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French Version

Interview with Fidus President Michael Wakim

Yann Rotil: What are the activities of Fidus?
Michael Wakim: Fidus supplies electronic engineering design services to companies that build electronics products. Our customers range from small start-ups, to large, multi-national manufacturers.

They build everything from digital cameras to telephone equipment to trains, aircraft, and industrial control systems – and a whole lot more. We supply expert-level electronic engineering services.Sometimes we focus on one small part of a huge project. At other times we develop a customer’s product from the ground up – designing the system architecture, hardware, software, and board layout, as well as testing the integrity of all the high-speed signals.

We offer engineering expertise in many disciplines, including:
- System Architecture: A general overview of what components the system requires to operate efficiently, and how each part will "talk" to the parts in the circuit
- Hardware Design: The heart of electronic design. The result is a very detailed map of what the physical device will look like and how it will operate. Hardware design can include selecting components, developing detailed schematic drawings, conducting advanced simulations, developing prototypes and conducting laboratory tests, etc.
- Software and Firmware design (The code of instructions that will tell the machinery what to do.)
- FPGA design (Field Programmable Gate Array. This is a micro-processor that is configurable by the user. It is used in many highly-sophisticated and extremely diverse applications.)
- DSP design (Digital Signal Processing: this is the means to process digital signals, for telephone, video, and many other applications.)
- PCB layout (Printed Circuit Board Layout: A Printed Circuit Board is the "brain" of any electronic product. Some boards are tiny (two or three square centimetres) and some are large. Some boards contain more than a dozen layers of copper or fibre-optic wires, connecting many components. As data travels along these routes at high speeds, it must be free of interference from other wires or components on the board. PCB layout is the art of mapping these three-dimensional routes and components.)
- High-speed Signal Integrity and Electro-magnetic Compatibility consulting (The higher the speeds, the more challenging it is to make sure the signal that starts along a route is the same signal received at the other end. Our SI experts are widely known in the industry. They use very sophisticated computer programs to help our customers resolve signal integrity issues in their products.)

Y.R: Who are your major customers? Do you have customers outside Canada? In the Middle East?
Michael Wakim: Our customers range from small start-ups, to large, multi-national manufacturers. They build everything from digital cameras to telephone equipment to trains, aircraft, and industrial control systems – and a whole lot more. During the last four years, Fidus has delivered 355 different product designs to 93 customers. Presently, we are working mainly with customers from Canada and the United States. We anticipate that, with the Lebanon Design Centre, we will be able to attract more customers from Europe and the Middle East.

Y.R: Why do companies choose Fidus to deliver their electronic design services?
Michael Wakim: Fidus customers come to us for three main reasons:
Our designs work. First time.
Whether you require a complete turn-key solution, or targeted assistance on a small design, Fidus dedicates experienced, highly-qualified engineers to your project. Our multiple skill-sets range from PCB layout to hardware design, FPGA design, high-speed signal integrity and RF modelling. Fidus uses proven electronic design methods and a comprehensive suite of advanced development tools to propel your project from concept to product.
We help them set their budget with confidence.
Fidus offers a fixed-price business model. From project plan to implementation, you can count on the bottom-line.
We solve technology-related business problems.

At Fidus you'll find solutions to a host of business issues. Like developing and testing products in new, leading-edge technology. Or augmenting your resources with specific skill sets for just the right time period. Or rolling out a new product, on time and on target. Our electronic design services provide:
- Technological solutions
From processor boards to high-speed backplanes to Windows GUIs, from image-application FPGAs, to RF antennas and DSP designs, Fidus delivers. Our first-time-right designs solve your complex design challenges.
- Staffing solutions
Do you need signal integrity consulting to optimize your designs? Perhaps you have a short term need for more resources. Our designers dedicate years of experience and advanced knowledge to your projects. Use the Fidus expertise to complement your core skills and meet your peak demand.
- Time-to-market solutions
When it's time to take your product to market, you can't wait for multiple revs. You need a tested design, ready for manufacturing. Fidus proven abilities, electronic design methods, and state-of-the-art tools shorten your development cycle.

Y.R: What are your mid and long-term objectives?
Michael Wakim: In the mid term, we intend to build an electronic design group in Lebanon that is consistently profitable. Over the long term, we would like to see Fidus Lebanon SAL grow into the largest electronic design centre in the Middle East.

Y.R: You operate in Canada and have established a branch in Lebanon. What role will the Lebanese branch play in the development of Fidus?
Michael Wakim: Our Lebanon Design Centre plays a key role in the growth of Fidus Systems Inc. in two ways:
- First, it helps us win business with those many technology leaders around the world who are of Lebanese origin – as I am – and who are interested in tapping into the wealth of engineering talent that Fidus Lebanon offers.
- Second, it helps us attract clients who are very price sensitive, thus allowing us to compete effectively against our competitors in other countries such as India and China.

Y.R: Why did you choose Berytech to host your branch in Lebanon?
Michael Wakim: Berytech provided the facilities and infrastructure to begin operations effortlessly in Lebanon. Also, the Berytech organization is run with the same high-calibre of professionalism that Fidus seeks in Canada.

Beirut 04-01-2006
Yann Rotil

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