Left to right: Geert De Coensel, Stephan Deckers, Luc De Heyn

Left to right: Geert De Coensel, Stephan Deckers, Luc De Heyn

Last week Merkator delegated 3 people to remote Las Vegas in order to stay updated with the latest developments in the field of geolocation and spatial workflows. The floor of the Venetian was entirely for Hexagon, or should we say “to the group of Hexagon companies”. Full range of engineering, measuring, construction, asset management, mining, infrastructure and impressive real time operational workflows.

Ola Rollen, CEO of Hexagon, talked about disruptive change and disruptive technology and how it can boost or kill companies. The example of Blockbuster versus Netflix will be remembered for sure now I have a family account at the latter. But how is disruptive change accomplished? Can it be done from the inside or is it smarter and especially faster to make it happen from the outside, i.e. acquisitions. At Hexagon, the second seems to work very well. Astonishing well.

As a Belgian citizen and currently operational in the Benelux, it was with a certain proud that I saw how Belgian Luciad took the stage. I know them very well and actually 20 years ago they won one of their first cases at BASF, beating me during my great Intergraph sales years. Back then, I was the Blockbuster in Ola’s example being disrupted by a young and innovative company.

Disruption came apparently through well chosen acquisitions where today both Intergraph and Luciad are part of the Hexagon constellation. Smart, effective and disruptive. The Hexagon has many similar examples over the past 10 years.

However the current challenges are substantial since consolidation of the platforms at Hexagon is the next big thing. And guess what, Catavolt, acquired exactly one year ago by Hexagon, seems to have a robust transversal framework. A framework to connect several platforms and technologies of the Hexagon constellation, and enabling other toolsets such as IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and visualization (VR/AR/MR) technologies.

The rest comes down to clever marketing so here we have Hexagon Xalt. We will monitor the progress here and it looks indeed promising although other acquisitions are on the horizon for sure in order to disrupt and not to be disrupted. That’s the question.

Geert De Coensel

Geert De Coensel

CEO of Merkator

Geert De Coensel co-founded Merkator after working for 22 years for US based Intergraph Corporation and was the Intergraph program manager for the Belgian A.S.T.R.I.D. (nationwide public safety provider). Merkator is the largest geospatial service provider in the Benelux for utilities & telco and is growing fast in both public safety and smart city domains.

At present, we employ 65+ domain experts in the Benelux.