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ICONIC INSIGHTS: lunch with Hanns Windele HW: Does your move into Bluetooth Smart signal diversification for Dialog? JB: It does indeed. We believe that we have fantastic traction in the Bluetooth Smart market. There is tough competition, but in any high-volume market, if you have innovation to bring to it, you can still create segmentation and win. And that’s what we do. In this case, we were very early to the market and we are less than half the power and chip size of the alternative solutions. Beyond offering low power, we are working on the next generation devices targeted at high growth verticals, meaning to come you will see Dialog Bluetooth derivatives with bells on for smart home, health and fitness applications and other high growth market niches we have identified. HW: You always appear to be looking for compelling markets: is that why you are breaking into solidstate lighting too? JB: Absolutely. This is an area where we are very big in China. We support most of the major global lighting manufacturers in that territory. My intention is to be in high volume, high-growth markets and it is not my intention to run away from them like many of our peers. These companies say: “you can’t go in there, you will be killed”. Yes, you will be killed, but only if you are blind. You can’t win across the entire market, but you can win in narrow verticals. We currently focus “Wearables will be a big thing, but the first generation products fall far short of users expectations today... on residential retrofit LED bulbs because you can only do one thing well at a time in this market. Once we have firmly established our leadership, we will look at other areas to apply our Solid State Lighting technology. HW: Will you be going into wearables? JB: Wearables will be a big thing, but the first generation products fall far short of users expectations today. You wear a fitness band and it counts the number of steps you take or it monitors your sleep and in some higher-end models also heartbeat. So what? After a week of this you put it aside and quickly forget. But when wearables emerge in a second or third wave with something essential – such as hydration levels, diabetes or blood pressure monitoring over time– things will be different. Add to that something like an in-built payment systems and Wearables will have what’s called a “turnaround factor” which basically means, you would turn around to go back and pick it up if you had left it behind? That’s the test. You would turn around for your smartphone or credit card if you have left home without it, but would you really go home to pick up a device that counted how many steps you walked? HW: The type of engineers required by a company like Dialog don’t breed very quickly. Where do you get your talent? JB: Focused recruitment. In the past years we have grown from 200 people to approximately 1300. To achieve this, we have successfully evolved a recruitment machine. Analog designers are a scarce resource, and more than 70% of our employees are engineers, to staff our 15 design centres around the world. This is, frankly, a challenge to manage, and it’s a case of taking the mountain to Muhammad. But because we know that engineers don’t like to move, we have to go to them. HW: What happened with the proposed merger between AMS and Dialog? JB: This was supposed to be the merger of two equals, and the reason for this was that both companies were valued on the stock market at an almost identical price. After due diligence by both companies we decided that it wasn’t the right thing to do and would have been difficult to realise the expected synergies. When companies merge it is very easy to become distracted. As it happened, we both had strong momentum and growth, but in different directions. If you spend time artificially merging two organisations with different strategies you’ll end up taking your eye off the ball and one-plus-one would have certainly been less than two. HW: Does this mean that you are not open to any mergers at the moment? JB: We are not on the lookout to undertake mergers just for the sake of it. You can end up with a lot of pain and after the early deal excitement, you find yourself with many overlapping functions, which is not always a good thing. The focus then quickly to shift to restructuring and impairment of assets, versus developing new business. Thus I believe is much better to try to find complementary products, companies and technologies that you can put into the machine and go forward, rather than trying to figure out what the machine is. HW: What do you think is next for Dialog? JB: Today, we are known as a supplier of customised power management technology. I think we have been somewhat a peripheral component supplier to the industry because project power management decisions traditionally come after everything else. Where I want to take the company is to a place where the project engineers first consider power management strategically in their architectural decisions and not as an afterthought to solve a problem late in their designs. If you want to know where we are going next, you have to look at what is predicted to be the next high-volume, fast growth market, and not at what is behind us. Our ability to successfully execute in the next volume markets early – for example smartphones and tablets - has been our key success factor at Dialog. HANNS WINDELE is Vice President, Europe and India at Mentor Graphics. www.mentor.com FOR FURTHER DETAILS about Dialog Semiconductors visit www.dialog-semiconductor.com 22 Electronic Engineering Times Europe December 2014 www.electronics-eetimes.com


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