For more than 25 years, Joe Costello has been paving the way in electronic design automation. Undergraduate studies in mathematics and graduate studies in physics first led Costello to the world of semiconductors. A summer job at National Semiconductor during grad school provided an introduction to Jim Solomon, a pioneer in the semiconductor world. In 1988, Costello joined Solomon’s Cadence Design Systems, which revolutionized the field of chip design. Costello went on to serve as Cadence’s CEO. Now at Enlighted, as its chairman and chief executive officer, Costello is helping to lay the groundwork for the integration of the Internet of Things (IoT).
How do you describe IoT?
It’s the ability to tap into all of this rich information by doing search with various applications, and the power of that information being so freely accessible and exchangeable.
What makes lighting such an attractive partner, or vehicle, for IoT?
I think people are confusing the two, trying to make it seem as if they are the same thing. They are not. There’s a good connection, but they have different DNAs. It’s a partnership, not a marriage.
What’s the starting point for lighting and IoT to find the right connection?
The light fixture is a vehicle for introducing IoT systems into a building. But it troubles me that so many of today’s buildings are not being built or remodeled with anyone thinking about an IoT system. It’s estimated that 140 million LED luminaires will be shipped in North America next year, but not many will be equipped with a sensor of any kind. That’s a tragedy; a generation of buildings will never have the opportunity for “smart” capabilities.
What are some of the criteria you consider important to foster innovation?
You have to give smart people freedom of action to think and one way is to encourage fast failure. In old industries, mistakes are not encouraged. You have to foster experimentation where the known result is going to be failure a significant fraction of the time.
What skills are needed for the digital age?
You need to have a disruptive mindset at multiple levels. •
“Technology is a revolutionary force; it takes what was a dream and makes it a reality over time, almost every time.” -- Joe Costello, chairman and chief executive officer, Enlighted