Gabrielle Saucier, president of IP information and catalog site Design and Reuse, interviewed CAST's chairman Hal Barbour at the IP-SoC event in Grenoble (December 2016). The video and a transcript of Hal's observations follows.
Gabrielle: Hello from IP SoC 2016 in Grenoble. I do not need to introduce my partner today, Chairman of CAST, Inc. Hal Barbour, a long time leader in the IP community. What is more interesting is that he is not going to sell CAST products or services but he will share with us a vision of how he sees the future, which I am very happy about.
Hal: Thanks Gabrielle, it’s really great to be here in Grenoble again. I look forward every year to coming over. And, I I learned that this is your 20th anniversary, which is fantastic; congratulations. I guess we’re the elder statesmen of the IP world.
CAST was formed in 1993, so we’re now 23 years old and you are 20 so that is very good and I always look forward to coming to Grenoble. One of the great things about this time is bright sunshine. We usually have snow or some weather to contend with but not this year. In any event, let’s talk business.
CAST is doing very well this year right now; it was a good year for us. The areas that remain strong for us are automotive and our CAN and CAN-FD products. I believe we are the world leader in that and those are doing exceptionally well. Another area that is doing well is Compression. We’ve been in compression for 15 years or so. Originally with image compression which then led to video compression, and recently we are doing a very strong business in data compression, particularly, in the areas of IoT and big data.
In IoT, very often people want to minimize power and to maximize the speed of transfer from nonvolatile memory into processors. So if you compress that data rather than just use the data itself, you can very often have half as much memory requirements—requiring less power—and more speed in start up and boot up because you are dealing with a smaller amount of data to transfer. Also, that same technology of data compression is used by big data, to optimize the resources that are used for storing data. Compressing the data that is going into the servers and coming out of the servers is becoming very popular. It’s a very good business for us right now.
Then of course the area we continue to do well in is processors. As you know we are the world leader in 8051s, and guess what? The 8051s are still going on and on and on, which is really great. But in addition to that we have a marvelous family of processors in the 32-bit area, our BA series. For those customers who find they need more than an 8051, the BA series has marvelous performance and code density characteristics, particularly for deeply embedded applications. We are finding a great deal of activity in that business as well.
In general, in the past year—especially the past six months—business has been very, very strong.
We just came back from a conference in [Silicon] Valley last week where we found a number of people that were actually in start-ups, funded by venture capitalists. Now that’s pretty unusual. As most people know, in the past few years VC money had totally dried up and that hampered that industry. Now we are starting to see some examples of people investing again, and I think that is going to help the IP industry as well.
G: Well it looks like we are young and full of ideas and have a great future. The veterans of IP are still confident in a bright future; that is the conclusion.