A Hungarian multinational company monitors the stocks of Nigeria’s largest oil company

Whether we are already a multinational corporation? –Németh Tibor, Lambda-Com Group’s founder managing director pondered on our question. ‘The answer is not simple. Given our presence in 14 countries, the label could be valid, but according to the revenue range, it might be a bit too early to say so. However, only a few Hungarian-owned companies can claim similar international presence on the service market, and it is also an undeniable fact that a revenue of almost 3 thousand million HUF (ca. 10 million EUR) is considered quite substantial in this segment, in Hungary and internationally as well’ – he added.

Commitment. Market-leader position in Hungary and Romania in the field of M2M vehicle tracking services – currently they actively monitor nearly 23 thousand vehicles but over 40,000 vehicles have been equipped with their WebEye system -, remote monitoring the largest Nigerian oil company’s supplies, providing telematics systems for the Hungarian EU-Presidency fleet, controlling levels of ice storage plants, monitoring the floating water quality meter in the middle of Lake Balaton, traffic congestion monitoring. Just to mention some examples from the Group’s various services, all of which point towards the same direction. The founders built everything on their own telematics and transportation informatics developments related to GPS – and wireless communication based technologies.

The parent company, Lambda-Com Ltd. was founded in 2001, at first mainly for fulfilling unique external development orders. The owners, two electrical engineers, a programmer mathematician, an economist and a civil engineer, have already known each other before establishing the company. Earlier they worked in the United States and Canada, where their employers would have offered them work and life conditions that many would not have returned. ‘We were dedicated to work in Hungary as Hungarians and we were positive that if our job was acknowledged back in America, we would be able to operate, research and develop at world-class level also at home’ –Németh Tibor recalled the beginning. Two years later they found their present business direction, when they realized: the best investment is developing and selling own-developed market services. Therefore they founded more companies mainly for sales activities: a WebEye International Ltd., a WebEye Mini Ltd. and Bestway Ltd.

Brave expansion. Practically, the group has its prosperity to thank to its WebEye service, which is capable of up-to-date, real-time, 24/7 recording and analysis of vehicle movement and routes with the use of GPS/GPRS technology. Until 2008, the company developed focussing mainly on the domestic market, then they decided to face the challenges of the international market. ‘Hungarian enterprises often lack the courage to become international, suffer from complexes if they have to enter the international market; they often sell the company instead, before reaching the goal’ – said the head of the Group. They thought differently and dared to dream big. So today they are present in 14 European countries, with ten subsidiaries – apart from Hungary, in Germany, Serbia, Austria, Ukraine, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Russia, Portugal, Poland, Croatia, The Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

Conscious development. In the meantime they developed new services based on the WebEye service. Some belonging here are property- and logistics remote monitoring (DataFlow), traffic congestion monitoring (Bestway), whose data is used by global companies and ‘with this service, we bridged a twenty-year gap compared to Western Europe , in the field of real-time traffic information’. For their various developments so far they have been granted altogether ca. one hundred million HUF subsidy from EU calls from tenders launched domestically, but research and development is basically financed from their own resources. The development of intelligent transport systems is a priority area in the European Union. Within this, Hungary too is assigned tasks, but ‘their fulfilment has been progressing slowly so far’. ‘We already have the current traffic data of main transit routes available, which enable even immediate connection to the EU network’. Németh Tibor says that it also has to be kept in mind that the EU deadline for introducing proportional motorway fees expires in 2012, which may grant further significant role to GPS -based vehicle tracking technologies.

They have great expectations regarding the exclusive freight exchange (SpedMart), planned to be launched in May. Only reliable, solvent partners may join the service and the whole fulfilment will be monitored, as the transport orders will generally be performed with vehicles equipped with WebEye system. ‘This may result a further jump in quality and maybe even another strategic change, multiplatform approach in the Group’s life’ – claimed the managing director.

It had a key role in Lambda-Com’s expansion that they are multifaceted but their services are interconnected. In the first ten years they practically worked solely on a market basis, without state orders. That means they have always had to perform for real which has been beneficial, as ‘in case of state orders, different criteria are dominant than on the market’. Within the WebEye service, the equipment installed in the vehicle, the software for the provision of the services, mathematical programming, electric engineering tasks and printed circuit planning are all own intellectual products. Their experience shows that their partners buy their services to achieve savings in terms of time, money and human resources.

