Fumihide Esaka, Chairman and CEO, Ambiq

Ambiq: Endpoint Intelligence

To unlock the full potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, it is essential to find energy-efficient semiconductors that can assist the magnitude of their growth in the near future. However, companies working in this niche face various problems such as inadequate security, limited customer demands, and technology barriers. To resolve these issues, Ambiq is committed to improving the quality of life by enabling the intelligence of endpoints while further reducing carbon footprints.

With over two decades of experience in senior management, Fumihide Esaka, the Chairman and CEO of Ambiq, oversees the operations with his meticulous attention and accuracy. Under his leadership, Ambiq has a diverse spectrum of experiences and skillset; we came together and united with one goal to enable the true Internet of Things where the battery-powered endpoint devices can truly be connected intuitively and intelligently 24/7.

We came across Ambiq in our quest to find “The 10 Most Disruptive Companies in Semiconductor Industry.” We talked with Fumihide to understand how Ambiq is maximizing industrial design flexibility.

Below are the highlights of the interview.

Give us a brief overview of your company, its mission, and the key aspects of its strong foothold in the Semiconductor industry.

Ambiq has been on a singular mission to put intelligence everywhere by creating the most energy-efficient semiconductor solutions for battery-powered IoT endpoint devices since 2010. Ambiq has helped many leading manufacturers worldwide develop products that can operate for days, months, and sometimes years on a battery and even do away with the battery entirely by harvesting energy.

Ambiq’s patented Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology (SPOT™) platform has revolutionized the equation between operations and power consumption to support products to run more functions for much longer. Our ultimate goal is to enable Artificial Intelligence (AI) on mobile and portable devices that are not possible without Ambiq’s advanced ultra-low-power microcontroller (MCU) and System-on-Chip (SoC) solutions. With over 100 million units shipped in 2020, and are on track to meet our goal to enable intelligence on more than 100 billion IoT endpoint devices in the near future. For more information, visit www.ambiq.com.

Describe your top-notch offerings that address the need of your customers.

IoT devices today, such as wearables, hearables, game consoles, remote controls, etc., demand more features and functionalities than ever before, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic happened. People are concerned about their own health and the welfare and health of their loved ones. Our solution aims to enable the development of new features and functionalities on new products without sacrificing power usage.

What makes your company a preferred choice among your clientele over other competitors?

There are a few reasons why 9 out of the top 10 wearable companies are working with Ambiq. What sets Ambiq apart from the rest of the semiconductor companies first and foremost is our proprietary technology platform, SPOT. Rather than using transistors that are turned all the way “on,” subthreshold circuits use the leakage of “off” transistors to compute in both the digital and analog domains.

With most computations handled by using only leakage current, total system power consumption on the order of nanoamps is easily achieved. Operation at such low voltages is very challenging due to susceptibility to noise, high sensitivity to temperature, and variability due to process drift. In developing the SPOT™ platform, Ambiq has addressed all of these challenges by redesigning every analog and digital circuit in the chip to adapt to the temperature, voltage, and manufacturing variations at these voltage levels.

From customer service representatives to our Chairman and CEO, everyone at Ambiq is committed to supporting our customers and channel partners to achieve their goals.

How is your company applying the latest innovative technologies to streamline your work process?

We are constantly looking into ways to improve our tools and processes to be more efficient and competitive. With that in mind, we keep an open environment where our employees feel free to communicate their thoughts and concerns about our existing tools and processes. In the last two years alone, we’ve adopted new martech services to help with PR distribution, media monitoring, email automation, CRM, Microsoft SharePoint for internal and external collaborations, and inventory access management to help streamline various processes.

Describe the values that drive your organization.

Our mission is to put intelligence everywhere. Our vision is to deliver the world’s most energy-efficient solutions to enable artificial intelligence to the endpoint. We value collaboration, creativity, innovation, openness, and most importantly, trust and integrity. With a diverse hardware portfolio and a full suite of software solutions, Ambiq is poised to unleash Endpoint AI and bring true intelligence to devices beyond the Edge. Ambiq has set a higher bar for the entire power semiconductor ecosystem to follow by demonstrating what was unattainable by other semiconductor manufacturers.

In your opinion, what could be the future of the Semiconductor market post the COVID-19 pandemic? And how are you strategizing your company’s operations for that future?

We envision the IoT to continue to rapidly expand to enable everything connected and possibly automated to communicate with each other and deliver decision-making insights; the need for semiconductors will grow exponentially. As the COVID interrupted the entire supply chain, the growing demand for chips will continue to be a challenge to most manufacturers as the demand and need for better products with new features will always be there.

In what ways have you or your company contributed to the community?

Ambiq opened offices in six countries, the USA, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Japan, and India, to support the local economics and become more embedded into the daily fabrics of the communities we serve. We proactively reach out to local academic institutions to offer free lectures and paid internships. Our goal of putting intelligence at the IoT endpoint is to ultimately contribute to a better, cleaner, and more sustainable environment where battery use can be extended or eliminated.

Ambiq’s continuous cooperation on Sony environmental quality assurance activities is now a certified Sony Green Partner.

What are your future aspirations? Where do you see your company in the next five years?

Ambiq strives to put intelligence everywhere. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are currently executed either in the Cloud or at the edge as they require a massive amount of energy for computation. Our patented Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology (SPOT™) platform will, for the first time, extend the AI and ML to the endpoint where devices rely on batteries to operate. We envision the future of an interconnected world where mobile and portable devices can run complex operations for optimum user experience for days, weeks, or months with a single charge.