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EETE MAY 2014

ICONIC INSIGHTS: Chief executive conversations with Hanns Windele Focusing on energy efficiency CamSemi is making a name for itself as a manufacturer of chips for energy efficient mains adaptors, mobile phone chargers and solid state LED lighting drivers. CamSemi CEO, David Baillie, talks to Hanns Windele of Mentor Graphics Hanns Windele: Revenue growth in the semiconductor business has been averaging in double-digits for two decades, but has recently scaled back to single-digit growth. How do you expect to grow CamSemi under this new climate? David Baillie: One of our key achievements is that, while in 2012 the semiconductor market was down 4 or 5 per cent, with 2013 up by a similar amount, we were the fastest growing semiconductor company in the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100, growing by at least 50 per cent per year. We have done that by targeting markets that are growing dramatically faster than the industry is. HW: And your primary markets are networking and telecoms? DB: That’s where we started. As a start-up business the big challenge was to get people to take the risk of working with us. We identified the home networking market – DSL modem, hub, router – and what we found was that traditional power adaptors in that sector were inefficient. We saw how we could take something that was 50 per cent efficient to 85 per cent and achieve a three-fold improvement in terms of reduced energy waste. We felt that if we could demonstrate that to people, they almost would have no choice but to try our product. Energy consumption has become a major concern from an ecological image perspective. Sometimes we measure our growth in chips or in dollars, or at other times in the number of power stations the world hasn’t had to build because of what we do. These are all meaningful metrics. HW: What advice would you give to EDA companies on our future challenges? DB: The challenge is much less at chip level and more to do with how the chip interacts with the system. Today we have no means of modeling how a layout might work. So today you might have a situation where you turn a transistor through 90 degrees and everything dramatically changes, probably because the transistor is sitting on a lead-frame that is effectively an aerial. If there was an efficient cost-time way of effectively simulating these sorts of problems we would be able to get out of trial-by-experience. HW: Will you be looking into different markets from those you serve today? DB: Yes. Our first market in the networking space was about crossing the chasm of bringing in the first partner customer. Our second market, the mobile consumer space, was about driving growth. But the next huge opportunity is the solid state LED lighting market. Although the handset market is massive – 2 billion units per year – what fascinates us from a power conversion point of view is LED lighting. HANNS WINDELE is Vice President, Europe and India at Mentor Graphics. www.mentor.com FOR FURTHER DETAILS about CamSemi visit www.camsemi.com QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS with David Baillie What do you do for fun in your downtime? Sport. I play tennis, run and cycle at least once a week and I ski whenever I can. What was the last book you read on a plane? I was a huge fan of ‘Game of Thrones’ before it became popularised by HBO. They are remarkable books and can certainly fill a long flight. Outside the tech-world what company would you most like to be CEO of? I do like the occasional single malt, and my favorite is Bowmore from Islay. So maybe I’d like to try to find a way to be CEO there! Who would you want to share a prison cell with? My degree is in physics, so I’d like to share my cell with Albert Einstein. How many pairs of shoes do you own? Not as many as my wife! To me they’re functional things, and so I don’t spend a surprising amount of money on them. 14 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE MAY 2014
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