Austrian family business as an innovator and technical pioneer
Vienna, August 8, 2017 – “History, the present, and the future are all intertwined. We live in the here and now, drawing on our experiences from more than a century, and we should always be prepared to break with tradition in order to open the gateway to the future,” says Georg Kapsch, CEO of the Kapsch Group, on the occasion of the company’s anniversary.
Kapsch is one of Austria’s most successful technology companies. It is a global expert in the future-oriented market segments of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), as well as Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Kapsch now consists of four central companies – Kapsch TrafficCom, Kapsch CarrierCom, Kapsch PublicTransportCom, and Kapsch BusinessCom. The expertise and services provided by the four business units complement each other and cover the entire value chain – from individual components, design, and deployment of systems through to their operations – all from one source. “We have optimized our portfolio and shifted from being a pure system provider and operator to also becoming a data and service provider. Our core business is increasingly moving from the highways towards cities. With our experience in the area of intelligent mobility we are ideally suited to help shape the smart cities of tomorrow,” says Georg Kapsch in reference to his vision.
The origins of the global corporation, which is currently planning and implementing projects in more than 44 countries on all continents, go back to the company founder Johann Kapsch and the end of the 19th century.
A workshop success story rather than a garage start-up
The company’s story started in 1892 when a precision mechanical workshop was founded in Schottenfeldgasse in the Neubau district of Vienna, initially to produce Morse code, telegraph, and telephone apparatuses. The company changed its name to Telefon- und Telegrafen-Fabriks-Aktiengesellschaft Kapsch & Söhne in 1916. The production of capacitors began in 1918. The move into radio production was an important milestone: In 1924, Kapsch ushered in the age of broadcasting in Austria. The first radio receivers were produced with tubes and detector equipment. Kapsch was also one of the co-founders of Austria’s first broadcasting company, Radio Verkehrs AG (RAVAG). The company managed to achieve a particularly significant innovation in 1958 when it launched “Capri,” Austria’s first transistor radio. Production of radio receiving equipment was discontinued in 1973. The portable radio device along with another 50 exhibits from the company’s long history are on show at the Kapsch Museum in the Meidling district of Vienna (tours on request).
1930 – first experiments with television at the Trade Fair of Vienna
The first demonstration of experiments with television in Austria was given at the Kapsch Pavilion in 1930 at the Trade Fair of Vienna. This also involved the first presentation of Kapsch’s transmission and receiving station. However, the television did not find its way into households on a broader scale until 1955 when Kapsch launched the first black-and-white television on the Austrian market in the form of the TFS-56 model. The first Kapsch color television was introduced just twelve years later when the “Chromomatic” became available in 1967. The company stopped producing home electronic equipment in 1985.
From redevelopment of the telephone network to the digital mobile telecommunications network
Working together with the Austrian postal service, Kapsch played a key role in the reconstruction of the Austrian telephone network after the Second World War. Examples include the 1948 upgrade of telephone exchanges to the dialing system 48, the first uniform automatic dialing system covering the whole of Austria, which first went into operation two years later in Eferding (Upper Austria). The next innovation was not far behind: The company developed a new low-noise dialer for telephones in 1955, which was still in use until the 1980s. Together with Schrack AG, Kapsch began digital telephone operations in 1980 and provided the first C-Netz (network C) mobile telephones – which look like enormous and clunky pieces of equipment to us today – to the Federal Army and to Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) in 1984. The first telephone call on the digital GSM network was made a few years later in 1991.
Milestones in railway radio communications and traffic systems
The year 1970 marked the birth of communication solutions in public transportation, when Kapsch equipped the Federal Railways with radios. This market was expanded on a continuous basis. Offices were opened in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Slovenia, and Croatia, and contracts from several European railway companies were implemented by 1994. Kapsch acquired the GSM/GSM-R business from Nortel in 2010, making it a leading provider of digital railway communications. An additional market segment was opened up in 2013 when Kapsch entered the market for communication solutions for public transportation based on TETRA technology.
The triumph of Kapsch toll collection systems began in Australia: The world’s first electronic toll collection system for multi-lane free-flow traffic on a city highway was implemented in 1999 at the Melbourne City Link. Austria followed in 2003 with the implementation of the world’s largest nationwide electronic truck toll collection system. Kapsch deployed the electronic truck toll collection system for the Czech Republic in record time in 2006 and then also took over system operations. Poland followed in 2011 when Kapsch was awarded the contract for the entire toll collection system covering a total of 2,000 kilometers of highways, 5,000 kilometers of expressways and 600 kilometers of other traffic routes. The next milestone was reached in 2016: Kapsch deployed Europe’s largest integrated Advanced Traffic Management System in the UK and the Netherlands. Kapsch also reinforced its market position by acquiring Schneider Electric’s transportation business.
Together with its four central companies – Kapsch TrafficCom, Kapsch CarrierCom, Kapsch PublicTransportCom and Kapsch BusinessCom – the corporation is ready for the challenges of the next 125 years.
