Shaping a bold new world: Mobica Ltd
The Silicon Review
“What makes us unique is that we’re geared towards cascading the value chain throughout vertical markets, with silicon taking a central role.” — Robert McKenzie
Mobica Ltd is a leading talent-as-a-service (TaaS) provider. From smartphones to computers, social media to search engines, in-car infotainment systems to hair care products, and vacuum cleaners, Mobica’s solutions are all around you.
We sat down with Sam Kingston, CEO of Mobica Ltd, and Robert McKenzie, Semiconductor Sector Director at Mobica Ltd, to discuss Mobica’s plans for today, tomorrow, and the future, and how the organisation can support your needs, from chip to cloud.
Mobica’s mission is to help organisations develop the extraordinary digital experiences of tomorrow. With the tech industry growing at an incredible pace, for almost two decades, Mobica has helped businesses keep pace with this growth, empowering and supporting them in creating the technologies that are shaping our world today.
Whether it’s working with world-renowned brands, such as BMW, Meta, Google, Imagination Technology, Samsung, ABB, and technology leaders like ARM, or an extensive range of sector-specific companies, Mobica’s goal remains the same: to make a positive difference to the way we live our lives.
“Mobica was initially established as a mobile software development company,” explains CEO Sam Kingston, “working for OEMs and mobile network operators back in the peak of the Nokia, Symbian, J2ME, and intensive mobile evolution era. It’s no surprise that this inspired our brand name! We were at the forefront of new mobile technology, developing not only user-facing applications, but also low-level firmware, such as GSM modem stack, or contributing to emerging operating systems and devices, like the first commercial Android phone, the Google G1.”
“We started diversifying our interests and specialising in other sectors — automotive, maritime, and fintech, to name just a few — but silicon was the next most profound and distinct focus area for us, specifically CPU and GPU technologies. Due to our mobile heritage, we began with software for ARM-based hardware, before embracing others.”
“From chip to cloud, Mobica’s technology expertise covers everything from classic C++ programming to innovative AI and machine learning applications. Mobica is focussed on delivering the outcomes that our customers are looking to achieve. It’s this focus and attention that has driven our success over the years, and will continue to do so in the years to come.”
“What makes us unique is that we’re geared towards cascading the value chain throughout vertical markets, with silicon taking a central role,” says Robert McKenzie. “For instance, Mobica’s competence and expertise as a firmware and software provider for chips and platforms vendors means we can accelerate the ‘speed to value’ of semiconductor and silicon products to automotive and connected (IoT, edge and networks) markets. These two sectors benefit from our work in the silicon domain, using board support packages, drivers, libraries, or APIs, created by us -- sometimes directly and sometimes with suppliers. We pride ourselves on our ‘chip to cloud’ offering, which helps us to stand out in a very competitive market.”
“To enable the next wave of growth, technology companies need to redouble their efforts on enhancing agility, collaboration, sustainability, transparency, and digital innovation,” says Sam. “Only then will they maintain a competitive edge. Our success is inextricably linked to helping organisations secure this competitive advantage.”
Enrich, scale, delegate
Mobica offers a three-level structure to help businesses grow: enrich, scale and delegate.
Enrich allows companies to extend the capabilities of their existing team, by topping up with Mobica’s tech talent. Decision-makers simply identify what tech expertise they need, when and where they need them — and Mobica will do the rest. This leaves you in complete control of your project and deliverables, boosted by the company’s software specialists to help achieve your objectives.
Next is scale. Designed to integrate seamlessly with your operations, by opting for this you can leverage the skills and capabilities of Mobica’s teams, so you have the right tools and resources to test and scale your ideas.
Finally, there’s the option to delegate. To free themselves up to focus on other critical business goals, Mobica works with many organisations that choose to delegate projects entirely to their teams. Once the project specifications and vision has been defined, Mobica takes full responsibility for either a specific feature or work package, or implementing a project completely.
“Our people are our value,” says Sam. “Through hard work, world-class engineering skills, and a commitment to always going the extra mile, I truly believe we’re unrivalled in the TaaS sphere.”
Indeed, the numbers speak for themselves. In the last 12 months alone, Mobica has added more than 300 Mobicans to its team and over 20 new global enterprise businesses to its books, scaled up to 12 delivery locations around the world, and has achieved an average Net Promoter Score of 63 - with anything above 50 considered excellent, the business is doing something right.
“When you partner with Mobica, your goals become our goals,” says Sam. “This collaborative approach has made sure we’re viewed as a trusted long-term partner for businesses all around the world; from household brand names to the ambitious companies that are shaping tomorrow’s tech landscape. Our teams help our customers stay agile and competitive while playing a crucial role in accelerating their tech ambitions.”
“I am very proud to be a Mobican and you can see this pride in every single one of us. That is unquestionably what sets us apart.”
Mobica services a wide range of industries, including automotive, fintech, consumer electronics, big tech, telecommunications, aerospace, media and entertainment, industrial, marine and maritime, health, wellbeing and sport, and retail. How has it supported clients in recent times?
“Let me give you some specific examples,” says Robert. “On one project for a multinational technology company, the customer needed to provide their product teams with a hardware abstraction layer to make product applications easily portable between hardware configurations, and reusable on different hardware development kits from a number of silicon suppliers. Furthermore, the customer needed to develop custom bootloaders for a number of MCUs. Due to IP sharing limitations on the customer’s side, Mobica had to produce this solution without precise information about the product application functionality.”
