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Pushing RTLS into the Mainstream

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“Quuppa, an Espoo, Finland-based provider of Real-Time Locating Systems (RTLS), recently raised its first round of funding, worth €20m, to take its technology global. Led by Kimmo Kalliola, CEO and Founding Partner, Quuppa provides an Intelligent Locating System that enables customers in a variety of industries to locate Bluetooth- enabled devices. Its methodology and positioning algorithms enable real-time tracking down to centimetre-level accuracy. The technology is used in several vertical markets, improving the production and operational efficiency in many factories and warehouses globally. Covid-19 has created new use cases for RTLS, according to Mr. Kalliola. Quuppa can help to combat the spread of viruses through its partners’ applications for social distancing, contact tracing and process monitoring.”

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Quuppa was founded in 2012, but has its origins in a Nokia research project into location-based services that started seven years earlier. Mr. Kalliola saw an opportunity for the technology in asset tracking, rather than in consumer-facing applications. Quuppa has grown steadily ever since and to date has sold 2,000 systems around the world. It has over 170 partners worldwide. In addition to Finland, the company has offices in the United States, China, Australia and the United Arab Emirates.

Quuppa’s growth coincides with the growth of the market for RTLS overall. The technology is showing signs of entering the mainstream, particularly in healthcare, where it is used for asset tracking and to streamline healthcare worker and patient flow. Mr. Kalliola argues, however, that there is still some work to be done in maturing the technology. “Our ambition is to appeal to a broader market with easily scalable plug and play solutions.”

The scale of (potential) use cases for RTLS is very wide, he adds, ranging from sports through to healthcare, manufacturing and security. He expects that RTLS will in the future be embedded into smart buildings. Companies today already use Quuppa’s systems to optimise the use of their office or manufacturing space, for example, and to help ensure social distancing in a global pandemic. Another example is in sports: two ice hockey leagues use Wisehockey, based on Quuppa technology, to trace their players and the hockey puck, with centimetre-level accuracy, a pretty impressive feat when considering that the puck can travel at a speed of more than 100 miles an hour. “An ice hockey team from Canada contacted our partner, Wisehockey, to get data on how much time they spend within two metres of each other to help decide if they can restart the league,” Mr. Kalliola adds.

The company will use the funds they recently raised on developing plug and play solutions through a cloud-based delivery platform that makes the system more scalable and easier to install. Another priority is to broaden and tighten their partner network. Sari Arjamo-Tuominen, Senior VP Marketing at Quuppa, is tasked with creating a premium partner programme. “With our Nokia background and through our partners, our outlook has been global from the start,” she points out. Quuppa’s backers included Bocap and Tech Consulting Group TCG Oy (TCG). Both have ample experience in scaling up technology companies.

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