Sepura

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Sepura
Public
Industry Telecommunications equipment
Predecessor Pye
Founded 18 March 2002 (2002-03-18)
Headquarters Cambridge Research Park, Waterbeach, Cambridge, England
Key people
Products STP8000 Series
STP9000 Series
STP8X Series
SC20 Series
SRH Series
SRG3900
SRC3300
Radio Manager
STProtect
Accessories
Applications
Number of employees
803
Website www.sepura.com

Sepura plc designs, manufactures and supplies digital mobile radio products, systems and applications for business and critical communications. The company specialises in both TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) and DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) technologies.

Headquartered in Cambridge, UK, Sepura has an international network of partners supplying organisations in over 100 countries worldwide. Sepura applications, systems and terminals are used in public safety (such as police, fire service and ambulance), public transport,[1] airports, oil & gas, mining, commercial and military sectors. Sepura is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

History[edit]

Sepura's origins are in the Pye company, founded in Cambridge in 1896. William Pye, a trained instrument maker working at Cambridge University Cavendish Laboratory, set up his own business making high precision scientific instruments. He soon built up an international customer base and a reputation for high quality products.

During the First World War the company began developing and manufacturing military equipment, but after 1921, business began to slow and Pye turned its attention to designing the first commercially successful radio – the ‘700 series’.

Pye also had a keen interest in television, and in 1930 started developing TV sets and cathode ray tubes. The high point of Pye pre-World War II TV development came with the introduction of the Model 915 TV, a receiver of advanced design. By 1939, a full-scale production line had been set up in Cambridge.

With the arrival of the Second World War, UK TV broadcasting was suspended, and the production of the 45 MHz Pye Model 915 TV receiver ceased. Pye then turned its attention to designing and producing radar and wireless equipment for the British Military.

As a developer and manufacturer, Pye produced:

  • Domestic radios (1924)
  • Televisions (1935)
  • Military radios (1939)
  • Car radios (1947)
  • Police radios (1949)

The mobile radio division of the company, Pye Telecommunications, was taken over by Philips in 1966. By the mid-1990s Philips had decided to pull out of non-core business areas and in 1996 Simoco acquired the Philips PMR business. Sepura was founded in 2002 when it acquired the assets of the TETRA radio business from Simoco.

The following decade saw the TETRA standard gradually adopted around the globe. Correspondingly, Sepura saw its business expand from its core UK-based public safety organisations to an international market across a range of sectors, including oil and gas, transport,[2] utilities and mining.

Sepura was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2007 and in 2012, the year of its 10th anniversary, the company announced that it had shipped its millionth radio.[3] In the same year, it acquired Austrian infrastructure provider 3T Communications (now Sepura Systems), allowing the company to offer its own end-to-end critical communications solution for the first time.[4]

In 2013, the company acquired Helsinki-based applications developer, Portalify and launched a range of Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) products, covering UHF and VHF frequency bands. The following year, Sepura acquired Fylde Micro, pioneers in radio trunking solutions, enabling DMR Tier III to be offered as part of their portfolio. 2015 saw the acquisition of Teltronic, a Professional Mobile Radio company, based in Zaragoza, Spain. It was anticipated that the combination of Sepura's complete solutions portfolio and Teltronic's strength in network infrastructure would enable the group to achieve leadership in the TETRA market.

In 2016 Sepura ran into financial trouble resultant from the acquisition of Teltronic and alleged delay of expected orders. The company incurred a considerable amount of debt following its acquisition of Teltronic. Net debt rose from just 1.1 Million Pounds in 2015 to 119.4 Million Pounds at the end of the 2016 Financial year - additionally Sepura posted a pre tax 19 Million Pound loss for the same period.[5]

Based on the financial issues, Sepura withdrew its DMR range of radios citing at the 2016 AGM "that the board now believes it will not be possible to achieve further market penetration without significant additional investment."

Sepura's share price on the London Stock Exchange subsequently lost 95% of its value, dropping from 200 pence to a low of just 9.7 pence in a 3-month period between July 2016 and September 2016.[6]

Hytera, a Chinese Radio manufacturer, then entered into talks and due diligence to take over the company in November 2016.[7]

On the 16th of December 2016, the Sepura board recommended the shareholders accept a bid of 20 pence per share from Hytera as a cash purchase. [1]

Acquisitions[edit]

2012[edit]

  • 3T Communications, an Austrian infrastructure provider

2013[edit]

  • Portalify OY, a Finnish applications developer

2014[edit]

  • Fylde Micro Ltd, a UK-based trunk radio, voice and data systems provider

2015[edit]

  • Teltronic S.A.U., a Spanish Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) company

Products[edit]

The SRP Series[edit]

Sepura's first TETRA radio was the SRP2000 – a new generation radio, much smaller and lighter than anything that had gone before.

Developed at a time when the UK Police were going through a uniform re-design, Sepura listened carefully to police users’ requirements to develop a functional secure communications device that was fit-for-purpose. As a result, by mid-2004, the SRP2000 held a remarkable 90% of market share (Radio Comms News, 2012) among UK-based police users.

