System Centering Solutions's Newsletter

WIreless Power for Heart Implant

May 20, 2014

Stanford has prototyped the ability to wirelessly charge pacemakers (HERE). Wirelessly charging pacemakers seems like an idea which makes a lot of sense. In fact, when at WiPower we explored this area with several medical device makers, and the results on the business side were surprising.  These included:The current battery in a pacemakers last nearly as long as the patents. If the battery needs to be replaced, it is likely there is a new generation of pacemaker which would provide an upgrade as compared to the current one.The current payment system is focused on procedures, so there is a disinsentive to have long-life products.It appears that the place wireless power can have a large impact are with high energy devices such as artificial hearts. 

The Tyranny of Software Margins

September 22, 2013

Software is an amazing product because the cost of “manufacturing”  and distribution is essentially zero. With this business model, software companies can be run with incredibly high margins, and can be excellent generators of cash.   The investment community certainly recognizes these characteristics for software companies and rewards them with higher multiples in the public equity markets.  However, it is also true that many of these same companies have difficulty with building new innovative products.  Why ?    The answer is that high margins have a down-side.For most software companies, one of the highest costs on the P&L is R&D.  With efficient markets, the P&L of software companies is optimized at some base-line level of R&D spend.  Thus, for any public software company to invest heavily in innovation, they must increase R&D spending, and thus directly impact the P&L in a material manner.  Note, manufacturing companies do not have this issue because the costs of R&D are...

Qualcomm’s WiPower technology Starting to Gain Traction

August 18, 2013

Recently, Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT) and Qualcomm  announced a collaboration on the development of an IC for consumer electronics devices based on Qualcomm’s WiPower Technology (Read more: http://evertiq.com/news/28787). This news adds to the momentum for Qualcomm's technology in the marketplace. Over the last few months, Qualcomm's technology has been in the news on several occasions:  In June 2013, Qualcomm announced an agreement with Gill Industries to develop the wireless power market for the automotive and furniture segments (http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2013/06/17/gill-to-develop-wireless-power-for-auto-furniture-industries-with-qualcomm/)In May 2013,  Samsung announced some devices based on the Qi Standard, but also indicated that Qualcomm's technology was the future (http://sammyhub.com/2013/03/27/samsung-pins-wipower-as-the-future-for-wireless-charging/)Overall, the first generation of technologies in wireless power have run their course. These technologies...

World Class Software Development for Technical Computing

February 22, 2013

Commercial software development in the field of technical computing has unique requirements which are exemplified by factors such as:extreme focus on run-time performancerequirement of a high degree of responsiveness to the customer basecontinued focus on innovationconcurrent support on multiple computing platformsmost importantly, a very limited set of deep subject matter experts who have the skills to build the solution.Exacerbating the above issues is the fact that the field has traditionally seen a great deal of merger activity which leads quickly to an accumulation of disjoint software development systems. We have published a paper (downloadable from the additional information section at http://www.ocoos.com/services/software-web/world-class-software-development-1212.html) describes a detailed case study of a methodology built within a leading technical computing company which achieved significant success by focusing relentlessly on enhancing the productivity of the individual...

EMS industry at the crossroads?

January 8, 2013

Electronic Manufacturing Service (EMS) companies have enjoyed a reasonably rapid growth in revenue in the last 30 years. However, the marketplace is experiencing significant structural change with the result that EMS companies are at the crossroads relative to their future strategy, and the future of several major EMS companies will be determined in the next five years. For remainder of article:  http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4390731/EMS-Industry-At-Crossroads

EDA to private equity, part 2

January 8, 2013

​A surprising number of people seem to agree with a comment in my recent posting on EE Times, that EDA is run like a family business. I received a lot of feedback on this posting, including a number of recurring questions.  1.    Why would private equity be interesting?  Is EDA interesting enough?   2.    If it's such a good idea, why is it not done ?    3.    Is EDA software really sticky?  Isn’t the real problem competitive discounting?4.    What about the debt?   Would this not be an issue much as it was for Freescale? What about Cadence (which negotiated to sell itself to private equity firms in 2007; the talks broke down)?  For the answers:  http://www.eetimes.com/discussion/other/4373836/EDA-to-private-equity--part-2

Should private equity consolidate EDA?

January 8, 2013

​In the last decade, the three major EDA companies (Synopsys Inc., Cadence Design Systems Inc., and Mentor Graphics Corp.) have had a combined market capitalization which has stayed largely flat (approx $9.5 billion). In this same time period, the leading hamburger manufacturer, MacDonalds, grew shareholder value by 3X (from $28 billion to $99 billion) and the leading household goods manufacturer, Proctor and Gamble, grew shareholder value by over 50 percet (from $121 billion to $185 billion). This situation is obviously not good for shareholders, but the relatively stagnant state of the industry is also negative for customers and employees. Read rest of article at:   http://www.eetimes.com/discussion/other/4372271/Should-private-equity-consolidate-EDA-