Test and Measurement: NI acquires data analytics company for $365 million

OptimalPlus focuses on data analytics for semiconductor manufacturing

National Instruments has agreed to buy OptimalPlus, a data analytics company focused on the semiconductor manufacturing space, for $365 million.

The transaction is supposed to expand NI’s enterprise software capabilities, the test company said, “to provide customers with business-critical insights through advanced product analytics across their product development flow and supply chain.”

The two companies have “highly complementary positions in the semiconductor, automotive and electronics industries,” NI said. The test company said that its test systems are used in manufacturing, while OptimalPlus supplies data analytics on that manufacturing, and that NI’s automotive and electronics production test offerings are “complementary to OptimalPlus’ growing automotive and electronics analytics business. ”

“Combining the strength of NI’s software-centric approach with OptimalPlus’ enterprise-level analytics software is expected to dramatically increase the value of test and manufacturing data, enabling product insights that will improve quality, efficiency and time to market for both NI and OptimalPlus customers,” NI said.

“The addition of OptimalPlus’ data analytics capabilities will enable us to accelerate our growth strategy by increasing enterprise-level value for shared customers in the semiconductor and automotive industries,” said Eric Starkloff, NI president and CEO. “During this age of digital transformation, we remain committed to delivering innovative software and systems that leverage a robust data platform to address our customers’ business challenges. I welcome the employees of OptimalPlus and look forward to collectively accelerating our long-term growth ambitions.”

OptimalPlus had 2019 revenue of $51 million and has about 240 employees, NI reported.  The transaction is expected to close early in the third quarter.

In other test news:

Keysight Technologies said that Cetecom will be using Keysight’s 5G emulation offerings for certification testing for 5G New Radio devices. Meanwhile, international test house Sporton will use Keysight’s 5G conformance test toolset for radio frequency and radio resource management (RRM) design verification test (DVT) and conformance testing for 5G NR devices operating in millimeter-wave frequencies.

ECI, which recently merged with Ribbon Communications, successfully participated in a 5G interoperability showcase that was organized by the European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC). This year’s showcase highlighted the ability of transport networks to support 5G and “5G-related hard slicing and timing/synchronization tests,” according to Ribbon.

“As operators look to new 5G revenue streams it is becoming increasingly evident that the networks need more than just a boost in capacity,” said Jimmy Mizrahi, EVP for packet optical product strategy at Ribbon. “Network operators also need a toolkit of network slicing capabilities to support the wide variety of services inherent to 5G, including those with strict service level agreements (SLAs). Moreover, advanced synchronization is required to support massive MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) and location-based applications. This means G.mtn (interfaces for Metro Transport Networks) and class C timing, the high-accuracy clocks used in fronthaul networks, become essential in allowing operators to support these new 5G services and must be proven to be interoperable across vendors and networks.

“5G networks will require an open, fully integrated packet and optical transport network that can be segmented according to the operator’s requirements,” he went on. “Hard slicing and class C synchronization require hardware upgrades that are already implemented in our Neptune packet transport solutions. Our hard slicing and timing capabilities will provide operators with the tools they need to address new markets and new services with their 5G network. Interoperability testing is, of course, a central component of our product development and our successful participation in the EANTC showcase is further evidence of the strength of our approach and solutions.”

Cobham Advanced Electronics Solutions is selling its radiation testing operations in Colorado Springs, Colorado to Radiation Test Solutions, which focuses on semiconductor design, testing and analysis for aerospace and defense uses.

Shawn Black, CEO of Cobham AES, said that the sale “aligns with our strategic intent to focus on our core competencies,” which include design and manufacturing of RF, microwave and mmWave solutions, digital process and power solutions for the aerospace, defense, medical, industrial and security markets.

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