By now most everyone in the aerial surveying and photogrammetry community has likely heard that the Vexcel Imaging UltraCam business is no longer a Microsoft subsidiary. And you may be wondering “what does this mean?” Well, for starters, we have a really cool new company logo as seen here. And we are hard at work rebranding and reworking our marketing materials, web site and social media pages. Our cameras will even get a new look. A lot of work right now but it all feels pretty good. After roughly ten very good years as a Microsoft subsidiary, we are once again an independent company, as of March 11, 2016.
To purchase Vexcel Imaging GmbH back from Microsoft, a Vexcel Holdings company was formed by four managing partners: Erik Jorgensen, former Microsoft Corp. Vice President; Stephen Lawler former BING CTO; Martin Ponticelli, CTO of Vexcel Imaging, and Alexander Wiechert, CEO of Vexcel Imaging. These four individuals literally own Vexcel Imaging. To better serve the North American market, a Vexcel Imaging US, Inc. has been established as a subsidiary to Vexcel Imaging GmbH.
Other than this, and how you will contact us, very little has changed. The newly founded Vexcel Holding is just a legal entity for the share purchase. All the operative business stays within the well-known Vexcel Imaging GmbH. The internal organization of Vexcel Imaging has not changed–we continue to have three units: Operations (led by Alexander Wiechert), Development (led by Martin Ponticelli) and Application (led by Michael Gruber). The business scope remains unchanged with a strong commitment to outstanding UltraCam and UltraMap products for aerial and terrestrial markets and applications.
But there is this: we now have more control over our destiny.
The Microsoft years were undeniably a great ride. Microsoft brought great value to the UltraCam program and together, Microsoft and Vexcel Imaging created amazing developments for Virtual Earth and Bing Maps. But “no man can serve two masters,” as the saying goes. Well, we did a pretty good job, actually. But we had to divide our development resources between our commercial customers and our large internal customer who had requirements of a rather ambitious mapping program. As an independent company, we can now refocus our teams fully on taking care of the needs of commercial markets. We can be more nimble and we can act more quickly.
We leave Microsoft with broad IP licensing rights and have a very aggressive roadmap that includes new aerial and terrestrial sensors and new releases of our UltraMap software with powerful features and capabilities. A brand new UltraCam aerial sensor is being announced already this week at the ASPRS 2016 Annual Conference in Ft.Worth, Texas. If you attend the conference, be sure to stop by and see us on the exhibit floor.
The best endings are those that lead to new beginnings. As we close one chapter, the pen is inked up and we are already writing the next. It’s going to be another great ride!
-Jerry Skaw, Vexcel Imaging UltraCam Team