The SRP2000 resembled a GSM phone of the day, rather than a traditional portable radio and, for the first time, it was a radio designed to be worn on the user's lapel rather than on the belt.

This was significant, because a lapel-worn radio negated the need for a remote speaker microphone, thus lowering the overall cost per user, but also reduced costs by removing a sizeable weight from the user's belt – a factor which was thought to contribute to lumbar strain and a significant number of absences from work.

In 2005, Sepura partnered with QinetiQ to deploy the first Super Sensitive GPS solution for users of TETRA, known as sGPS. This move saw the SRP series updated to become the SRH series.

The SRH Series[edit]

(SRH3500, SRH3800, SRH3900)
The SRH3500 was, in many ways, a groundbreaking TETRA radio on account of its diminutive dimensions; it remains one of the smallest and lightest TETRA radios ever to be put in mass production. Together with its sister radio, the SRH3800, it was adopted by police, ambulance and fire and rescue services worldwide.

The radios’ popularity within the ‘blue light’ community meant that Sepura was frequently asked to supply dummy radios to film and TV production crews around the world, to add to the authenticity of their productions. As a result, Sepura radios have made appearances on well-known programmes such as Eastenders and Coronation Street, as well as crime re-enactments and real life ‘police action’ documentaries.

The STP8000 Series[edit]

(STP8000, STP8100, STP8200)
Climate change was one of the key drivers behind Sepura's next launch, the STP8000 series. Launched in 2008, it was designed to cope with heavy downpours – rather than light showers, as had previously been the accepted industry standard.

The 8000 series was designed to cope with the needs of the search and rescue users in the jungles of Malaysia; frozen winters experienced by Swedish Police and fire services; and downpours and floods that were occurring in many parts of the world.

The STP8000 was the start of Sepura's new genre of tough, go-anywhere TETRA radios, that not only appealed to the world's emergency services, but gained a whole new range of users, keen to take advantage of its ruggedness.

As a result, the STP8000 was complimented by the STP8100 (launched 2009) and STP8200 (launched 2010), designed for use in the mines of Australia and oil and gas installations around the globe.

SRG3900[edit]

Launched in 2010, the SRG3900 was a popular addition to Sepura's range, providing 10 watts of RF power, and gateway and repeater technology to extend communication into areas otherwise beyond network coverage. It had the greatest operational range of any TETRA terminal on the contemporary market and was deployed everywhere from ski resorts to mines and chemical parks.

It was launched in conjunction with the Sepura Colour Console (SCC), whose large, high-resolution colour screen allowed the display of high quality photographs and maps and boasted an innovative 'night mode' to reduce glare, particularly at night.

The STP9000 Series[8][edit]

(STP9000, STP9100, STP9200)
In 2011, during trials for the London Olympics, TETRA radios were exposed to salt-laden environments, which were seen to quickly cause corrosion to connectors. In response to this and other new challenges, the STP9000 series drew on the ‘tough technology’ developed for the STP8X and went one step further, being designed to be not just waterproof, but fully submersible. It was resistant to heavy salt mist and included a new ‘Connector Protector’ technology that guarded it against direct exposure to salt water.

The STP9000 was also the first TETRA radio to feature Haptic Technology, significantly improving its key response for users working in heavy gloves.

The STP8X Series[edit]

(STP8X000, STP8X100)
As a result of this new user base, demand for an Intrinsically Safe variant of the STP8000 was growing. In March 2011 the STP8X100 series, Sepura's first Intrinsically Safe radio, was launched.

Certified by Baseefa to version 6 of the IECEx and ATEX standards they were designed to exceed the requirements of the rigorous highly accelerated life test stipulated by the specifications: one month held at 85 °C and 90% humidity followed by one day at −25 °C to −30 °C, before being impact tested, drop tested, water-ingress tested and finally vacuum-assisted dust-ingress tested in a chamber for two hours.

The SC20 Series[edit]

Launched in May 2015, the SC20 was promoted as ‘The next generation’ of hand-portable radios, offering optional high-speed data connectivity, connectivity to body-worn data accessories and a Linux operating system to enable a wider applications capability. Submersible, waterproof and dustproof, SC20 radios boasted IP66, IP67 and IP68 environmental protection ratings and an easy-clean design, allowing them to be rinsed in running water.

Applications[edit]

The acquisition of Portalify OY in 2013 added applications to Sepura's portfolio. The applications enable users to get real-time information from the field and back-office – including picture, location and textual information – reducing the need for voice calls and conserving bandwidth.

Transport solutions[edit]

The acquisition of Teltronic allowed Sepura to offer transport communication solutions based on the TETRA standard and complemented with broadband technologies. This provided continuous voice and data communication between vehicles and control systems, along with support for a range of applications:

  • Voice for communications with the driver, PA and intercom systems, etc.
  • Critical data for alarm management, vehicle diagnostics, location, emergencies, etc.
  • Vital data providing signalling data for driving instructions
  • Non-vital data for video surveillance and other applications

The portfolio also included CeCo-TRANS, a control centre specially designed for the transportation market.

External links[edit]

Official website[edit]

Company history[edit]

Other places of interest[edit]

References[edit]