Four years after being acquired by Sony, Altair Semiconductor is becoming Sony Semiconductor Israel. “We have been honored to be part of Sony for the past four years, playing a key role in the company’s core business,” says Sony Semiconductor Israel CEO Nohik Semel. Semiconductor Solutions President and CEO, Terushi Shimizu, said: “We expect to see great innovations in IoT and to build AI capabilities directly into our Semiconductors and Solutions.”
Sony Semiconductor Israel provides of cellular IoT chipsets. They are considered the smallest and most highly integrated LTE CAT-M and NB-IoT chipsets on the market, featuring ultra-low power consumption, hardware-based security, and a carrier-grade integrated SIM (iSIM), all 5G ready.
Strategic move into Artificial Intelligence Market
In June 2020 Altair revealed it is entering the Artificial Intelligence (AI) chips market: Sony Semiconductor Israel also developed the AI Digital Signal Processor (DSP), which was included in the recently announced intelligent vision sensor IMX500/IMX501 by Sony. The component is built of two chips embedded in stacked configuration inside a single package (Multi Chip Module) consisting of a Sony image sensor, and a DSP processor developed by Altair, which is responsible for a neuronal network inference operations.
When installed in a security camera, street camera, or other IoT devices, the logic circuit processes and sends only the inference itself to the network center. Thus, it saves processing and communication resources and enables a given device to function as a smart sensor without compromising the privacy of the people being photographed.
This move may explain why Altair is now called Sony Semiconductor Israel. Visual sensors are the core business of Sony Semiconductor Solutions Group, and “smart sensors” are going to be the next core business of Sony’s visual sensors. The new name represent a new role for the Israeli branch.
“Altair” will not disappear
Altair, now Sony Semiconductor Israel, partners with leading global vendors, including ARM, G+D (Giesecke+Devrient), HERE Technologies, Murata, and Sierra Wireless, to provide industrial and consumer IoT applications such as trackers, smart meters, smart labels, wearables, and vehicle telematics.
The Altair chipsets are commercially deployed on the world’s most advanced LTE networks, including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Docomo, KDDI, SoftBank, Verizon, and Vodafone. The company announced that its cellular IoT product line continue to maintain the “Altair” branding.