ADI Catalyst finds favor with Vodafone, Intel, others

ADI Catalyst finds favor with Vodafone, Intel, others

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

ADI Catalyst, a product and partnership development accelerator in Limerick, Ireland, is starting to prove its value and could be copied in Japan and other places, according to parent Analog Devices Inc.

Johnson & Johnson and Marvell are two companies that were already known to be working in the center. They have been joined by Vodafone and Intel working on RF for OpenRAN communications amongst others. An example of a smaller company is Varjo Technologies Oy (Helsinki, Finland), which is developing high-end virtual and mixed-reality headsets with collaboration in Limerick.

A journalist tries Varjo’s virtual reality headset at ADI Catalyst.

Analog Devices has invested €100 million in the 100,000 square foot centre which opened formally in March 2022. The ‘ballroom’ style facility is now one-third occupied with the remaining two thirds expected to fill over the next 12 months, according to Mike Morrissey, the director of ADI Catalyst.

The purpose of ADI Catalyst is to allow ADI to work with its customers and its customers’ customers to compress the development time for solutions created from a system-level viewpoint.

Highly integrated chips, heterogeneous packaging and the impact of artificial intelligence are all having a highly disruptive effect on system-level design, the company said. The ADI Catalyst facility helps Analog Devices understand and support use cases.

In many cases Analog Devices reaching up the development and supply chain is “pushing at an open door” according to ADI executives. This is because automotive, communications and industrial manufacturers also want to engage down their supply chain and beyond their tier-one suppliers to get their desired system-level features supported energy-efficiently in silicon. Although automotive partners often wish to remain anonymous about their involvement a wireless battery management system is one example of the work ADI is developing.

US pharmaceutical products and medical equipment company Johnson & Johnson is an ‘anchor’ partner at the site helping ADI address industrial 5G communications in factory and robotized facilities. Johnson and Johnson spends US$1 billion per year on factory automation so if ADI can get that right it opens up massive industrial markets, Morrissey said.

Peader Forbes, director, of radio platform development at ADI discusses collaboration with Vodafone and Intel.

On the communications front ADI Catalyst is hosting Intel and Vodafone to support their work on the RF part of OpenRAN (see Vodafone fast-tracks Arm-based chipsets for Open RAN) Andy Dunkin, OpenRAN RF and digital platform development manager at Vodafone, said: “We’re here as an indirect customer to ADI. We work with suppliers like ADI primarily to influence the design of silicon that will arrive in two or three years’ time.”

Morrissey said: “We’ve had 58 partners working here in the last two months. The lengths of their engagements have varied between two weeks and two years.”

Morrissey said the types of engagement include:

  • Long-term joint teams working on-site on a several projects
  • a joint team working on a single project that might last a couple of months
  • arm’s length engagements where ADI collaborates with partners working remotely.

“Obviously we prefer the first two types of engagement,” Morrissey said. He added “We’ve had 58 partners working here in the last two months. The lengths of their engagements have varied between two weeks and two years.”

“ADI Catalyst is unique but we’re looking at Japan and other geographies,” said Morrissey. Japan is a likely candidate as it has a similar electronics equipment profile to Europe with strong players in the automotive, industrial and communications sectors, he explained.

Morrissey declined to put a time line on the creation of ADI Catalyst Japan. It depends on finding the partners with the same vision and will as Analog Devices who are prepared to volunteer people and assets. North America and Asia are also targets for ADI Catalyst approach, the company said.

Related links and articles:

News articles:

Analog Devices invests €100m for Catalyst in Europe

Interview: ADI’s Martin Cotter on how Europe is driving change

Vodafone fast-tracks Arm-based chipsets for Open RAN

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