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2004 World Technology Awards Winners & Finalists
Please describe the work that you are doing that you consider to be the most innovative and of the greatest likely long-term significance.
CSR is a leading developer and provider of single chip wireless solutions designed to support data and voice communications between a wide range of products over short range radio links, using the 2.4GHz Bluetooth personal area networking standard. Our solutions are implemented through a range of ICs incorporating differentiated on-chip software. Since our first commercial shipments in May 2000, we had shipped more than 20 million Bluetooth ICs as at 31 December 2003.
Bluetooth technology provides a convenient, low power and low cost solution for enabling the short range wireless exchange of voice and data between communication, computer and consumer devices. According to IMS the market for Bluetooth devices was 28 million units in 2002 and is projected to grow to 103 million units in 2004 and 190 million units in 2005.
With our first generation Bluetooth IC, BlueCore1, we led the wireless communications industry in introducing the first production ready, single chip, CMOS implementation of the Bluetooth standard, including the high frequency radio (RF), digital signal processor (Baseband) and communications protocol stack elements. We are now shipping BlueCore2 products and its next generation of products, BlueCore3, is in its sampling phase with lead customers and we expect volume production to commence in mid-2004.
We deliver all of the communications system software (the 'communications protocol stack' or 'software stack' ) that runs on our ICs as well as a complete range of the software application programs that are needed to integrate the Bluetooth system into an end product. We can serve the different requirements of the disparate industries that use Bluetooth technology by offering a tailored combination of our ICs, communications protocol stacks and software application programs that are most suited to the particular end application.
Our ICs are used in all the principal applications deploying Bluetooth technology including mobile phones from BenQ, HTC, NEC, Nokia, Panasonic and Sharp; wireless headsets from Hutchison '3', Jabra, Logitech, Motorola and Plantronics; almost all new models of laptop personal computers with Bluetooth capability introduced in 2003, including Apple, Dell and IBM; mice and keyboards from Logitech and in-car communication systems supplied for SAAB and supplied by Motorola for Audi and BMW. Our BlueCore ICs are approved by Microsoft for use with its Windows operating system.eveloped particularly for headset applications, and BlueCore2-PC is specifically designed for PC applications.
We have adopted a fabless business model under which the manufacturing of our ICs, utilising industry standard bulk CMOS processes, and their assembly, packaging, testing and shipping are sub-contracted to third parties. This model, which is readily scalable, allows us to focus our efforts on the design, development, sales, marketing and support of its products and significantly reduce our capital requirements.
To enable our customers to integrate CSR's systems into their products, we sell our customers powerful hardware and software development tools. We also provide our customers with significant applications support.
With such a broad range of products and designs, CSR has been instrumental in working with its customers to Bluetooth-enable a great number of inventive devices and as such, the company’s market share has shown no signs of waning. Recently these have included adaptors to Bluetooth-enable non-Bluetooth mobile handsets, barcode readers, PDAs, mobile headsets and in-car handsfree kits. At present, one of the largest Bluetooth markets is in headsets. CSR has a significant share of this market and accounts for around 80 percent of the chips in headsets from leading manufacturers including Motorola and GN Netcom. Analysts expect to see a surge in the use of Bluetooth hands-free car-kits, and CSR can already claim Audi and Motorola as its customers in this area. CSR has also provided PC and laptop OEMs including HP, Toshiba and Sony, and peripheral makers including Microsoft and Logitech, with the technology to Bluetooth-enable their designs via PC cards, dongles and embedded systems.
As a private company, CSR has attracted investment of $85m, from companies such as Compaq, Sony and Intel, all of whom are keen to support Bluetooth technology which is now firmly established with both the OEM and consumer markets.
What is Bluetooth technology? Bluetooth is the brand name for a technology specification for low-cost, short-range radio links between mobile PCs, mobile phones and other devices. It enables users to connect a wide range of computing and telecoms devices easily and simply, without the need for cables.
The Bluetooth system operates in the 2.4GHz radio frequency band, which is license free in nearly all countries. Although globally available, each country has a specified set of frequencies that can be used for transmission.
The specification's ability to meet cost/performance needs for a whole raft of applications will be a significant factor in its adoption. Bluetooth technology is lower in cost than alternative wireless standards and will also often allow a lower cost replacement for cables and connectors, particularly when accounting for installation and maintenance.
James Collier has served as CSR’s chief technical officer since CSR’s establishment in April 1999. Mr. Collier is a co-founder of CSR. Between 1984 and April 1999, Mr. Collier held a number of executive and technical positions at Cambridge Consultants Ltd, where he formed the microelectronics group in 1987. Prior to 1984, Mr. Collier held a number of executive and technical positions at Schlumberger. Mr. Collier has a degree in physics from Oxford University, UK.
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