Swiftpoint Limited has signed a global licensing agreement with Belkin international which will see Swiftpoint’s patented GesturePoint hardware and software technology integrated into devices for sale by Belkin to customers worldwide.
Swiftpoint’s CEO Grant Odgers says the GesturePoint technology integrates mouse pointer and touch gesture inputs. Users of tablets, notebooks, smartphones and PCs can get all the high accuracy and efficiency benefits of a mouse, while also intuitively supporting the gesture functions now standard in modern operating systems.
“We’re delighted with the licensing agreement,” Odgers says. “Belkin is one of the world’s largest suppliers of IT peripherals with well-established retail channels throughout the US, Europe and Asia Pacific. In addition to its range of smartphone, tablet and PC accessories, Belkin now has a 30 percent share of the home and small business networking market in the US and has aggressive expansion plans with a range of new home automation products. Belkin is not just a high street retail provider, it is also successfully developing channel relationships with high-end IT solutions companies. Swiftpoint’s technology combined with Belkin’s global manufacturing and distribution muscle is a powerful combination.”
Ben Thacker, global vice president of enterprise business, Belkin International, says Swiftpoint’s GesturePoint technology will be a key component of a whole new type of accessory for personal and desktop devices to be launched later this year.
"Belkin's customer-driven product development strategy is to create and deliver a complete ecosystem of accessories that optimize the use of technology in office, classroom, IT infrastructure, and mobile environments,” Thacker says.
“The licensing agreement with Swiftpoint enables us to satisfy a strong and unmet market need for a solution that brings together mouse and gesture inputs into a single user-friendly accessory.”
Swiftpoint’s Grant Odgers says the GesturePoint technology is an evolution of the company’s innovative portable mobile mouse launched in 2010 to critical acclaim. The ergonomic ‘pen grip’ design caught the attention of Popular Science magazine, where it made the magazine’s top 100 inventions of the year list. The Wall Street Journal rated the mouse above the best mobile mice from Logitech and Microsoft, and the mouse went on to became a top seller on Costco.com, the second-largest retail chain in the US.
Swiftpoint has filed patents worldwide, not only related to its first device but also a number of HCI (Human Computer Interface) innovations, many of these in the field of touch and gesture technology.
“We’ve had ideas and filed patents around touch/gesture technology for a decade, but it was only quite recently that our IP has become relevant in the marketplace due to a truly fundamental change in the way people interact with computers,” Grant Odgers says. “All of today’s computing devices are now optimized for touch (gesture-based) use, and it’s not only limited to tablets and smartphones, it includes laptop and desktop computers that use Windows 8 or Mac OS X.”
However, Grant Odgers says, touch screens are not ‘one size fits all’ – they do not work well in productive laptop/desktop environments, and often users try to make touch gestures with a standard mouse, which is not ideal.
“Take for example, the latest release of Microsoft Office 2013. It has touch and gesture features built in, but the reality is that doing Excel spreadsheets and Word documents with a touch screen does not work well at all. So we still use a keyboard and mouse and miss out on the great touch features that are now built into Word, Excel, and Windows 8.”
Grant Odgers says that many of the major peripheral manufacturers have tried to incorporate touch/gesture into these productive (traditionally keyboard/mouse) computing environments, but – and he quotes PC World’s Jared Newman – “being able to do it all with a single, no-compromise piece of hardware remains an elusive goal”.*
Odgers says the Belkin licensing deal is the first major fruit of a new business growth strategy which sees Swiftpoint exiting manufacturing and distribution in favour of technology license agreements.
“Our Swiftpoint mouse won global awards but has taught us that commercializing intellectual property is a long, hard road. The Belkin licensing deal signals a new paradigm for us, where we get maximum overall returns from our intellectual property.”