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sofant.com

Founded Year

2011

Stage

Unattributed - II | Alive

Total Raised

$17.92M

Last Raised

$8.22M | 6 mos ago

About Sofant Technologies

Sofant provides smart antenna technology that reduces the cost of producing and operating wireless network equipment while improving performance.

Sofant Technologies Headquarter Location

Scottish Microelectronics Centre Alexander Crum Brown Road

Edinburgh, Scotland, EH9 3FF,

United Kingdom

+44 131 650 5638

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Sofant Technologies Patents

Sofant Technologies has filed 7 patents.

The 3 most popular patent topics include:

  • Microwave technology
  • Antennas (radio)
  • Radio electronics
patents chart

Application Date

Grant Date

Title

Related Topics

Status

12/21/2017

12/8/2020

Radio frequency antenna types, Antennas (radio), Radio electronics, Microwave technology, Broadcast engineering

Grant

Application Date

12/21/2017

Grant Date

12/8/2020

Title

Related Topics

Radio frequency antenna types, Antennas (radio), Radio electronics, Microwave technology, Broadcast engineering

Status

Grant

Latest Sofant Technologies News

RF MEMS maker Sofant Technologies signs $8.2 million contract with European Space Agency

Nov 25, 2021

RF MEMS maker Sofant Technologies signs $8.2 million contract with European Space Agency RF MEMS maker Sofant Technologies signs $8.2 million contract with European Space Agency Scottish radio technology company, Sofant Technologies, has received significant financial backing ($8.2 million) from the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) to support the commercialization of its low-cost, low-power satellite communications platform. Applying its RF MEMS technology, the company says its platform solves the most pressing power consumption and heat problems faced by the next generation of 5G and satellite communications systems. The funding from the European Space Agency, secured under an Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) contract, will support Sofant Technologies to complete the commercialization of a satellite communication terminal, allowing users to connect to the cloud via a new generation of low-latency, super-fast satellite networks. Eliminating the need for complex and expensive cooling systems, Sofant says its platform will enable satellite communications (SatCom) and 5G wireless networks to operate with 70% less power, a significant step forward as 5G adoption accelerates towards 1 billion users by 2022. By connecting devices wirelessly via a satellite network, Sofant Technologies’ terminal will reduce the needs for terrestrial infrastructure and make it much easier for people in rural and remote locations to get online. With COP26 underway, Sofant’s technology is moving towards further environmental savings, with the potential to be powered by renewable energy. Those relying on solar or wind technology in rural locations will have the ability to connect via their own power sources, further reducing individual carbon footprints in the pursuit of neutral carbon emissions by 2050. “We are honored that the UKSA and the ESA have agreed to support the commercialization of Sofant’s technology. They have a clear understanding of the technical challenges faced by the satellite communications industry as it seeks to exploit the promise of a new generation of satellite networks. They also share our belief that a scalable technology platform which solves power consumption and heat problems in phased array antennas is critical for the future wireless communications. We look forward to working with the team at the ESA throughout this project,” said David Wither, CEO of Sofant Technologies. This announcement comes as Sofant Technologies gears up for its first Series A funding round, to scale its base in Edinburgh and triple its headcount from 16 to 48 over the contract period. This will create numerous highly-skilled jobs within Scotland’s engineering sector, from antenna and product design to component, product and software engineering. Sofant says its ability to use the fabless semiconductor business model and established volume production methods places the company in a unique position to offer its customers game-changing performance with guaranteed scalability and low cost. Sofant aims to revolutionize satellite communications and to make high band 5G a reality. Main applications Sofant’s phased array antenna platform is enabled by its proprietary low-loss RF MEMS and highly-efficient GaN power amplifier technology. These optimized millimeter wave (mmW) technologies are combined to reduce power consumption in phased array antennas by 70% or more when compared to conventional solutions. Reduced power consumption decreases heat and the need for expensive and complex active cooling systems removing the major barrier to the widespread deployment of future wireless communications infrastructure. Sofant plans to enter the Ka band satellite communications (SatCom) ground terminal market and, once the technology platform has been successfully demonstrated, it will begin to market solutions for mmW 5G. Initial 5G targets are expected to be base transceiver station (BTS) and consumer premise equipment (CPE) applications. However, as the market matures, the company expects to develop a series of products which target a range of consumer applications including smartphones, tablets, and autonomous vehicles. Market size Sofant estimates that the combined serviceable market opportunity for mmW 5G and SatCom antenna systems will exceed $6 billion by 2026. In the same timeframe, the serviceable market opportunity for stand-alone RF MEMS applications is projected to be $2.9 billion creating a total market opportunity approaching $9 billion. Competing and alternative approaches Regarding competition, Sofant sees it coming from two main areas. The first is the conventional semiconductor market (primarily RF CMOS). Sofant says these companies will never be able to match its low-power performance which means antennas built using this approach will need complex and expensive cooling systems. The second is “meta materials”, which means liquid crystal (LC) or lens-based antenna solutions. These technologies require very large up-front investments to develop a manufacturing process which has not been proven at scale in parallel with the antenna itself. Sofant has analyzed several of these approaches (detailed below) and feels that it is uniquely positioned to offer “game changing” performance using the proven fabless semiconductor business model. Isotropic Systems is commercializing a microwave refractive beamforming technology. Sofant says it has studied the PhD thesis from the founder, the company’s patent filings, and the technical information which is publicly available. Isotropic is taking a similar “modular” design approach to Sofant and they claim many of the same benefits (i.e. lower power, fewer components, and lower cost). However, the antenna system is mechanically complex and will require a less automated or highly customized assembly process. Additionally, the company is developing new materials which are unproven in volume production. Isotropic is pre-revenue and they claim their first Ka band antennas will be on the market in 2022. Kymeta and Alcan Systems are both developing liquid crystal (LC) based “meta material” antennas. Details about their technical solutions vary and both are in different stages of development. Kymeta seems to be ahead of Alcan, and they are selling Ku band antennas today. Kymeta’s Ka band plans are not clear, but Alcan has publicly stated that they plan to release a Ka band solution and SES has made a strategic investment in the company. Although both companies claim that their LC antenna solutions can be produced using low-cost LCD TV production processes, this has yet to be proven at scale. Their LC materials are unique for each application, so they must have dedicated production capability which requires significant up-front investment. Sofant says that claims of reaching TV-like pricing are dubious at best. Also, there are technical limitations with the LC antennas. The most significant limitations are related to the slow response time, limited temperature range, and the lossy nature of the LC materials in this frequency range. Satixfy has developed a Ka band antenna using a similar approach to the one used for the Ku band. The company has developed a proprietary RF ASIC solution which is integrated into the antenna array. Similar RF ASIC solutions are available from companies like Anokiwave and IDT. Sofant has conducted an extensive analysis of this approach and does not believe that it is possible to reduce the power consumption levels to a point which will enable them to be competitive in the long run for large phased array applications. ***************** This article is a part of MEMS Journal's ongoing market research project in the area of RF MEMS components and solutions. If you would like to receive our comprehensive market research report on this topic, please contact Dr. Mike Pinelis at mike@memsjournal.com for more information about rates and report contents. Copyright 2021 MEMS Journal, Inc. November 25, 2021 at 02:30 PM | Permalink

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