DALLAS -- “We don’t get affected by the headlines,” said Rich Templeton, at the second annual TI Media Day here last week, referring to the economic troubles in Greece and Spain.
Texas Instruments’ chairman, president, and chief executive officer, in effect, is bullish about his company’s ability to out-innovate, outsmart and out-design competitors vying for leading markets, despite the economic turmoils experienced by most.
Templeton made a brief appearance at the beginning of the day-and-a-half whirlwind media tour of products, methods, and discoveries by TI engineers and scientists, repeating an earlier mantra that TI is “an analog and embedded company because the world is that way with analog in everything we own.” He then left it to his lieutenants to answer questions.
As expected, the execs responsible for the Multicore, Single Core, Analog and DLP divisions put a positive spin on the innovations in their neck of the woods. Scott Roller, VP and GM, Microcontrollers, was joined by Brian Glinsman, VP and GM, Multicore processors; Dipti Vachani, VP and GM, Single Core Processors; Sami Kiriaki, SVP, Power Management, Analog; and two VPs from DLP division, Kent Novak an Marquita Gordon.
“In ten years the Internet of Things will be a reality,” said Brian Glinsman, “and automobile companies will be rolling out with more and better technology much faster than they have heretofore.”
“We are tapping all businesses to provide power solutions that earlier needed to be plugged into wall sockets,” said Sami Kiriaki. “And in addition we need to replace 35 billion light bulbs with solid-state lighting in the next 10 years.”
DLP VP Kent Novak perhaps encapsulated TI’s current strategy best: “Today you just can’t ship products without the analytics specific to the applications for which the products are designed.”
“We are pushing hard on open source development with our partners,” said Dipti Vachani, “We have one of the largest open source communities in the world. Our deliverables need to be high-quality so we engage with global partners with expertise to complement our devices and system solutions.”
Glinsman added that “we have to release chips with full software support and systems implementation tools for our some 42,000 products.”
“Our job is to trigger our customers’ imagination,” said Vachani, mentioning that that there is now more software being produced for each chip design engineer, part of the company’s 80,000 customers worldwide. The latest tablets sport TI chips.
Many ideas for new products come from TI Kilby Labs, an incubator for major control and other technologies since 2009 for such areas as motors. The Kilby Motor labs is a dedicated area whose goal is to take out the majority of rare earth metals out of motors and efficiently control future motors using proprietary algorithms.
“TI ‘gets it’ regarding what TI calls ‘analytics’ – i.e., analyzing signals to extract valuable information," said TI Media Day participant Jeff Bier, founder and president of BDTI, a specialist in DSPs and embedded vision processing. “This area of 'analytics' is going to become very, very important in the next few years, and represents a big opportunity for chip companies that embrace it.”
Much of TI’s success is its proximity to Texas universities and research centers. “We think we have the largest and most comprehensive analog program in the U.S., said Ken K.O, director Texas Analog Center of Excellence (TxACE), who works closely with TI and its interns and engineers to tackle the “next thing in analog."
Part of UT Dallas’ Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, the center is considered the “MIT of the Southwest," according to O.
The Jonsson school, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, has had a long standing partnership with Texas Instruments. Mark W. Spong, dean of the Jonsson School, considers TI’s proximity a source of prestige when competing against top universities for promising students and faculty.
For a company that started in the 1930s as a geological instrument measurement company, TI has come a long way to become a global powerhouse in the analog and embedded space, owning the industry's only 300mm analog wafer fab.
The semiconductor behemoth from Dallas will be offering its share of chips to mobile computing in order to turn "going to places to have an experience, to one where the experience is on the go," as expressed by DLP VP Novak.
World economy cartoons