Last week, Silicon Labs announced the sale of our Infrastructure & Automotive (I&A) business for $2.75 billion to Skyworks Solutions. In doing so, Silicon Labs will be a pure-play leader in intelligent, wireless connectivity for the IoT. As an IoT pure-play, our business can simplify and focus to accelerate our IoT market leadership and growth. This is a great outcome for both our IoT and I&A teams and a rare but authentic win-win-win for all involved. I’m glad to see others evaluating the transaction feel the same way.
The same day we announced that historic news, I was honored and humbled to be appointed president of Silicon Labs. I’ve truly been blown away by all the kind and encouraging notes I’ve received and I want to thank everyone who’s reached out to wish both me and the company well as we continue our journey.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a believer in the power and potential of our people. Our talented global team pours their passion into their work every day, and the market is rewarding us for it. The market is acknowledging Silicon Labs as the leader of intelligent connectivity with unmatched breadth and depth in our wireless portfolio, the world’s most secure IoT platform, and an extremely strong ecosystem with tens of thousands of customers and hundreds of strategic partners.
Our business is now positioned to capitalize on the truly massive IoT opportunity in front of us with a singular focus. I know I speak for everyone moving forward with the business as an IoT pure-play when I say that the team is energized, focused and ready to help our IoT customers and partners achieve even more success moving forward. We’ve still only scratched the surface of what the IoT can be. There’s so much more to do, and we’re ready to do it.
PS: based on the success of Works With 2020, we’ll be connecting the IoT industry once again at Works With 2021 which is now open for free registration. Works With 2021 is Silicon Labs’ first big opportunity as a pure-play to gather the IoT industry together to accelerate the creation of IoT innovations for homes, retailers, workplaces, cities, healthcare, and more. Hope you’ll join us!
As part of Silicon Labs’ evolution into a pure-play leader in intelligent wireless connectivity for the IoT, we are making some organizational changes.
Since joining the company in 2018, Matt Johnson has done an outstanding job leading our IoT business unit. Under Matt’s leadership, our IoT business has grown by leaps and bounds, setting the stage for our evolution to a pure-play IoT company. Yesterday, Matt was appointed Silicon Labs’ president. As president, Matt now runs our day-to-day business and product execution, ensuring our strategy and team are aligned and positioned for strong growth in our two main market categories: Industrial and Commercial, and Home and Life.
Matt has been a great partner since joining us in 2018, and I look forward to continuing to grow the company together.
After 18 outstanding years of invaluable contributions to Silicon Labs, Alessandro Piovaccari (or “AP” to the Silicon Labs team) is stepping down as CTO. Alessandro joined Silicon Labs in 2003 to design the company’s single-chip FM radio products which have surpassed 1.7 billion device shipments. AP went on to co-architect Silicon Labs’ single-chip TV tuner IC, used by nine of the world’s top ten TV makers, with more than 70 percent market share and 1.5 billion units shipped. As CTO, his technical and leadership contributions have been fundamental to building our current roadmap of IoT products and technology. Most recently, AP focused on building a leading-edge R&D organization devoted to exploring ultra-low power technologies including advancing hardware and software architectures and bringing intelligence to IoT end-node devices. His numerous patents are a testament to his technical innovation, and we are grateful he will continue to support our Silicon Labs in a technical advisory role.
Taking over the CTO role is Daniel Cooley. Daniel is a Silicon Labs lifer, joining in 2005. For more than 15 years, Daniel has focused on wireless technology – from developing patents, to leading our IoT business and driving corporate strategy. His deep understanding of our markets, customers, ecosystems, technology and solutions will accelerate our IoT leadership and growth. Daniel has served in a variety of engineering and leadership roles across the globe, most recently as chief strategy officer. As our CSO, Daniel successfully led our M&A efforts, including the acquisition of Redpine Signals to significantly accelerate our low power Wi-Fi portfolio. Daniel – a highly skilled wireless engineer in his own right – has worked closely with AP and our Central R&D team for many years and I know he’s excited to expand on the company’s leadership in intelligent wireless connectivity for the IoT.
It’s a very exciting time at Silicon Labs. We’re at perhaps the biggest inflection point in our 25-year history, and I’m confident that rising leaders like Matt and Daniel will help further establish Silicon Labs as the preferred destination for IoT silicon, software and solutions.
It all started on the back of a napkin.
Stay with me here. Back in 2014, I was at an industry event with famed EE Times editor Junko Yoshida when I took a napkin and scribbled something on it. No, it wasn’t my phone number. The drawing I showed Junko, as I’m sure she would corroborate, was a sketch of what became the first IoT SoC. And thus began Silicon Labs’ journey to become the undisputed leader of intelligent wireless connectivity for the IoT.
Fast forward to present day and Silicon Labs is doubling down to capitalize on the large and rapidly expanding global IoT business opportunity by signing a definitive agreement to sell our Infrastructure & Automotive (I&A) business to Skyworks, a highly respected, publicly traded U.S. semiconductor company that manufactures semiconductors for use in RF and mobile communications systems. When the transaction closes, Silicon Labs will be the world’s number one pure play IoT silicon, software and solutions company.
I encourage you to read more about the decision to engage in a divestiture of that business in our press release, but the key rationale for this move is ensure both businesses (which are already successful) get the focus they deserve to succeed and grow. As excited as I am for the next chapter in our 25-year history, I do feel a sense of nostalgia as I get ready to say goodbye to the truly outstanding people, products and IP that make up our I&A business.
