Garmin Acquires GEOS
Garmin has today announced the acquisition of its partner GEOS Worldwide Ltd and this follows Garmin’s acquisition of Firstbeat in 2020.
GEOS is a privately held company which has previously provided Garmin with incident response and emergency monitoring. Today’s announcement claims that 5,000 of GEOS’s 83,000 incidents have been initiated by Garmin devices ie Garmin represents approximately 6% of GEOS’s activity.
It looks like most of the Garmin incidents were created over satellite connections and with Garmin inReach devices.
inReach and related satellite incident creation apply across many of Garmin’s product sectors from outdoors to aviation and marine.
My strong suspicion is that Garmin has acquired GEOS as they plan to offer similar emergency services via cellular-connected devices (LTE). To scale that up over GEOSs services could be expensive and that’s why I believe they brought GEOS in-house.
Garmin has released LTE devices in the past eg Vivoactive 3 Verizon/LTE, and is heavily rumoured to be introducing more LTE devices this year like the Forerunner 955 LTE. It is almost a certainty that LTE support will trickle-down through Garmin’s product ranges and this acquisition seems to make sense now before those rollouts start to cost Garmin more with external fees. No doubt the GEOS technology will be improved and adapted to LTE over time and this will be a highly sought-after feature for ‘adventurers’, perhaps adventurers that stay within cellular range but adventurers nevertheless. This also signals an increased likelihood of LTE and (phone-free) incident response making its way to Garmin Edge devices too…very handy for your Sunday ride if you don’t take a phone with you (I don’t).
These kinds of services equally apply to smartwatch users, if you are walking down strange alleyways or concerned about your kids then having a professional incident-response service to-hand will certainly be a service that some people would pay for. Indeed this is one of the specific areas where even the mighty Apple is playing catch-up with the Apple Watch 6 and I have previously speculated that this would be one of the services Apple needs to add PDQ.
Q: When can you expect this on a Fenix?
We can expect LTE on many high-end models as soon as ‘sometime this year’ and, of course, Garmin Fenix 6 devices already have incident detection via Bluetooth.
I guess it’s more likely that a more expansive offering than what is currently available via these Bluetooth links to your smartphone would be on the subsequent Fenix models (2022). But it’s probably not such a massive leap as SOLAR was for Garmin technology so I’d still put this down as a maybe for this year on the Fenix 7 rather than a cert for next year on the Fenix 7 plus LTE.