Qualcomm announces software business around its supply chain chips

Qualcomm Inc on Tuesday said it is launching a paid cloud software service to help companies that use its chips keep tabs on goods as they move through the supply chain.

The San Diego, California company is the world’s biggest provider of chips that help smartphones connect to mobile data networks. But Qualcomm has used its wireless communication specialty to enter other markets where devices need to talk to the internet, such as automobiles and factories.

Qualcomm Aware, as the new service is called, works with Qualcomm chips that go into tracking devices for shipping containers, pallets, packages and other parts of supply chains to help companies track where their goods and materials are.

Most of those trackers are made by third parties, but Qualcomm makes a few devices of its own, such as a tilt sensor that can be attached to utility poles to report whether they have toppled over during storms.

Qualcomm has already shipped hundreds of millions of the chips involved, which typically cost less than $10 each, Jeff Torrance, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm’s smart connected systems business, told Reuters in an interview.

The software service announced Tuesday aims to let Qualcomm customers program their chips from one central spot, with updates sent to the chips over the air.

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