Kapsch TrafficCom: a company specializing in intelligent transportation systems and traffic management solutions
Kapsch TrafficCom is a provider of intelligent transportation systems in the fields of toll collection, traffic management, smart urban mobility, traffic safety and security, and connected vehicles. The company was founded in 2002. It has been listed on the Prime Market of the Vienna Stock Exchange since 2007 (symbol: KTCG) and now has more than 4,800 employees in over 30 countries.
It has its roots in the electronic toll collection: Kapsch TrafficCom deployed the world’s first electronic truck toll collection system in early 2004 in Austria for vehicles weighing 3.5 tons and over. The enforcement and billing of the fees take place in flowing traffic. The company remains a pioneer in toll collection technology today, with successful projects implemented in more than 50 countries all over the world and over 100 million on-board units provided for the toll collection. The portfolio has been expanded on a continuous basis, and now addresses the needs of the market for intelligent transportation and mobility systems. Those are information and communication technologies that support and optimize the transportation system, including the infrastructure, vehicle, users, and industry. The mobility solutions help to make road traffic safer as well as more reliable, efficient, and comfortable in cities and on highways, and assist in reducing environmental pollution. The highly specialized components are produced in the company’s own factories in Vienna (Austria), Jönköpping (Sweden), and McLean (US).
Kapsch CarrierCom: an international specialist in digital railway communications systems
Kapsch CarrierCom is one of the four strategic business units in the Kapsch Group. Today it is considered one of the leading globally operating producers, suppliers, and system integrators of end-to-end telecommunications solutions.
Kapsch CarrierCom is responsible for the digital railway communications system GSM-R (Global System for Mobile Communication – Railway) and for expanding GSM-R networks in Europe, Africa, and Asia. In total, the company equips more than 80,000 kilometers of railway tracks and is closely involved in standardization bodies that promote further development of the next generation railway communications technology. Kapsch CarrierCom is also the ideal partner for railway operators carrying out upgrades for GSM-R to a future standard of radio infrastructure.
With extensive knowledge in the area of digital radio communication based on Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) and Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) standards, Kapsch CarrierCom has already successfully implemented projects in the area of wireless infrastructure, such as the new Metro line (Line 4) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The company also provides solutions for landline, mobile and cable network operators as well as utilities, and is an expert in the virtualization of communication networks. It focuses on access networks (via wireless, fiberglass, or cable), as well as on customer-specific implementations for voice, data, and security solutions. Kapsch CarrierCom works with leading global product suppliers and provides integrated holistic solutions with local knowledge and expertise.
Kapsch PublicTransportCom: focusing on new growth markets
Kapsch PublicTransportCom was spun-off as a separate part of the Kapsch Group in December 2016. The spin-off demonstrates the clear commitment of Kapsch to the growth markets of public transportation and urban mobility. The new structures ensure focused and more dynamic support for these areas. Kapsch PublicTransportCom produces and delivers solutions for Intermodal Transport Control Systems (ITCS), Automatic Fare Collection (AFC), as well as mobile ticketing systems and the latest information for passengers.
Kapsch BusinessCom: expert in digitization and cyber security
Kapsch BusinessCom is one of the leading digitization partners and ICT service providers for companies in Austria. Kapsch BusinessCom relies on vendor independence and partnerships with leading global service providers such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Cisco, and Microsoft, along with a wide network of partners from research and industry-specific solution providers, ranging from start-ups to major corporations. This broad “eco-system” of partners is one of the USPs of Kapsch and enables it to provide optimized support for customers to improve their business performance and to develop new business models. With a team of cyber security experts, Kapsch BusinessCom also advises companies on risk assessments, implementing data backup processes, and protecting against cyber attacks.
Aside from system integration and ongoing further development, Kapsch is also increasingly taking over operation of ICT solutions for companies. Customers can enjoy access to an infrastructure that supports the latest secure cloud solutions at its high-security data center earthDATAsafe in Kapfenberg (Styria in Austria) – constructed in 2008 at a depth of 320 meters. Kapsch already manages large parts of the IT for companies such as Österreichische Volksbanken AG and PSA Payment Services Austria from here.
125 year anniversary: highlight with the “Night of Dedication” in September
To celebrate the anniversary of the company’s founding, a broad-based marketing and communication campaign was launched early in the summer of 2017. A highlight will be a gala at the Wiener Konzerthaus, with a concert led by the exceptional Greek conductor Teodor Currentzis on September 11.
“We have managed to create a strong foundation thanks to our solidarity as a family and the dedication shown by thousands of employees. As a corporate group, we are better positioned strategically than ever before. The dynamics of our time provide us with the opportunity to develop new business models, yet on the other hand they also require us to constantly and dynamically adapt our technical expertise to changes in society,” says Georg Kapsch, summing up the past 125 years of corporate history.
For additional information: www.kapsch.net
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Chief Marketing Officer & Communications