Our journey: The path to powering the future

Hello, and welcome to a very special 3-part series (Our journey, Our influence, Our impact) of the HxGN Spotlight blog, where we’re taking a look at the ways that Hexagon has grown from its founding to a global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions that are helping to shape a brighter and more sustainable future through the power of data.

Over the years, Hexagon’s journey has weathered many changes. We can trace our origins all the way back to September 1975, with the founding of Eken Industri och Handel AB in Stockholm, Sweden. After merging with its parent company in 1987, Investment AB Eken, and making several acquisitions from shareholders Hexagon Aktiebolag, the company was formally incorporated as Hexagon AB in October 1993.

Throughout the 1990s, Hexagon AB acquired wholly owned subsidiaries primarily in Scandanavia, though its industrial products were sold as far as Germany, Russia and the United States. While this strategy was admirably ambitious, the conglomerate found itself lacking focus, and the finances reflected its difficulties. By the end of the 90s, Hexagon AB’s future was uncertain.

That all changed in 2000, the year Hexagon re-energised to focus on a new mission. The monumental task fell squarely on the shoulders of its new CEO, Ola Rollén.

Ola Rollén knew that Hexagon was in a position to enter a brand-new era by building the company around a singular purpose rather than a scattered series of opportune acquisitions. “We set up a number of criteria – that we would be world-leading, that we would have large R&D investment and little invested fixed assets,” Rollén said later in a 2013 interview with Reuters. “It should be easy to move the operations if there were shocks in the global economy.”

Beginning with the acquisition of the similarly-struggling U.S. measurement technology firm Brown & Sharpe and the subsequent acquisitions of Leica Geosystems, NovAtel and Intergraph, Hexagon began to grow by leaps and bounds. This string of strategic acquisitions cemented the company’s position as a leader in sensors and software that would ultimately form the backbone of our digital reality solutions portfolio. This strategy would see Hexagon’s market capitalisation grow more than seventy-fold to a valuation of over 35 billion USD.

But it’s not just smart financial decisions that have led Hexagon to where we are now – it’s the vision behind them. We wholeheartedly believe in the power of autonomy and its unlimited potential to put data to work in ways far beyond what was ever thought possible. The sum of Hexagon’s core technology competencies enables the delivery of Smart Digital Realities™ – real-time, connected, 3D worlds that have an exact 1:1 relationship to the physical world, and are moving industry beyond automation to autonomy.

Smart digital realities are rooted in reality ,empowering a digital replica of the physical world – a one-to-one digital twin of any physical object, place, geography, worksite, city, workflow and more that is augmented with infinite layers of data in real-time.

These layers leverage automation and artificial intelligence to provide complete line of sight to ever-changing situations, enabling insight and action that can impact everything from workflows in a factory to the flow of people in a city during an emergency evacuation, for instance. Through autonomous capabilities, they can learn in real-time which actions need to be taken in the physical world or simulate scenarios virtually to understand expected outcomes. The more autonomously intelligent they become, the more action and decision-making can happen independently of human interaction. Through autonomy, we can leverage massive amounts of data to free humankind from the limitations of both the inefficient and the mundane, giving industry the freedom to do its best work.

Hexagon’s story quickly gathers momentum as we move closer to an autonomy-driven world. Our value proposition is to empower our customers to make their mistakes or failures in the digital world first so they can achieve enormous gains in quality, productivity, efficiency, safety, and sustainability in the real world.

Thank you for reading the first installment in our series on the story of Hexagon. Next time, we’ll dive deeper into how autonomy can put humanity on the path to a sustainable reality here on Earth.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you again soon!

John Gilbert

John Gilbert is a Senior Content Strategist with Hexagon AB in Atlanta, Ga. and is excited to be working at the intersection of brand, marketing, communications and all things digital. John enjoys writing about digital transformation, autonomy, digital reality and sustainability. Before joining Hexagon, John spent 20+ years in global B2B branding, communications and marketing roles; client-side, agency-side and with his own technology business.