Wireless: GE Industrial buys Microwave Data Systems

By Control Engineering Staff March 7, 2007

Markham, Ontario, Canada — GE Industrial , a unit of General Electric , acquired the assets of Rochester, NY-based Microwave Data Systems (MDS), a subsidiary of Moseley Associates . GE called MDS “a world leader in industrial, wireless, and networking solutions,” saying that it offers complementary technology to GE’s Multilin business, part of GE Consumer & Industrial. GE says the move creates growth opportunities for Multilin in its current markets and in the $1.3 billion global industrial wireless market segment, expected to grow 15% this year. Purchase price was not disclosed.

MDS employs approximately 275 people who design and manufacture networked high-speed, microwave radios for wireless communications solutions in use in oil and gas, utility, traffic monitoring, public safety, and other industrial applications. MDS wireless technology, combined with Multilin’s current product lines in protection, metering, control, and automation systems, offers improved asset protection and control through enhanced security, speed, and access of information, even in the most remote and challenging environments, by eliminating the need for wiring, GE says. MDS’ technology also helps Multilin customers to significantly reduce the cost of system interconnection, commissioning, and maintenance costs while increasing overall system performance and uptime. MDS enables the potential for a wide-range of applications in the products and services of other GE businesses, including oil and gas, energy, transportation, equipment services, and GE Fanuc.

“MDS is a highly technical and innovation-based enterprise with a stream of new products planned for launch in ’07 and beyond,” said Larry Sollecito, general manager, GE Multilin. “This is exactly the type of business we want in our portfolio.” Sollecito says the combination also opens new markets to serve. “The potential for growth is tremendous,” he said.

Jamal Hamdani, president and CEO of Moseley Associates, said, “For several years now, we have articulated a vision for Moseley: to become the GE of the wireless business—a global, diversified, and profitable market leader. Today, that vision is becoming reality in the industrial wireless business, as one of our companies, MDS, now becomes the wireless component of GE’s industrial business. As we move forward, our company and our subsidiaries will continue our tradition to provide innovative products and services, always striving to anticipate and exceed the needs of our customers and employees.”

Harry Forbes, ARC Advisory Group , says that in the ARC “2006 Industrial Wireless Market Outlook report, MDS was the market share leader in several segments, including industrial wide-area networks (WANs).” Forbes expects MDS to face stronger competition from emerging standardized WAN technologies, like WiMAX and 802.11s, and “I expect them to add more vertically-oriented services to their menu to maintain their strong competitive differentiation.”

MDS is now a wholly-owned GE subsidiary called GE MDS LLC. Roberto Vengoechea, currently GM of Multilin’s instrument transformer business, will lead GE MDS LLC, working with its current leadership team of Richard Nozel, John Geiger, Mike Wagner, and David Rodriguez. Multilin is based in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

Moseley and its wholly owned subsidiaries, Axxcelera Broadband Wireless and CarrierComm, offer wireless solutions from 9.6 kbps to 311 Mbps covering the 250 MHz to 38 GHz spectrum for point-to-point and point-to-multipoint applications for the broadcast, broadband enterprise, and service provider marketplaces. MDS is a leader in industrial, wireless, networking solutions with applications in the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), automation, telecommunication, public safety, and online transactional market segments.

—Control Engineering Daily News DeskEdited by Mark T. Hoske , editor in chie f