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Sony buys Altair to become a major IoT player

Sony has announced it is buying Altair Semiconductor, an Israeli-based start-up building products based on LTE technology.

The deal is reportedly worth (£148m), and will be completed in February. With this move, Sony will become an important player in the Internet of Things game, as Altair's products were used not only in smartphones, but also in wearables and other connected devices.

As TechCrunch explains, most wearables use either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, as both technologies are high-performing and consume very little energy. However, LTE is emerging as an even better solution, as it allows connecting of multiple devices at once. On top of it all, it can use existing LTE infrastructure, meaning it is also quite cost-effective to deploy.

"Altair develops and sells products focused on LTE technology, and its modem chips stand out for their low power consumption, high performance and competitive cost," Sony said.

"LTE is already widely used in data communication for mobile phones, and is expected to play a pivotal role in the interconnection of the IoT. More and more ‘things' are expected to be equipped with cellular chipsets, realising a connected environment in which ‘things' can reliably and securely access network services that leverage the power of cloud computing."

The battle for the Internet of Things market is heating up, with Sony now becoming a major player in the industry. With this move, it will be able to effectively compete with the likes of Nokia, Intel, Ericsson, Huawei and Vodafone, all developing their own cellular standards for the IoT.