A world market leader celebrates an anniversary: devolo turns 15
A very special success story started in Aachen 15 years ago. In May of 2002, Heiko Harbers founded devolo AG with his management team. In a fifteen-year timespan, that small, manageable team evolved into a company that is now the world leader in its market segment, with 300 employees and more than 33 million products sold. The company remained loyal to its Aachen location and devolo continues to show its support with the construction of the new corporate headquarters on Aachen‘s east side.
The founding idea: Internet from the electrical socket
Emerging from what was once ELSA AG, devolo put its effort behind one core idea: using the existing wiring in a home for data transmission. The company sought to use its Powerline technology to capture the very young home networking market. "Why does it usually seem like a data connection is nowhere to be found when you need one? That was the question we asked at the start," says Heiko Harbers, CEO of devolo AG. "The answer to that question promised enormous market potential. And Powerline was the key technology for us."
devolo developed a solution to poor network connectivity. In 2003, the dLAN adapters came onto the market—simple plug-in devices that transformed power cables into network cables. Initially, the transfer rate was still a meagre 14 Mbps, while the current top-end models can achieve up to 1,200 Mbps. Since 2013, devolo has also been offering dLAN adapters with WiFi functionality, bringing high-speed Internet to every corner of the home in the process. Over the years, the adapters from Aachen became international bestsellers. More than 33 million units have since been shipped; they are available in every major electronics store and popular online shop.
A lot has happened since the company‘s founding in 2002. Some important milestones have been reached. The one-millionth dLAN adapter was sold back in 2005. The 100th employee was brought on board in 2008. devolo began building up an international sales organisation step-by-step along the way. Now the company has a presence in 19 countries through its own subsidiaries and partners. In 2015, devolo was honoured with the Hidden Champion Award from the news station n-tv. In 2016, manager magazin called the Aachen-based company one of "Germany‘s digital up-and-comers".
Vision: devolo as 360-degree technology specialist
One of the most important milestones in the company‘s history came when devolo re-organised into four business units in 2015. Since that point, devolo Consumer Business, devolo Business Solutions, devolo Operator Solutions and devolo Smart Grid have each focused on their specific customer segments. A useful realignment. After all, the vision of the management team led by Heiko Harbers is to push devolo‘s development towards becoming a 360-degree technology specialist, a provider of consumer products and solutions for professionals in equal measure.
This is only possible through the use of effective units all serving their markets with the end goal in mind. The consumer experts focus entirely on home networking in the age of streaming and HD content as well as on the booming smart home market. Their colleagues from Business Solutions offer professional networking solutions using Powerline and WiFi and serve as the contacts for state-of-the-art machine-to-machine communication. Operator Solutions adapts devolo products to the needs of telecommunications companies and develops new, customised solutions for them. And the Smart Grid business unit promotes the development of the smart grid.
Construction of a new corporate headquarters
After getting its start in the old ELSA building on Sonnenweg, devolo moved to a rented office building on Charlottenburger Allee in 2009. But the company soon ran out of space. In addition, the safety requirements in the smart grid area specifically placed high demands on facilities and the development environment. As a result, devolo decided to establish its own building for the first time. Construction on the new company headquarters has been in progress on Aachen‘s east side since the summer of 2016. The new building features 6,300 square metres of space—plenty of room for future growth. Completion is planned for late July 2017. Employees are looking forward to the dedication ceremony as well as a birthday party for the company.