LONDON Motorola Inc. will locate a $30 million technology center focused on embedded software development at the Alba campus in Livingston, Scotland, a two-year-old initiative of government and industry to support system-on-a-chip (SoC) design and development. Motorola expects to create up to 550 jobs at the campus by 2005.
The group will work on SoC projects for telecommunications and automotive applications, and will serve as Motorola's global "center of excellence" for embedded software for intelligent manufacturing lines, the company said. Motorola has received financial incentives from the Scottish government to locate the group in Livingston. Details of those arrangements were not disclosed.
The Alba initiative was announced in 1998 by Scottish Enterprise, a government development agency, with support of Cadence Design Systems Inc. (San Jose, Calif.), which located a design services engineer ing team on a campus constructed specifically to work on SoC designs. That design group is now part of Tality Inc., a design services spin-off of Cadence.
Under the same Alba initiative, the academic Institute for System Level Integration (ISLI) and the Virtual Component Exchange (VCX) were started as part of efforts to foster SoC competence and investment in the region.
Motorola is Scotland's largest private sector employer, with a total workforce of 6,500 at two fabrication facilities in East Kilbride and South Queensferry and a mobile phone handset manufacturing plant at Easter Inch.
The Motorola Technology Center (MTC) in Livingston will be part of the Motorola Global Software Group, which has centers in 12 other locations around the world under the direction of Michael Kay, a veteran of Motorola's Semiconductor Product Sector, who has been appointed director of the MTC.
"One of the main reasons we have chosen Scotland is the way the academic environmen t will be able to support us with properly trained graduates in the future," Kay said. "We have already been working with the ISLI and local universities."
Kay said that the MTC would start with about 50 employees within the next 12 months, starting mainly with experienced programmers, and will rise to about 150 employees within two years.
Kay said that the MTC would develop embedded software for use in communications and automotive applications. In addition, it will develop software to support automated production lines, particularly lines that produce SoC devices used in mobile phones, such as Motorola's nearby plant in Easter Inch.
"The center will be Motorola's global center of excellence for smart production lines for Motorola factories," said Kay. The technology can improve reliability and reduce costs, he said. "We've already entered into negotiations with other manufacturers about this technology," Kay said.
Asked to comment on Tality's presence on the Alba campus as a factor in Mot orola's decision to locate there, Kay said, "We do work with Cadence and we could work with Tality in the future, but it's not part of this announcement."
Kay declined to discuss details of the financial incentives offered to Motorola. "There were various financial packages available," he said. "Regional selective assistance and other items were available. But the primary reason was the supply of skilled people. Scotland has a credible program to deliver excellent graduates."
David Brown, chairman of Motorola Ltd., said: "The jobs created by this exciting project will be very highly skilled. Indeed, most of them will be filled by graduates and we look forward to developing particularly close relationships with Scotland's universities. We look forward to building a close relationship with the Alba center too."
Donald Dewar, First Minister of Scotland, called the investment "a milestone in the development of the industry in Scotland." Motorola's decision " will send out a signal to the microelect ronics industry that Scotland is the place to be in this technology, a technology which is at the cutting edge of almost every form of leading IT," he said.