Silicon Labs sees mixed-signal growth opportunities in 2014

Silicon Labs

Dave Bresemann

Just as 2013 was an exceptional year of change and innovation for Silicon Labs and the electronics industry as a whole, we expect that 2014 will bring even more transformation, writes Dave Bresemann, senior vice president and chief product officer, Silicon Labs.

Two major achievements in mid-2013 have positioned Silicon Labs for new growth opportunities in 2014 and beyond: the strategic acquisition of Energy Micro, the industry leader in energy-friendly ARM-based solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT), and the groundbreaking introduction of our new CMEMS technology platform, bringing the benefits of single-chip CMOS+MEMS integration to the timing market.

We believe these two accomplishments will help drive Silicon Labs’ growth in our embedded and timing businesses, which account for nearly 50% of our annual revenue and represent our largest, fastest-growing market opportunity.

The Energy Micro acquisition is transformational for Silicon Labs’ microcontroller (MCU) business, bringing a leading brand and nearly 250 ARM Cortex-M based EFM32 Gecko MCU products to our embedded portfolio for the rapidly growing IoT market.

Silicon Labs’ goal is to be a leading provider of embedded solutions for the IoT and to develop revolutionary products that will enable all things to be smart, connected and energy-friendly.

With our acquisition of Energy Micro in 2013 as well as Ember’s ZigBee product line in 2012, we believe Silicon Labs has acquired the key technologies to execute on this ambitious goal, including a broad product portfolio and world-class capabilities in low-power, mixed-signal and RF design, software and tools, and networking protocol stacks.

We forecast that the IoT market will continue to experience a strong growth trajectory in 2014 and that ARM will remain the fast-growing segment of the MCU market.

Because many connected device applications for the IoT will incorporate ARM-based MCUs and wireless SoCs, we expect that the market for ARM Cortex-M class cores and energy-efficient MCUs incorporating ARM technology will remain a bright spot in 2014.

In June 2013, Silicon Labs introduced the industry’s first oscillator solution based on an innovative single-die manufacturing technology called CMEMS, an acronym of “CMOS+MEMS.” This rigorously tested technology enables MEMS structures to be fabricated directly on top of standard, high-volume CMOS wafers.

CMEMS is an important innovation for the timing market. CMEMS oscillators are designed to replace quartz-based oscillators in high-volume, cost-sensitive applications where reliability, stability, size and cost are important. Our CMEMS oscillator products have steadily garnered design wins this year.

We plan to expand our CMEMS oscillator portfolio to address high-volume, higher-performance and higher-integration timing applications going forward. We believe that MEMS-based timing solutions will start to gain traction in 2014, and the market transition from crystal-based to MEMS-based frequency control technology will begin to show signs of significant momentum.

With the acquisition of Energy Micro and the introduction of CMEMS technology, Silicon Labs now has all the pieces in place to deliver complete, mixed-signal solutions for the IoT and MEMS-based timing solutions for a wide range of electronics applications.

We have made our investments, and at this point, it’s all about execution. Stay tuned for exciting new mixed-signal products, enablement solutions and technology innovations from Silicon Labs in 2014.




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