With the trouncing of the San Francisco 49ers by the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, it is fair to say that Infineon Technologies had a much better week than the Niners. After all, Infineon used Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers’ home, to host its annual OktoberTech event.
OktoberTech is conducted in several cities globally. Infineon uses the event to show off its expansive portfolio of ingredient semiconductor solutions that often appear in automobiles, industrial power control products, power and sensor systems, and secure connected offerings.
Given Levi’s Stadium’s reputation as one of the most energy-efficient and sustainable arenas in the National Football League, Infineon specifically chose the venue to host OktoberTech to promote its decarbonization and digitalization themes that permeate its product offerings.
Infineon is not a lightweight in the technology space. As of September 2021, the company employed more than 50,000 employees globally and reported revenues of 11.06 billion euros, or approximately US$10.9 billion.
As articulated by Infineon’s North America President, Bob LeFort, OktoberTech is an appealing vehicle to show off its solutions catalog in a friendly and casual atmosphere and encourage spirited discourse with the event’s attendees and the company’s partners.
The OktoberTech moniker pays homage to the company’s German heritage. Headquartered in Neubiberg, Germany, in 1999, Infineon was spun off from its former parent company, Siemens AG.
Many of the executive presentations delivered at the event highlighted the company’s efforts to fight global warming. Thematically, the 30 product demos showcased tied directly or indirectly to mitigating the impact of carbon emissions and optimizing electrical energy utilization.
Infineon’s mission is bolstered by its legacy of success in several high-profile market categories. The company reports a nearly 20% share in the industrial electronics space, 15% in microcontrollers, 44% in sensor technology, and 25% in security-based products.
Infineon Automotive Solutions
Several of the demos showcased at the OktoberTech event involved automotive capabilities. For example, Infineon’s microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) microphone technology was shown in collaboration with Cerence, a specialist in AI, at the event.
Demos conducted at Infineon’s OktoberTech event at Levi’s Stadium, Oct. 20, 2022
Essentially the same Infineon microphones that automakers currently use for voice recognition, these microphones are ideal for exterior applications, such as detecting dangerous road conditions or siren warnings.
The unique engineering challenge with siren identification is that police and emergency vehicles utilize more than 1,500 different sirens worldwide. However, Cerence’s AI technology can accurately detect a siren, then automatically stop the car, and pull it over to allow emergency vehicles to pass.
Infineon’s MEMS microphone technology is also “hardened” for utilization outside of the car as it is qualified to the AEC-Q103-003 standard, meaning that it can operate in low (-40 degrees F) and high (221 degrees F) temperatures. These microphones also have a form of noise cancellation to capture distortion-free audio, which is needed for loud environments.
It’s hard to digest the extensive library of ingredient capabilities that Infineon markets. Many end-user products that consumers and businesses use every day and take for granted would not be possible without Infineon’s innovation, design-in prowess, and, perhaps most importantly, cost-effectiveness.
From an external marketing standpoint, Infineon’s chief challenge is that most consumers are unfamiliar with the company, as its technology is often not apparent to the end user. Other ingredient companies are also not immune from this problem, but I think Infineon would benefit from heightened awareness work and messaging.
However, the final product itself would not be possible without it. In product categories like automobiles, silicon technology comprising the overall bill of materials is growing at a blistering rate as cars become more digital, EV-oriented, and technology-based.
Even in today’s non-EV vehicles, estimates are that around 1,000 chips are embedded, and that number grows to 2,000 in EVs, underscoring Infineon’s strategic business opportunity.
Undoubtedly, there are several market tailwinds at Infineon’s back. With automobiles rapidly becoming a “computer on wheels” — a phrase used in multiple interviews with Infineon executives during the OktoberTech event — Infineon’s know-how in this space is a tremendous asset for continued growth.
But the move to support decarbonization and more aggressively embrace digitalization at the macro-market level could fuel the company’s growth over the next several years.
One other point needs to be made: more progress must occur to dramatically reduce bureaucracy in the local permitting and regulatory areas concerning EV chargers. As I chronicled a few weeks ago, the capabilities that companies like Infineon enable in the EV charger space quickly lose their appeal with consumers and businesses if it takes multiple weeks to satisfy local permitting rules.
Infineon’s position in IoT solutions, always one of its specialties, should remain solid, with the consumer market expected to grow at a hyper-level, with the Matter inoperability initiative finally poised to show up in tangible products in early 2023.
Finally, Infineon’s 2016 acquisition of Cypress Semiconductor has the potential to differentiate the company from its competitors. The addition of Cypress allows Infineon to solidify further the company’s focus on fundamental growth and a more comprehensive range of applications.
In extended interviews with Infineon’s senior executive team, it appears that its leadership grasps its business opportunity and corporate responsibility to maximize decarbonization with its solutions.
Interviews with Infineon’s leadership at OktoberTech event at Levi’s Stadium, Oct. 20, 2022
Bob LeFort quoted from the movie “Spider-Man” by saying that Infineon recognizes that “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Not many profit-driven companies would invoke that adage during a significant corporate event, and it’s refreshing to see that type of candor and genuineness uttered by a senior executive in the technology space.