Nordic Semiconductor Acquires Imagination Technologies’ Wi-Fi Development Team & Assets

In a bid to strengthen its Wi-Fi portfolio, Nordic Semiconductor, has announced the acquisition of the entire Imagination Technologies Ensigma Wi-Fi development team and associated Ensigma Wi-Fi IP tech assets from world-leading graphics, vision, and AI processing company, Imagination Technologies. The acquisition includes a sizeable number of Imagination Technologies employees located in the U.K, Sweden, India, and Taiwan. Of these, around 15 percent are Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) specialists who will now further strengthen Nordic’s existing Bluetooth LE teams as well.

“This is a dream come true for Nordic Semiconductor and its customers, particularly in the smart home market,” comments Nordic CTO, Svein-Egil Nielsen. “As the global leader in short range Bluetooth wireless technology and the emerging leader in long-range cellular wireless IoT, there has long been a gap in between which our customers have been asking us to fill. And although it won’t happen overnight as this is an IP acquisition rather than one that comes with Wi-Fi devices ready to sell, we will now be able to add Wi-Fi functionality to future generations of Nordic products.

“We at Nordic feel extremely fortunate and excited to have found the perfect Wi-Fi team with decades of state-of-the-art Wi-Fi design experience and expertise from whom we can learn all there is to know about Wi-Fi wireless technology. We believe in owning every link in our product chain, and with the Imagination Wi-Fi team on-board we will now be able to add Wi-Fi hardware and software developed by Nordic from the ground up, as we do with all our other wireless product ranges.”

Nordic is already a global leader in low-power solutions for Bluetooth and an emerging leader in cellular IoT. With the addition of Imagination’s Wi-Fi development team and IP assets the company intends to develop new low-power Wi-Fi solutions and bring to market disruptive new products that combine Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy and/or cellular IoT.  

Adding Wi-Fi functionality to future generations of Nordic products will expand Nordic’s addressable market significantly. The new Wi-Fi 6 standard allows for faster data throughput, higher capacity in dense networks, increased security, and lower power usage, which will enable many new application areas and battery-powered IoT devices. Nordic’s focus will be on leveraging synergies to create high customer value from a platform that unifies all major wireless technologies. As part of this, the company will become an active member of the Wi-Fi Alliance and work with the community to maximize the application potential of low power Wi-Fi.

The acquisition increases Nordic’s R&D staff by approximately 80 people across several locations in the UK, Sweden, India and Taiwan. The team also includes Bluetooth low energy specialists who will further strengthen Nordic’s existing R&D team in this area.  As a result of the acquisition, Nordic expects annual R&D spend to increase by USD 10-12 million, leading to a meaningful revenue contribution from Wi-Fi products within three years.

Although Wi-Fi was born in the consumer sector, it is now rapidly gaining traction within the industrial IoT space,” states Imagination Technologies CEO, Simon Beresford-Wylie. “With Imagination’s strong focus on graphics, vision, and AI processing, we feel our Wi-Fi IP division will thrive much better long-term within a company that has wireless connectivity at its center and where it will become a major focus of strategic, technological, and commercial innovation and growth. We are extremely happy to have found such a good home for the technology and the team at Nordic Semiconductor: It’s a perfect match.”

Nordic Semiconductor has been a pioneer in ultra-low power wireless solutions, from proprietary technologies for PC accessories to today’s Bluetooth low energy and multiprotocol products and long-range cellular IoT solutions. The company is the clear market leader in the ultra-low power wireless segment, serving a growing market in consumer electronics, wearables, building and retail, healthcare and an increasing number of other verticals and applications. Click here to see Nordic Semiconductor Wireless Chipsets listed on everything RF.