Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.
The Deliverer Of Resonance
It’s good to meet a CEO who’s open to new business models, who looks to new uses for his technology, supports new technology developments and seeks new ways of taking his technology to market. James Lewis, founder of Oxford Semiconductors, now CEO of NXT, is like that.
Three weeks ago he took over the flat panel speaker company. In that time he’s produced an integrated transducer/ amplifier module, and a set of USB speakers based on the module, so he can now sell NXT technology as an IP, as a chip, as a module and as an end product.
At the heart of NXT is its transducer technology. “It’s difficult to persuade customers to use the transducer technology, because they don’t understand it,” says Lewis, “so if we couple the electronics with the transducer we have a better sell.”
Before that, NXT sold transducer technology both as an IP and a discrete transducer. In April, NXT acquired Audium’s amplifier technology and now it has added the transducer to the amplifier to move up the value chain as a module.
The $15-20 module represents 80% of the BOM of a very superior set of speakers.
Lewis’ aim for the company is to make it the ‘NXT Inside’ of the sound system industry.
The technology, of course, is ubiquitously, and very interestingly, applicable.
A company called prime-vibe.com uses it to ‘season’ (warm-up to its prime state) a stringed instrument like a violin or cello – something a musician usually has to do in his warming up routine.
Another company, called tunebug.com has a gadget about 1.5 inches in diameter which produces vibrations which, if applied to a flat surface, turn the surface into a speaker. When I saw it on Tuesday, I said: “I want one.” “Everyone says that,” replied Lewis. Today I ordered one from Amazon.
Another company called paperjamz.com uses the technology to make guitars with which you can belt out a song without any musical ability. Or, alternatively, they teach you to play a guitar in the traditional string-plucking fashion.
As a deliverer of resonance, NXT is constantly finding new ways to go with its technology.
It’s working on a technology for delivering haptic feed-back for people typing on glass screens. Lewis’ expectations for it do not lack ambition. He expects it to reconcile the world to the experience of typing on glass.
Tags: deliverer, resonance, stringed instrument, technology developments, value chain