Sony Leaps Further into IoT Space

By CIOReview | Thursday, January 28, 2016
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FREMONT, CA: Stepping further into the IoT space, Sony Corporation announced acquisition of Israel based LTE solutions provider Altair Semiconductor in a $212 mn deal. Stating that the acquisition will not have a material impact on its financial results for 2016, the company aims to complete the acquisition by early February. Sony recently acquired Toshiba’s semi conductor fabrications facility, its 300mm wafer production line at its Oita Operations facility.

Established in 2005, Altair Semiconductor is a leading provider of single-mode LTE solutions. The company claims their product powers millions of devices ranging from USB dongles to high end smart phones and gadgets. Altair recently expanded its global operations by opening a new R&D center in Taiwan.

Sony, through its official press release stated that it would strive to develop a new breed of cellular connected sensing component devices by combining Sony's sensing technologies - such as GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and image sensors with Altair's high-performance, low power and cost-competitive modem chip technology. Expanding Altair’s existing business is also a part of Sony’s agenda.

The Japanese tech behemoth’s intent remains unclear although analysts point to the company’s shift in focus to integrate its smart devices with enhanced sensing capabilities. In October, Sony announced that its semiconductor operations would be split off into a separate company, called Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation.

Long Term Evolution (LTE) is a much sought after technology that promises to play a pivotal role in IoT penetration. The ability to connect several devices at once while maintaining low power consumption makes the technology more favorable for enterprise purposes. IT research forecasts that ‘connected things’ will rise by more than 30 percent worldwide during the current year. Sony’s drone venture Aerosense is another example of the company’s move to lead innovation in cloud and IoT technologies. Aerosense leases unmanned aerial vehicles to enterprises for applications that require aerial imagery.