The company reached its highest- 40 per cent- revenue growth at the peak of the crisis, in 2009, therefore they received Pegasus Award that year. There is a simple explanation to this: at times of crisis, companies look for ways to save money and they feel the urge to ‘clear things up’. Thanks to this, it was right at the time of the crisis that Lambda-Com activity appreciated and it has been expanding ever since.

Németh Tibor (43)

He pursued his civil engineering studies in Leningrad, then at the Budapest University of Technology. He first met GPS technology in 1995 and started to deal with it thanks to his Canadian contacts. He was quick to notice that developments in this area should cover not only technology but also use. Therefore he joined with more experts and founded his own company in 2001. Two years later, Lambda-Com Ltd. appeared with its WebEye brand as an independent market player on the vehicle tracking services market. He is married to Németh Zsuzsanna economist, head of finance for Lambda-Com Ltd. He us father of two sons.

Milestones

  • 2001 – Founding of Lambda-Com Ltd.
  • 2003 – WebEye service is launched in Hungary.
  • 2005 – From January, WebEye technology enables real-time tracking of vehicles and the technology becomes market leader in Hungary. WebEye Mini Ltd. is founded for selling special constructions.
  • 2006 – WebEye International Ltd. is founded, with the aim of developing and implementing the international expansion strategy.
  • 2007 – WebEye’s international operation starts, at the end of the year the first foreign subsidiary, WebEye Romania is founded.
  • 2008 – International expansion continues; WebEye subsidiaries are founded one after the other, in Germany, Slovakia, Poland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Portugal and Bulgaria. They develop a technology to process traffic information, which is the first in the region to provide basis for a functioning ‘traffic congestion map’.
  • 2009 – Russia and Slovenia join the WebEye service; foreign markets generate 30 per cent of the Group’s revenues.
  • 2011 – DataFlow service is launched and developments are started to prepare the way to SpedMart division.

Main services

  • WebEyeTM – satellite vehicle tracking system. This is the leading service of the Group, with presence in 14 European countries and market leader position in Central-Eastern-Europe.
  • SpedMart –excusive freight exchange to offer road transport capacity and transport order fulfilment.
  • DataFlow – object remote monitoring system. Provides property and industrial object security/ monitoring as well.
  • BestWay – transportation informatics service concerning the current state of traffic and archived data of Hungarian public roads.

The odd one out

Hódy Sport Ltd., kayak and canoe manufacturer adds some colour to the group and buying share in the company in 2010 was not for professional reasons. ‘My family and I do sports on a regular basis, so when I had my first conversation with the Hódy family about the state of youth canoeing in Hungary, I felt that Lambda-Com Group could be doing something.’ Since then, they have participated actively in the company’s life, consequently, they did not have to give up manufacturing the children’s mini K-4 kayak, which can be regarded a Hungarian specialty. Moreover, in summer 2011, as a side event of the World Championship in Szeged, a WebEye cup was organized for children.

We have a cooperation of nearly 7 years behind us and the range of services used has expanded and is still expanding ever since. At first, the cooperation was limited to the conventional elements of satellite vehicle monitoring and fleet tracking, whereas today it concerns a widening range of SPAR’s route planning, - starting, - monitoring and - controlling processes.In 2005, when first selecting a service provider, the closed system and the non-manipulability of data were basic requirements, but it was determining for us that WebEye stood out from market players with its hihg quality, reliable service, and maybe more importantly, with their customer-focussed, flexible attitude. The contractual relationship started with 3 own vehicles of SPAR, which has by now reached 110, but apart from our own fleet,all our domestic haulier partners joined the WebEye system, so we can see all distribution vehicles on a single platform. As a result of our successful cooperation,short-term challenges still ahead of us are the introduction of electronic waybill, integration of the tachograph and the GPS vehicle monitoring system, or even the customizable route planning and its automatic monitoring. (Spar)