Chief Executive Officer K.C. Liu revealed the new focus and structure of Taiwan-based Advantech (www.advantech.com) before a crowd of more than 500 partners from around the globe at its Worldwide Partner Conference in Suzhou, China (just outside Shanghai) Oct. 29-30. The theme was going from "Trusted ePlatform" to "Enabling a Smarter Planet."
Advantech, at its core, is an electronics component supplier. It is known for embedded computing, industrial computers, networking infrastructure, displays and data acquisition input/output (I/O). But it has discovered business in many vertical sectors. Therefore, it is pushing its partners to develop expertise in solution selling to specific verticals in addition to selling volume components.
Liu explained that Advantech will be structured with two major divisions: Embedded Design (trusted ePlatform and services) and Branding & Solutions (Enabling a Smarter Planet). Quoting from an IBM study, the smarter planet is driven by the trends that the world is becoming instrumented, interconnected and intelligent. The point is that Advantech contributes products and services in each of the three areas.
Advantech has identified six major vertical markets in which it seeks to focus. These are medical and healthcare; factory and machine automation; power and energy; transportation; industrial mobile computing; and retail and hospitality.
In a discussion with the press, Liu expressed belief that the new focused embedded services group—dedicated engineering staff to work with major customers on system architecture design and deployment—holds great promise for growth in the near future. Within the power and energy vertical and also incorporated in product design is the concept of green automation. The company is trying both to incorporate energy-saving in design and in customer’s experience of the products.
Advantech has a current market capitalization of about $900 million with 2008 revenues of $523 million. Fiscal year 2009 is not quite closed, but it expects a final tally of about 10 percent less than the year before. This actually reflects a recovery from where it was at the half-way point of the year. According to market research firm IMS, Advantech holds the top position in the world-wide industrial computer market.