Solutions are more important than products

Solutions are more important than products

Steve Berglund, CEO, Trimble
Steve Berglund

What do you envision for geospatial in the future? What role will Trimble play in achieving this vision?
Geospatial technology is a core element of many of Trimble's solutions that apply to a number of industries. We have taken a nontraditional approach to surveying problems and applied new solutions and technologies to significantly improve the quality and productivity of surveyors.

We have developed solutions centered on a concept called the Trimble Connected Site, which connects all the elements of the work place together through the use of positioning, wireless communications and application-specific software. Geospatial is a key element of the solutions that use geometry to add dimension to many of the problems that require positional reference. In countries such as India, China and other emerging economies around the world, it is particularly important for us as we have the ability to use the core of geospatial solutions to quickly deploy new and revolutionary technologies to improve productivity.

This approach enables emerging companies to leapfrog into new capabilities in terms of traditional workflows. It can be a significant experience as these work problems need to be solved. We are continually developing capabilities in geospatial and we see the ability of Trimble to play significant role in redefining and transforming the workplace. Essentially, we found that we play a central role in changing the nature of how work is being done by users worldwide, in areas such as surveying, construction, fleet and asset management, farming, public safety, and many others.

What do you think is the most conducive environment for this kind of vision to fructify?
I believe there are a couple of dimensions to create a favorable environment to grow the industry. One is the role of government. Governments typically set the tone to move forward with appropriate policies and regulations. They can facilitate quick infrastructure development or remove obstacles for infrastructure development and make it conducive for the effective deployment of geospatial solutions. Funding would be particularly helpful. For example, in China we established two joint ventures with Chinese partners, both facilitated by the government.

Here, there are two categories that are most important: the general fields of construction and cadastral surveying. The most conducive environment for us will be the willingness to change and the willingness to embrace and engage with new technologies. The onus is on the government to set the mood of this environment. I believe the user community is standing up to the idea that there is a way to really transform how things are done and are embracing new technologies. Another important element is that users engage with us so we understand and best respond with the right kind of solution and technology to solve their problems. For example, we engage with worldwide users through technology roadshows, tradeshows, seminars and our Trimble Dimensions Users Conference.

Academia and research community are also effective in helping us better understand the intricacies involved. Researchers and academia can also play an important role by evangelising technologies.

What do you think is the responsibility of the industry for the growth of geospatial?
One of the primary roles of the industry is to be innovative and consistently bring new and better solutions to the market place. It may be harder to define and quantify but another responsibility of the industry is in educating the market in terms of the available capabilities. The best possible way is to think long term and bring solutions to markets rather than just products. Trimble's strategy is focused on providing solutions. We don't consider ourselves a product company. This is precisely the reason why we sponsor programmes like Trimble Dimensions, which has traditionally been held at Las Vegas. It is a conference where users share what they want and is a forum where users can actively interact with each other. For the first time, we brought the concept of Trimble Dimensions to China. In our view, it is important to play a responsible role by creating a level of education and knowledge about Trimble's long-term solutions and not merely to quickly increase the turnover.

What do you think is a role of a media companies like GIS Development in making the geospatial community stronger and vibrant?
I believe there is the possibility for true revolution within the geospatial industry. This revolution requires understanding and commitment as well as long-term sustainability. Media, such as GIS Development, can play an important by helping to create a knowledge-based environment by educating the end users in terms of the possibilities. It can create a positive and consistent environment and provide some level of support for other stakeholders to position themselves aggressively. Media can successfully play a missionary role to help expand the industry.