Telus and Bell Mobility. The product is also compliant with FCC, PTCRB, IC, RoHS and REACH standards.
As Option is a new name in the M2M market, the sales cycle has been longer than anticipated with long pilot programs before final acceptance. While the length of the sales cycle is a challenge it also shows the importance that customers place on reliability and product quality when selecting an M2M gateway and this plays directly to Option's strengths as a company.
Following demand of different European parties Option started to investigate and develop a European introduction plan for CloudGate in the first half of 2013. The implementation of this plan has started at the beginning of the third quarter. As of now CloudGate is also available in Europe via a number of partners.
These developments demonstrate that the Group has shifted from commodity hardware devices for mobile operators, towards end-to-end solutions for both business and consumer markets. The product portfolio is focused on vertical markets such as automotive, financial services, security and surveillance.
In addition to CloudGate, the Company continues to offer other products such as the robust GS3.5 gateway, the XYFI 3G routers with accessories and a variety of embedded modules integrated in laptops, tablets, and different M2M applications.
Financial Highlights of the first half fiscal year 2013
- Total revenues for the first half year of 2013 were EUR 5.1 million compared with EUR 23.3 million realized in the first half of 2012. Product related revenues decreased from EUR 6.0 million to EUR 4.4 million, while software and license revenue decreased from EUR 17.2 million to EUR 0.7 million. Due to the expiration of the license agreement with Huawei, there are no more revenues reported in 2013 under this agreement (2012: EUR 16.5 million of revenues for the first half year).
- Gross margin for the first half year 2013 was 34.1 % on total revenues (excluding exceptional items, gross margin was 27.3 %), compared with a gross margin of 75.6 % for the comparable period in 2012 which was positively impacted by the revenue received from license with Huawei.
- Compared to the first half year 2012, total operating expenses in the first half year 2013 decreased from EUR 14.1 million to EUR 8.7 million by reducing development, sales and marketing costs and general and administrative expenses. The reduction includes incentives received from the Belgian government agency for salaries of research personnel and the downsizing of the group in 2012-2013 (close of the site of Augsburg).
- The increase in provision is largely accounted for by the redundancy payment paid in July for 10 employees in Cork and totaling EUR 0.3 million.
- Financial costs increased significantly, mainly due to the interests to be paid on the convertible bond that was issued at the end of the first quarter 2013.
- The first half year 2013 EBIT and net result amounted to respectively EUR -7.0 million and EUR -7.2 million compared with EUR 3.5 million and EUR 3.7 million during the corresponding period in 2012.
- The cash position increased from EUR 3.1 million at the end of 2012 to EUR 5.6 million thanks to proceeds from borrowings (convertible bond) of EUR 9.0 million, and use in operating activities of EUR 5.0 million.
Option connects Things to the Cloud. With more than 20 years of experience and many industry's firsts in the wireless industry, the Company is ideally positioned to bring the most efficient, reliable and secure wireless solutions to business markets (B2B) and industrial markets (M2M). The Company partners with system integrators, value added resellers, application platform providers, value add distributors and network operators to bring tailor made solutions to end-customers. Option is headquartered in Belgium, has a production engineering and logistics facility in Ireland and maintains offices in Europe, the US, Greater China, Japan and Australia. More information: www.option.com