GreenPeak Technologies, formed through the merger of Xanadu Wireless and Ubiwave (July 2007), develops RF communication chips for Smart Homes applications. Headquartered in Utrecht, Netherlands, it has offices in Belgium, USA, Japan and Korea. Xanadu Wireless, a Dutch fabless semi-conductor company, has been operating in stealth mode since early 2005. The Belgian company Ubiwave, pioneered wireless ZigBee protocols for sensor applications and awarded multiple prizes for its low power innovations. Ubiwave started its operations in 2003 and has set up several large-scale field pilot projects to optimize and validate its technology.
Winner of the prestigious 2012 Red Herring Top 100 Europe award, GreenPeak meets silicon solutions for the smart home. As a fabless semiconductor company, it designs new wireless technologies for consumer electronics and smart home applications. Its competitors are Dust Networks, Perpetuum, Freescale, and Texas Instruments.
GreenPeak’s quality management starts in the development process and is controlled throughout the production process. Production tests deliver a mature product and reduce the return rate to single-digit ppm for devices in Smart Home applications. The most challenging part of manufacturing semiconductors is building a model that is ready for steep manufacturing capacity growth and volume ramp. Managing volume ramp can only be successful if production output is managed equally strictly. In addition, the importance keeping the production flow in sync and on schedule with all parties involved includes: the manufacturing site for wafer processing, the assembly and test site, and a logistics process to cover handling.
Unbeknownst to many, a unique thing about GreenPeak is that its founders who brought Wi-Fi to the market introduced wireless LANs to Apple. Thereby, resulting in the launch of Apple’s iBook with wireless LAN and the Airport base station. Once Steve Jobs put Wi-Fi in the laptop, all other computer makers and gadget developers followed. The rest is history. A decade later, Cees Links (founder of GreenPeak) had the same vision of the Smart Home to develop the next generation wireless home network under the open ZigBee standard for low power Wi-Fi applications. Similar to Wi-Fi, ZigBee is designed to connect various HVAC, energy, security, home health, and lighting devices in the home. Thus, enabling homeowners to monitor and control these devices over the web and smartphones.
Greenpeak’s corporate culture lives beyond the HR-page on its website. “Making our customers delighted with our contributions to their success is the basis of our success. Treating our suppliers and our customers as our partners in this success is essential. Transparency and banning of politics is key and are not idle words in [the company’s] day-to-day life. Mutual respect for each other, listening to each other’s contribution and treating each other candidly and fairly is the way we work. We depend on accountability and trust. The work environment is challenging and rewarding. It is a fast moving and empowering environment with the dynamics of an innovative no-nonsense company resulting in a great team of enthusiastic co-workers and a fun work place,” said Elly Schietse, General Manager GreenPeak Belgium.
Expanding globally, GreenPeak is addressing an overall multi-billion-market opportunity. The company noticed enormous potential in growth markets like Latin America (Brazil) and Asia (India, China), which are quickly adapting to a cable market. Driven by a booming middle class, these countries have welcomed new markets, new ideas and service propositions. As cable companies and service providers look beyond their current entertainment content business, offers into Smart Home services, deploying new residential services to increase ARPU (average revenue per user) and reduce subscriber churn has expanded.
For the past 5 years, customers’ foci was linked to the introduction of the Smart Home in three phases. In the first phase, cable operators added ZigBee RF4CE to set-top boxes and remote controls. In the second stage, the same set-top box became the central point in the home. Processing all data from different application sensors in the home, the box is the gateway to the outside world; allowing applications to be monitored anywhere through smartphones. The third phase is when all applications operate under the same open ZigBee communication standard. Without human intervention, different sensor applications are integrated and linked to create the real Smart Home.
Over the next year, Greenpeak anticipates the ability to manage growth and change as another critical pre-requisite in its core organizational competence. The combined experience of how to cultivate and capitalize on new opportunities, are essential for its growth path and will prove to be the recipe for success. Backed by a disciplined approach, the company will further build on how to handle the challenges of the years to come.