I’ve spent the majority of my tenure at Silicon Labs as an active contributor to our I&A business, and it’s a part of who I am. In 2003, I started the company’s line of radio and TV tuner chips to receive over-the-air signals first in mobile phones and media players, and later in consumer products and automotive. I’ve been so lucky to work with wonderful people on a wide range of outstanding broadcast, timing, power, isolation and Internet infrastructure products and many of those people are still at Silicon Labs. In fact, some of the broadcast products we designed years ago are still being bought and sold to this day. That’s a testament to the design talent of this world-class I&A team. The $2.75 billion purchase price of the divestiture speaks volumes about the I&A team’s value, successes, talent and strong IP portfolio. I know that Skyworks is eager to welcome the I&A team into their ranks when the transaction closes.
That brings me to the rocket ship that is our IoT business. We have a clear path to becoming the pure-play leader of intelligent wireless connectivity for the IoT. With the massive growth in connected devices and positive asset valuation environment, now is the time for Silicon Labs to be laser-focused on the large, diverse, growing IoT opportunity. Our wireless portfolio is unmatched in breadth and depth. We have the industry’s leading secure, IoT hardware and software platform. And our strong and expanding set of ecosystem partnerships like Amazon, Google, Comcast and Tuya are helping to deliver sustainable design win momentum. Most importantly, we have a continued mission to help developers quickly go from idea to innovation with IoT devices that transform industries, grow economies and improve lives.
We can’t wait to tell our pure-play IoT story to the industry. While the Silicon Labs we’ve been for the past 25 years evolves to this level, we are as committed as ever to helping our world become a smarter, more connected place. I can honestly say that this is as excited as I have ever been in my career for what’s next. Perhaps it’s time to pick up a pen and grab another napkin!
Choosing a Bluetooth development kit is like being a 10-year-old in a candy store. There are countless alternatives, everything looks good on the surface, but it’s hard to choose the right one because each project imposes very different requirements for a kit. This blog explains how to choose the right Bluetooth development kit at various stages of your dev process: experimenting, prototyping, optimizing, and product development.
There are no one-size-fits-all development kits. Suppose you are simply experimenting with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), then a kit with a few essential features and expansion sockets will do just fine. However, if you are building an IoT prototype and running field trials, you need to focus your eyes on other features, such as on-board sensors and coin-cell battery support. When optimizing RF performance or honing a device's energy consumption, or even better, developing an actual product to be manufactured, you will probably need a pro-level Bluetooth development kit.
Here is a rundown of what you should look at on a Bluetooth development kit, based on which stage of the dev process you are in – experimenting, prototyping, optimizing, or product development.
Which type of Bluetooth development kit is ideal for experimenting and testing? What should a newcomer look at in a kit to make the first dive into the world of embedded development?
The first thing to consider on a Bluetooth development kit is an onboard debugger. It keeps your experimenting project nice and easy because you can flash the code and debug it as it runs in the target processor. It also saves you from buying and configuring an extra board. A built-in packet trace interface gives you invaluable information about the Bluetooth data packets in wireless links, providing in-depth insights for your experimenting. A virtual COM port, on the other hand, saves you from buying an external board for UART/USB bridging and takes the hassle out of your project. External connectors to hardware ecosystems such as MikroE and Qwiic are must-have features when experimenting with new things. The plug-in boards save time because you don’t have to build everything from scratch.
Silicon Labs’ Explorer Kit is an ideal entry kit for your experiment. It includes all the essential features listed above, including a few other powerful development features to make the most out of your kit investment.
Explorer Kit is fully supported by Simplicity Studio, the unified development environment for all Silicon Labs technology, which allows you to develop C-based applications using GCC and IAR compilers. Explorer Kit is easy from unboxing onwards – it automatically customizes and installs the right development environment and SDK for the Explorer Kit hardware (BGM220) to get you going.
When building IoT prototypes and conducting field trials, a Bluetooth development kit with a built-in coin cell battery connector is optimal. The battery connector helps you getting the prototype off of your desk and out to field trials quickly. You don’t have to spend time tinkering with external batteries or power supplies.
Silicon Labs Dev Kits are your go-to Bluetooth development kits when prototyping IoT devices and testing them in field trials. Its built-in coin cell battery connector saves your time and money when preparing for trials. The kit provides you all the features needed in prototyping: 2.4 GHz chip antenna, board controller, J-Link debugger, packet tracing, virtual COM, various onboard sensors, and more.
When developing actual market-ready products or optimizing RF performance and energy consumption to perfection, you need the most advanced development features out there – energy profiler is undoubtedly the most critical of them. It allows you to optimize every line of code to achieve superior RF performance and energy-efficiency.
If advanced optimization and product development are your primary tasks, Silicon Labs Pro Kits have your back throughout the process, from the first kit boot-up to the final design. With its onboard Energy Profiler, you can optimize RF performance and energy consumption to perfection, while plug-in radio boards allow you to tune the Pro-Kit based on your RF needs.
Whichever Bluetooth development kit you choose, you should also download a generic Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) mobile app. You simply want it to save time when debugging an embedded BLE application. The mobile BLE app allows you to test and debug the embedded applications and over-the-air (OTA) firmware update functionality easily during development.
Silicon Labs’ Bluetooth development kits are divided into three categories based on your development need – whether you are experimenting, prototyping, or developing a market-ready product, our Bluetooth development kit portfolio has the right solution waiting for you!