TI’s product is developed for a focused medical application. It targets a narrow market segment – a segment with a significant potential due to the rise of low cost, portable medical devices. Customers can efficiently build a medical device around this product since it is already developed and tested for that focused application. For some other application based on photometry, but with different sensor characteristics, TI’s product would largely be inadequate.
Systemcom’s solution was developed with a different philosophy in mind. It targets potential customers who use different sensor types used in today’s market but also targets sensors that will be introduced and commercially available in the near future. Applications for Systemcom’s product using suitable sensors are found across multiple vertical market segments -- medical and biomedical (pulse oximeters like TI’s product, glucose meters, etc), environmental, automotive, industrial, communication and cutting-edge mobile devices segments. All Systemcom building blocks were designed as IP modules-- the modular approach allows a tailored and optimized solution for a particular application -- e.g., number of gain stages to reach an overall amplification figure. Based on the particular requirements from a customer, Systemcom can quickly provide an optimized product - either in the form of an IP module or ASIC. This significantly reduces the development cost due to an already optimized design on the block level and allows a very fast time-to-market introduction. Otherwise product integration into the end-system would require a more extensive effort due to additional application development and testing not performed earlier in the development phase. For a small vendor, the benefits of a shorter and cost-effective development cycle would prevail in the overall cost analysis.
The above analysis validates the fundamental differences in the market approach among large and small vendors.
• A large vendor develops a dedicated IC with well-defined and limited functionality covering the needs of targeted customers.
• A small and highly specialized analog vendor develops a more general product for various applications in the form of IP modules and ASICs with customization features and strong support for integration into larger end-systems.
There is plenty of room in the market for both approaches. Customers benefit from the two similar products that are offered, each with an emphasis on different application and system characteristics.