Fort Wayne-based Riverside Mfg LLC is divesting its Faria Watchdog Vessel Monitoring Systems product line to MA Woods Hole Group Inc., a Massachusetts company that performs environmental and oceanographic assessments for offshore or coastal engineering projects. VMS is used by commercial fishing boats to track their positions, log engine data, and collect other data. Woods Hole Group says the technology will support its marine ecosystem monitoring and fisheries management program.
In an interview with Inside Indiana Business, Riverside Mfg President Scott Maddox said the technology can be found on more than 1,000 boats worldwide, making VMS resource-intensive for Riverside.
“And on top of that, depending on where they are, there are different reporting rules and different reporting requirements,” Maddox said. “So while it was a profitable business, it was very complicated. We thought it was best to divest from that particular segment and focus on the less resource-intensive aspects of the telematics business.
LISTEN: Maddox explains why Riverside has diversified this product line and where it is focusing its attention.
Riverside specializes in designing and manufacturing electronic products that withstand harsh environments. Maddox says VMS equipment production represents only 2-3% of Riverside’s business. It does not disclose the financial terms of the deal.
The company will transfer active VMS subscriptions, technologies and specific assets to WHG over the next few months.
Woods Hole Group says the technology completes a core mission of serving national and global sustainable fisheries.
“We look forward to transferring Riverside’s fishing customer base and technologies to Woods Hole Group, providing quality customer service and access to our industry-leading fishing intelligence solutions” , said Bob Hamilton, managing director of Woods Hole Group.
As the company divests from this product line, it is focusing more on telematics. In May, Riverside received Apple MFi certification, which allows the Fort Wayne company to manufacture hardware for Apple.
“We have an Apple Developer License Agreement with them. So we were able to design products with them for many years. But now we associate that with the ability to create products for them. So it’s very exciting for us,” Maddox said.
Maddox says the company is investing heavily in its manufacturing operations, including adding advanced robotics coupled with vision systems and artificial intelligence algorithms.
“And then, of course, we invest in our people. It’s hard to get people right now. So we want to grow our people,” Maddox said. “We also want to increase their skill level. All this equipment that I was talking about will have to be operated. We need to train these people and increase their skill level.