Xperi is a new entity with a complicated back-story, but a pretty cool vision for its future. First, there was Tessera, well-known throughout the advanced packaging sector of the semiconductor industry as an IP-based technology company focused on chip packaging and interconnects that historically licensed its technology know-how and patents. In 2003, the company formed a new parent company – Tessera Technologies – in connection with its initial public offering on the NASDAQ. The company’s foray into imaging and video technologies came when it acquired the image sensor chip packaging technologies of Shellcase MVP, and grew in that vein as it acquired Digital Optics and FotoNation. That all happened from 2005-2008. In 2011, Tessera Technologies created Invensas to focus on the development of new semiconductor packaging and 3D interconnect technologies and know-how. In 2015, Tessera Technologies acquired Ziptronix for its ZiBond® and DBI™ processes and Ziptronix was renamed Invensas Bonding Technologies. (Still with me?) Somewhere between founding Invensas and acquiring Ziptronix, it sold the micro-optics business. In 2016, Tessera Technologies made the move to acquire DTS, an audio technology company whose name, if you frequent the cinema, is as familiar to your ears as Dolby (seriously, it’s either one or the other). Tessera Holding Company was formed in connection with the DTS acquisition as the new parent company of Tessera Technologies and DTS.
If you ask me, that’s a lot to keep straight. The folks at all the companies thought so too. And so in 2017, Xperi was born and became the new name of the parent company for five distinctive brands: DTS, FotoNation, HD Radio, Invensas, and Tessera. At SEMICON West, I sat down with Craig Mitchell, president of Invensas Corporation, to get the full story.
The name “Xperi” was derived, quite literally, from the middle of the word “experience.” Individually, explained Mitchell, the subsidiaries of Xperi are all well-known brands known for delivering quality and performance to create immersive audio and imaging experiences. “The vision of Xperi is to bring sensory experiences to life, including sight, sound and beyond,” he explained.
While the five Xperi businesses operate on a licensing model and target consumer electronics companies, the delivery vehicles differ slightly. Here’s the breakdown:
- Tessera focuses on licensing the company’s patent portfolio.
- Invensas Corporation, which provides the semiconductor foundation that enables these sight and sound experiences, will continue developing process know-how focused on semiconductor interconnect technologies and licensing IP.
- DTS will continue to develop and sell product licenses for its premium audio solutions, such as DTS:X immersive audio and DTS Play-Fi which enables wireless audio distribution to and between home speaker networks.
- HD Radio will continue to develop and sell product licenses for its digital radio broadcast software.
- FotoNation will continue to develop and sell product licenses for it software and hardware, in the form of IP cores, for application processors and image signal processors.
Going forward, the intention is to develop, prototype and in some cases, qualify, technologies that integrate sensors, imaging, and audio for the internet of things (IoT) society. Mitchell says the company’s target markets are either semiconductor manufacturers or original equipment manufacturers looking for a total solution, not just for imaging and audio for a smartphone, but so much more. Ultimately, Xperi’s vision is to enable extraordinary immersive experiences for people around the world.
“Experiences are becoming so much more important,” explained Mitchell. “The more sensory functions you can add to the world around you, the more immersive it becomes. Take, for example, the automotive market. It’s becoming less about driving and more about the experience in the car.”
For example, using imaging technology to direct audio, it’s possible to enable directional sound. In a security application, audio sensors “listen” to the environment and turn the camera in the direction of where the sound is coming from, such as a broken window. Other immersive uses combining imaging and audio abound in augmented and virtual reality applications, as well as mixed reality.
Mitchell said the motivation for bringing these teams together came from the individual strengths as well as synergy. The company is now looking at roadmaps for each platform, as well as an integrated roadmap, and will set out together to do things that couldn’t be done before.
“DTS is strong in the automotive and home markets. Tessera, FotoNation, and Invensas are already strong in mobile. By pulling all the pieces together, we can extend our revenue in all three markets,” he explained. “That’s what excites me. Together, we can create a new class of products. That’s what’s cool. We haven’t even comprehended all of the possibilities yet!”
I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to what they come up with next. We’ll be watching! ~ F.v.T