August 27, 2019 - Danish robotics vendor, Blue Ocean Robotics, announced today that they are acquiring all of the assets and rights associated with the Beam (r) robot, from Suitable Robotics. Blue Ocean Robotics has been a reseller of the Beam robot outside of the US, but with this acquisition, the company will now be able to sell it everywhere in the world. The deal is still waiting for approval in the US.
The telepresence market was one of the early applications for autonomous mobile robots, and the market has weathered several ups and downs over the last 15 years. Telepresence technology enables remote operators to connect with a telepresence robot and move the vehicle around a facility to interact with other humans and participate in meetings and events. The idea was made famous by one of the most memorable "The Big Bang Theory" episodes:
Suitable Technologies was one of the early market leaders, founded in 2011 by Willow Garage veteran Scott Hassan, Suitable Technologies. “Through our multi-year partnership, I am confident that Blue Ocean Robotics has the commitment, knowhow, and passion to support current Beam customers, acquire new customers, and build the business into new areas,” says Scott Hassan, CEO of Suitable Technologies, Inc.
“Beam has turned out to add an incredible amount of value to our customers delivering benefits such as reducing transport costs and CO2 emissions while also improving social relationships with better, faster and more frequent communications between people,” says Blue Ocean Robotics CEO Claus Risager. “This has resulted in numerous customers coming back time and again to have more robots installed as Beam can be used in such a wide range of scenarios; from security clearances, to touring art museums and trade shows, to medical consultations, allowing sick children to interact with their school and friends,” says the Blue Ocean Robotics CEO, who has seen a constant increase in Beam sales. “The revenue growth and market potential prompted us to move forward from partner to acquire the entire business,” says Risager, emphasizing the great strategic significance of Blue Ocean Robotics now having majority ownership of all its portfolio robots.“With this agreement, we will own 100% of the Beam business. As a result, we now own both Beam and our UVD Robot a famous award-winning robot used for UV disinfection in places such as hospitals,” says Blue Ocean Robotics CEO, adding how both robots are currently scaling globally. With the acquisition of the Beam business, Blue Ocean Robotics has set up a subsidiary, Beam Robots ApS, to manage global sales.
This acquisition signals a broadening of strategy for Blue Ocean Robotics. They expect to broaden their global market reach with an expanded product portfolio. “Our development of robots is based on our own in-house created toolbox with reusable technology components. This means that we can build all of our robots fast, inexpensively, and better than others,” says Blue Ocean Robotics’ CTO John Erland Østergaard. “Some of our robots, for example the UVD disinfection robot, are already equipped with remote controls. With the Beam technology being a big seller in the healthcare sector, we can continue to grow our business within this industry by having our distributors present both UVD and Beam when they visit customers.”
What does this mean for the market?
The telepresence robotic market has seen many companies come and go. There are dozens of low-end solutions in this market, most of which would't survive long in a commercial application. There is also a strong market for military telepresence applications in which Beam doesn't participate (nor are we discussing here). Beam is one of the market leaders for commercial telepresence robots, making this a good investment for Blue Ocean Robotics, if they can successfully grow their existing sales channel.
Here are several other companies with commercial/industrial telepresence solutions:
The Bottom Line
Given that Blue Ocean Robotics has already built an existing sales channel for Beam, and they understand all of the market needs and market dynamics, we think that Blue Ocean should be able to provide the necessary support to existing customers and grow their worldwide sales of Beam products.