Chip design in the time of Covid-19

(lessons learned for high tech SME's?)


With COVID-19 active in our country for almost half a year now some conclusions can be drawn. At SystematIC, a chip design house in the Netherlands, our engineers were not used to work from home; on government instructions this became default within a week. Early 2020 I could never have imagined that our partners in the US, Europe, China, Japan and Singapore would ALL work from home. And yes, I was sceptical on the productivity of work form home.

I am aware that we are fortunate that our business activities can be done from a home environment, contrary to other businesses that were forced to stop. We were also fortunate that the virus did not affect our colleagues nor their direct family members.

COVID-19 ofcourse changed the human interactions which in my opinion affects the synergetic creativity in our design work that we have in our office. The upside is focus and undisturbed engineering work from home which is important for a successful chip design as well.

This year in COVID-19 mode we successfully designed 6 full custom 180nm optical and magnetic sensor IC's. Soon another 180nm high voltage sensor-actuator chip and an optical chip will be added to this list and there is more to come this year. Development to migrate a design from 180nm to 40nm has recently started and we are excited to explore the analog performance in a 20 times smaller technology node. Great compliments are in place for the colleagues for the way they cope with this new way of working and these results! Many thanks to our partners; we share a vision on integration and they continue their product innovations in these strange and uncertain times.

We all look forward to return to the pre- COVID ways of our human interaction. I hope the COVID -experience resets our way of thinking and actions on the global scale. For SystematIC I am sure in our day-to-day work our team will find a new post- COVID balance in office/home. It will be interesting to see where the "focus at home" and "interaction in the office" leads us. I am quite sure for our team this will further contribute to enjoy their work in our high-tech environment and lead to innovative chips.

Richard Visee,

CEO SystematIC