“We provided a common reusable abstraction layer for NXP, STM, and Nordic boards between the application software and the hardware device drivers, covering main interfaces such as GPIO, UART, I2C, PWM, SPI, ADC, WDOG, RTC, and TRNG. It abstracts access to various software development kits from MCU producers, enabling the customer to create hardware-agnostic applications. The bootloaders were mainly developed on NXPLPC family boards.”
“The technologies used to develop this solution include low-level and microcontroller programming based on bare-metal and popular RTOS environments, standards like POSIX or MISRA-C, industry-standard bring-up and debugging toolsets, bootloader development, as well as application of some specific Nordic Semiconductor RF radio-related chips. The software design and development is complemented by thorough testing (both automated and manual), all adapted to the continuous integration approach, and efficient use of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).”
“Next, here’s an example of a project with a multinational semiconductor chip manufacturer. Fixed-function accelerators are becoming increasingly common in data centre environments to enhance performance but can overstress general-purpose CPUs. Our client faced the challenge of bringing to market a complex hardware accelerator with many use cases, in which the firmware is written in a customer-specific assembly language. The accelerator also needed to maintain backward compatibility with the hardware’s older generations.”
“Our team developed the firmware for a cryptography and compression accelerator, which efficiently exposes hardware-acceleration blocks by using bespoke assembly language. We developed test cases in C++17, created test frameworks for different versions, and verified implementation correctness using software re-implementations, hardware simulators, FPGAs and silicon.”
“The result? We successfully met code and public releases for the client, on time and to scope. What’s more, because of the tech capabilities of our engineers, we were able to help them achieve their goals in a shorter timeframe than anticipated, enabling them to bring their product to market faster.”
The conversation turns to the endeavours Mobica is currently planning and undertaking.
“It’s our responsibility to think ahead,” says Sam. “By their very nature, our team is constantly asking: What’s next? What is the biggest up-and-coming opportunity that will transform and shape our world? How can we stay ahead of the curve, and help our customers stand out in a competitive market?”
“There are several key sectors we’re currently paying close attention to,” Robert explains. “Automation is increasingly becoming embedded into the very fabric of our day-to-day lives. Wearable devices, where fashion and functionality are merging, continue to be a big focus. In the semiconductor market, three key industries are driving growth: automotive, computation and data storage, and wireless. Advances such as autonomous vehicles, AI and 5G will shape the world we live in.”
“There is currently a lot of work being undertaken by semiconductor designers and manufacturers in supporting hyperscalers and cloud service providers as they invest in their data centre and network infrastructure. If they, either by using their own design or more typically working with IP providers like Arm or Qualcomm, can offload standard protocol processing such as networking, storage and security functions to processors other than the CPU, then that gives them more capacity and computational power to offer to their customers for less expense. The protocols and algorithms implemented by those functions all need to be developed and tested. Mobica has the expertise to develop and verify those implementations.”
“Looking further up the tech stack, you might be a provider of an application or software solutions, such as a hypervisor, content management system or database, which needs to take full advantage of its chosen hardware. In this respect, Mobica can advise on the hardware and develop libraries and tools that optimise application performance.”
“We also work with clients providing embedded solutions for automotive, avionics, maritime, the built environment and home automation. Often these solutions require bare metal programming. As well as providing that insight, we’re able to develop and implement solutions with that level of understanding too.”
Sam continues: “As a member of Khronos - to take just one example of a field in which our expertise shines - we help many manufacturers develop and test their graphics processors and drivers, to both perform and conform to standards. And those drivers are becoming available on more and more devices, no longer only the PC or the mobile phone. Yet we are equally adept at building end-user custom software too.”
“There is one common barrier stopping organisations from delivering on so many opportunities: tech talent. And that’s where we come in. We ensure companies have the right individuals in place at the right time, to scale and secure these vital chances to grow.”
“Ultimately,” Sam concludes, “we want Mobica to be known for providing unrivalled expertise in firmware, software, driver and kernel development, enabling and accelerating the delivery of semiconductor products to market. We thrive on those cutting-edge projects that are bringing about a bold new world.”
Given its position in the market to date and future ambitions, it’s easy to imagine Mobica delivering on these words.
Leadership | Mobica
Sam Kingston, CEO of Mobica: Sam Kingston has held board-level positions for several global IT organisations and is a visiting professor for the MBA at the Metropolitan College of New York. He’s responsible for shaping the direction Mobica will take as it grows and ensuring the organisation can continue to provide expertise across established and emerging technologies. Sam believes in being adventurous, never thinking in straight lines, and the power of politeness and cooperation.
Robert McKenzie, Semiconductor Sector Director at Mobica: Robert McKenzie has primarily spent his career as a consultant and advisor to board-level executives, guiding new product releases and supporting organisations transitioning to new digital landscapes. He won a scholarship to study for a B.Sc. in Information Technology from Texas Instruments, has an MBA from Imperial College, led the implementation of Xerox’s Internet strategy for all markets outside the USA in the 90s, and led the technology division at SAIC (later LEIDOS). He joined Mobica in 2021, and is responsible for delivering solutions and products for silicon and semiconductor customers.
Get in touch with Mobica to learn more: https://mobica.com/contact-us