Trimble was recently honored with one of Fast Company's Next Big Things in Tech awards for 2022 "for bringing hyper-precise positioning to smartphones" to the market with the Trimble DA2 and Trimble Catalyst.
Explore all the winners on the Fast Company site, and keep reading for a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the winning system.
For the development of the Trimble DA2 with Trimble Catalyst, the company leveraged its global talent pool to maximum effect. The highly coordinated effort, started in 2018, not only endured during global pandemic conditions but thrived as team members adapted to social distancing, remote work and significant collaboration across time zones. The core team of approximately 25 people worked from far corners of the globe, with contributions in hardware and software development from New Zealand, software development from Europe and India, and algorithm development and industrial design from the United States.
Unable to get on an airplane and collaborate in one location, team members relied on regular connections via conferencing and chat, often during late nights and early mornings to accommodate varied time zones, and working across language barriers and cultural differences.
While the project posed the unique challenges of innovating collectively from locations around the globe, the team’s diversity of expertise and geographic locations yielded innovation breakthroughs that improved product design and performance. More specifically, teams from different parts of the world generated unique ideas that enabled the solution to maximize the benefits of its evolution from using the DA1 antenna to using the DA2.
In the project’s development phase, the DA2 antenna posed significant technical challenges. Unable to find a commercially available antenna for the project that was sufficiently low cost and high performing, the team opted to design and manufacture the antenna in-house.
The Trimble team in New Zealand came up with the phenomenal antenna design, which surpassed the cost savings and performance of commercially available products. After the design phase, Trimble’s manufacturing experts ensured the antenna was easy to manufacture in a fully automated process and easy to place within the wider Trimble Catalyst system.
The quality assurance and testing phase of the project represented the largest time commitment for the team, requiring testing of the Trimble DA2 with Trimble Catalyst solution worldwide to ensure it worked with the diversity of satellite constellations designed for different world regions. In this way, having a globally distributed team also proved advantageous, with developers in each country able to test the system in their local environment, across different seasons and in different environmental conditions, including under leafy trees, in snow, on city streets and in wide suburban areas.
Following this intense period of continuous testing, the Trimble® DA2 GNSS receiver for the Trimble Catalyst™ positioning service debuted in September 2021, bringing easy-to-use precise positioning to the location-enabled workforce. The combination of the Trimble ProPoint™ GNSS engine for enhanced performance with the DA2's support for iOS devices meant that Catalyst could now deliver Trimble quality positioning to more geospatial professionals than ever before — the benefits of which are only expected to grow.