Redmere eyes Las Vegas deals

4th January 2008

Semiconductor company RedMere Technology will be the sole Irish representative exhibiting at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week.

CES is the world’s largest trade show for consumer technology, with almost 3,000 exhibiting companies attracting more than 25,000 international visitors from 140 countries.

In its second year as an exhibitor, RedMere will showcase its MagnifEye embedded cable product, which is designed to connect high definition devices such as televisions, game consoles and video cameras using cheaper, thinner cabling. By embedding its chip in the cable, RedMere turns what is essentially a “passive piece of copper” into something that can enhance the digital signal, according to RedMere chief executive Peter Smyth.

“Instead of just passing the digital signal on, or even possibly degrading the signal, our cable cleans it up on the way which means the television has to do less work,” explains Smyth.

Consumers will benefit from being able to connect their devices using thinner and lighter cables rather than the chunky Scart leads currently used for the task. Electronics manufacturers are interested because with copper prices rising, any technology that can reduce the cost of cables is appealing.

The challenge that RedMere faced in designing MagnifEye is that there is no power in the cable to run the chip. It has developed patents around the area of power harvesting which enables the processor to “steal” power from the video signal itself.

The chip also requires 80 per cent less power than equivalent products

“We can do that because we are actually improving the quality of the signal,” says Smyth. The chip also requires 80 per cent less power than equivalent products.

With a fully fledged product – and deals already struck with connector manufacturer Molex and Fairchild Semiconductor – RedMere will have a much larger presence at CES this year.

With a team of six to man the company’s booth and attend pre-arranged meetings with some of the world’s leading electronics companies, Smyth will have time to attend some of the many CES events, including the annual keynote speech delivered by Bill Gates.

“That’s the second reason we attend CES – to use it for market intelligence,” says Smyth. “It’s the ideal place to keep an eye on what’s going on in consumer technology.”

Since being founded in 2004 by Smyth and other former executives of chip-design company Ceva, RedMere has grown to 37 staff.

Headquartered in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, it sub-contracts manufacturing to Taiwan.

Smyth said the company would seek a further round of venture capital funding this year to support international expansion.

4th January 2008 – The Irish Times