Sony to buy Israeli chip maker, targets IoT
Tue 26 Jan 2016
Sony announced today that it has bought Israeli chip maker for $212 million (approx. £150 million) – a move which the Japanese multinational hopes will ‘play a pivotal role’ in the future development of the Internet of Things.
Altair Semiconductor, based in the city of Hod HaSharon in Israel, currently employs around 220 people and has business units across the U.S., China and Taiwan. The company owns specialist modem chip technology and related software for the 4G wireless technology, Long Term Evolution (LTE). Its products – used to connect a variety of devices to the internet including smart security systems, power meters, and vehicles – have been praised for their low power consumption, high performance and competitive prices.
According to Sony, innovation in this area will lead to a “connected environment in which ‘things’ can reliably and securely access network services that leverage the power of cloud computing.”
The Altair acquisition is expected to complete early next month, with Sony planning to expand the tech company’s existing business to support its own sensing R&D branch, designing new products for the wearables and Internet of Things markets.
‘By combining Sony’s sensing technologies – such as GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and image sensors – with Altair’s […] modem chip technology, and by further evolving both, Sony will strive to develop a new breed of cellular-connected, sensing component devices,’ the Tokyo-based firm wrote in an official statement this morning.
The company added that with the expected growth in IoT markets, it aims to deliver a range of component devices which feature ‘both sensing and communication capabilities, as well as new LTE solutions.’
As a result of the acquisition, Sony said that it does not anticipate any ‘material impact’ on its financial results this fiscal year.
A swathe of global companies has turned to Israel recently in pursuit of technological innovation. The country has also been looking to build a stronger trading relationship with Japan, as seen in this month’s newly established partnership between Honda Motor and Israeli startup OurCrowd to develop applications for connected cars.