Sony is building up its Internet of Things (IoT) muscle with the $212 million acquisition of Altair, an Israel-based chip maker focused on Internet-enabled devices. It also provides software relating to the LTE (Long Term Evolution) 4G cellular mobile phones standard.
According to a statement from Sony, it will capitalize on Altair’s technologies and image sensors to develop new cellular chipsets as well as access to network services that take advantage of cloud computing.
It expects LTE, which is already used in data communication in mobile phones, to be inserted into even smaller devices and used with networks that connect to cloud computing services. LTE is also used to connect objects in the Internet of Things, including home appliances and sensors.
Late last year Sony also announced the acquisition of Softkinetic Systems, which develops image sensor technology in Brussels, Belgium. In December, it acquired Toshiba's CMOS image sensors business. Sony did not release financial details of either transaction.
In a blog post by Sony's Andrew Devenish, Izumi Kawanishi, executive vice president of the Product Business Group at Sony Mobile, said Sony regards the IoT as a business priority.
“There can be little doubt that the market for network-connected devices – of every shape, size and type – will explode at breakneck pace going forwards," he wrote.
Sony expects to close the deal early next month.
Last week, Dell announced the creation of a new IoT campus in Singapore in partnership with Intel. The new campus will give enterprises and consumers a chance to interact with Dell and Intel IoT solutions as well test the products and consult with Dell technical experts.
IBM has already invested $10 billion in the IoT and related analytics, acquisitions and partnerships. It is also in the process of building a cloud-based open platform to help clients and ecosystem partners build IoT solution through the IBM IoT unit.