Steering Everyone towards a Better Future

Date:   Tuesday , May 19, 2015

Analog Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADI) is a semiconductor company providing analog bridge to the digital world. Headquartered in Norwood, Massachusetts, the company has a current market cap of $19.98 billion.

As you are celebrating your 50th anniversary, please share your perception on current semiconductor ecosystem?

The geometries keep shrinking with double the compute power for every 18 months. Instead of following heavy computing, industry is getting aggressive on geometries line and incubating other technologies like sensors and bringing in high power functions to provide more real-world interfacing. Although we pursue both paths, as a real world signal processing company, we are developing a whole slew of sensor technologies on our internal processors to which we can bolt our signal conditioning technologies.

What is your major focus area currently?

Our spotlight is on healthcare (vital monitoring), automotives (ADAS), communications (5G) and industrial broadly. We have limited yet targeted focus on consumers market. We have very strong brand position in these lucrative and fertile areas with big customers. We will evolve with the applications within these areas.

What are the technology trends and innovations that could shake the industry in future?

Apart from communications systems that are moving up in frequencies, the industry is moving towards achieving a cost-effective and size-appropriate sensor technology with optimum signal conditioning. We are sensing, signal conditioning and preferably extracting and intelligently interpreting information. While customers expect suppliers to provide more holistic solutions, we are striving to match our suitcase full of toolsets (base technologies) to match with ever-changing customer\'s expectations.

How do you plan to fill the gaps in ecosystem to make the world a better place?

We feel responsible for creating the right ecosystem for customers. Empowering them to easily and quickly adopt us takes a whole suite of support technology enablement capabilities like reference designs and software modules. Some of our biggest customers are outsourcing hardware designs to us and moving to software and services. Hence, we spend ample time living in customer\'s world to make their life easier.

Do you have any initiatives to bring students up to industry standards?

One of the biggest challenges in India is access for students in labs. We discovered portable lab kit, a smartphone sized device that can be plugged to laptop to become virtual lab by replacing several expensive devices. We have shipped up to 20,000 kits in past 18 months for a much cheaper price. We not only influence the students we wish to hire, but also develop the skills of those students who will work for our customers. With Ambition, our fellowship contest, we reached out to 250,000 engineering collages and finalized 100 plus teams. When they start designing we pair them up with two mentors (university professor & experienced designer from ADI) for 8-10 months. We also run high school and secondary school competitions in different regions to steer them towards maths and science early. We fund countless targeted research projects as well.

What major breakthrough will happen in the hyped IoT industry? And what role will semiconductor industry play to make the dreams of the various verticals come true?

People perceive IoT as the next big wave - mainframe computers to PC to cell phones to IoT. We provide components as well as platforms to easily design IoT systems. Although there is a lot of noise in market, only a few will really doctor sustainable technologies. We like IoT since there is a lot of hardware. Likewise, analytics and software companies also expect to monetize IoT. Software startups will reach there sooner as they can afford to do trial and error until attaining successful algorithms. Apart from the vast time it takes to break in new hardware, hardware startups also have to shatter several barriers such as establishing reputation with customers, reading market signals and getting funds. There are less than one percent of venture firms that invest in hardware startups. This worries us. ADI internally incubate some novel ideas and invest in startups that touch our lives. We watch and learn as they develop, instead of influencing them as controlling investors.

What is ADI\'s strategy to embrace \'Make in India\'?

Lately, numerous large MNCs and design houses, which have setup their design centers in India, are keen on setting up their factories here. The beauty is that the government is chipping in up to 30 percent to entice them. While this initiative ensures that the budgets of MNCs are balanced, it also brings a requirement for humungous amount of skilled manpower. We will be playing multiple angles akin to being design partners to these MNCs. For the last three decades we have been doing business with Indian customers and partners. (As told to Anamika Sahu & Susila Govindaraj)