Quarterhill caps first year in IIOT with US$5M California contract win


One year after announcing a pivot to acquire companies in the emerging industrial Internet of Things sector, Ottawa-based Quarterhill announced this week that one of its subsidiaries has landed a large, multi-year contract with California’s Department of Transportation.

The firm’s first acquisition, International Road Dynamics, landed a US$5 million contract with the state to service and maintain California’s weigh-in-motion systems. The deal is valid through to the end of 2020.

IRD has landed similar contracts in Canada this past year with the provinces of Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

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In California, IRD’s highway monitoring systems give transportation authorities insights on road capacity and truck transport practices. When Quarterhill announced exactly one year ago that it would enter the IIOT field, executives pointed to the market opportunity in this data to justify the pivot.

“We think we’re joining the IIoT with IRD at the right time,” then-interim CEO Shaun McEwan told OBJ at the time.

The firm’s annual earnings, reported last month, showed the new strategy may soon bear fruit. Quarterhill (TSX:QTRH)(NASDAQ:QTRH) reported record earnings in fiscal 2017, as is to be expected with three new acquisitions, despite a rough fourth quarter and a lower annual profit. The firm added that it will continue to experience “lumpy” quarterly performances from its WiLAN division, which earns revenue based on signing new patent licenses and successful litigation in court.

Still, new CEO Doug Parker said then that the firm is making “great progress” on diversifying its revenue streams and he expects Quarterhill to execute on its growth potential.

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