MWJ: Remind us, why did ADI acquire Hittite and how are things going?
GH: ADI had a broad range of solutions and a significant RF portfolio but was operating more in the lower frequency range. At the same time, the company was moving up the spectrum and starting to penetrate Microwave. Hittite had a broad product portfolio in both RF and Microwave, although our strength historically was in RF and Microwave from 2 GHz through 100 GHz.
Because the technologies were highly complementary, it was easy to see that there was very good synergy between the companies. That’s especially true when you consider that the respective portfolios sit virtually adjacent to each other within the signal chains that define our customer solutions, which is now allowing us to provide a much more optimized and integrated solution set.
In addition, ADI gained access to Hittite’s work in gallium arsenide and gallium nitride as well as, modules and subsystems. Hittite tapped ADI’s larger sales force, integrated signal chains and access to more scale and expertise in the areas of packaging, test and wafer-scale manufacturing.
To fast-forward from last June, what we’re able to offer now is a product portfolio that allows us to work with our customers much higher up the value chain. This is incredibly important, because customers today are looking to us as a partner as opposed to a supplier – and we’re now better able to get involved earlier and help them define their solutions.
MWJ: What is ADI’s position in the Aerospace and Defense market now that it has absorbed Hittite’s product portfolio and intellectual property? Tell me more about the nature of the investments you are making to expand your market position.
GH: ADI has been in the aerospace and defense market for all its 50-plus years in business. Hittite was also very active in that area – with a full RF portfolio plus a modules and sub-system business.
Some of the ADI/Hittite parts we continue to deliver and support were first introduced in the 1970s – and together we have an even greater focus on our aerospace and defense customers through marketing and product definition, product strategies and our combined road map.
Areas of continuing investment cover several markets, including:
- Phased-array radar with new and higher levels of integration in RF and Microwave
- Radar and electronic warfare systems where we provide gallium nitride components and power amplifier subsystems
- Defense communications, where we provide highly integrated transceiver chip technology
- For space applications, we’re highly engaged in growing our portfolio of high-speed converters for radiation-tolerant environments and expanding our portfolio of standard catalog RF/analog/and digital components.
- Another key focus is Avionics and UAV technologies, particularly inertial measurement units, which is a fast growing market.
MWJ: In what markets are the newly combined RF/microwave capabilities of ADI?
GH: Thanks to our combined RF and Microwave capabilities, we have a leading position in the infrastructure market for wireless communications, where we’re very strong both in cellular infrastructure and point-to-point radio. And we have a very strong position in other markets, including industrial, which comprises defense electronics and instrumentation.
MWJ: How is ADI responding to RF and microwave market opportunities differently than it did prior to the Hittite acquisition?
GH: Partly it’s the combined portfolio and our ability to provide complete signal chains and application reference circuits exceeding 100 GHz, in addition to more highly integrated chip-level, package-level, and sub-system-level innovations.
Again, it comes back to the fact that our products were very adjacent in the signal chain. For example, we can provide the highest level of integration from baseband to antenna for phased array radar and microwave point-to-point radio (where ADI has been very strong in low frequency IF and data converter solutions, now Hittite brings the rest of the radio).
Our strength also lies in our ability to handle manufacturing and leverage our strong distribution channels and marketing and applications force. It’s the full package that makes this so unique, and, ultimately, that is helping us to remove complexity from customer designs and give them performance, size and cost advantages.
MWJ: What is happening within the newly formed RF & Microwave group?
GH: The capabilities of the combined company are allowing us to provide even more highly integrated solutions to our customers by doing things like removing filters that they otherwise might need to add to their products.
In fact, we’re already working with strategic customers to define next-generation products in the communications, aerospace and defense, instrumentation, and test and measurement markets – world-class, next-generation solutions that provide significant value to our customer through best in class performance with a dramatic reduction in overall solution cost, size, and power consumption.
MWJ: What is ADI doing for its customers today that it couldn’t/didn’t do before the Hittite acquisition?
GH: From a former Hittite perspective, the application support system and the system-level support that we provide to our customers is much stronger now. From the ADI perspective, the acquisition of Hittite greatly strengthened ADI’s innovation capability across RF, microwave, and millimeter wave applications. We are now better able to provide more complete solutions for industrial, healthcare, aerospace and defense, automotive safety, and communications infrastructure applications.
We’ve received very positive feedback from our key customers on the possibilities that we can offer them, and we have a number of engagements with lead customers where we’re exploring how we can better integrate our technologies to solve their problems and give them improved performance, lower power consumptions, and smaller size.
MWJ: How have your distribution partners been required to adapt to changes brought about by the Hittite acquisition?
GH: As a standalone company, Hittite had very little sales redistribution, while ADI has a large worldwide distribution network. The response from the distribution channel to the Hittite products has been overwhelming, and sales through distribution have grown a lot faster than we expected them to.
So the number of customers that we can reach with Hittite products is significantly higher, and we’re seeing a benefit from that already and a lot of excitement from our channel partners.
MWJ: What are some of the emerging trends in RF technology that my readers should be watching?
GH: 5G is emerging. ADI is very well positioned to provide the complete signal chain in 5G – both for massive MIMO below 6GHz, and the emerging millimeter wave access solutions. ADI is already supplying market leading highly integrated silicon solutions to the macro-cell and small cell LTE market, and to the point-point radio market up through 60GHz. We have active conversations with lead customers about how we can leverage this technology for emerging 5G applications.
Another area that we expect to be big is the emergence in millimeter wave applications for sensing and radar. ADI is developing advanced technology for sensing and radar applications up through 77GHz, and we are working with a number of lead customers on integrated silicon solutions for a variety of end markets.
A third trend is the use of gallium-arsenide and gallium-nitride in all the markets that need high power, either for radar and electronic warfare applications, communication up through millimeter wave, or other industrial and test-measurement applications.