Christian Koehler
Christian Koehler
Focus on developing technology that adds value, that inspires people and provides them with an efficient solution for improving the technology shaping their lives.

Keeping clear on what matters – to customers and colleagues, and friends and family. Since joining the TE Connectivity family of companies in 1991, Christian has worked in sales with our large automotive OEMs across Europe and in product management, a discipline he helped establish and develop at TE. As a product manager, he previously oversaw our high-speed interconnects portfolio; today, he specializes in antennas for our global markets. With his technical background, which includes a Master’s Degree in microelectronics, Christian works closely with TE’s tech startup customers, partnering with them to design and develop custom antennas that make complex technological architectures more efficient and integrated – in vehicles, smart devices, and innovative logistics systems. Presently, he is working on 5G solutions for IoT-enabled technology. His approach is clear: “Focus on developing technology that adds value, that inspires people and provides them with an efficient solution for improving the technology shaping their lives.” The recipient of an Excellence award from “Electronique” and the author of a number of technical articles published in industry magazines, Christian is helping expand TE’s antenna portfolio with solutions for the connected car and connected home and the smart factory and smart city. Licensed as a pilot for both gas balloons and hot-air balloons, Christian enjoys the challenges of building new technology and companionship of his wife of 40 years and their children and grandchildren. For his family and friends, he thrives in challenging them to always stay curious, always keep investigating, and always stay true to the passions they pursue.

  1. From Avnet: TE Partnership with IoT Innovator Hanhaa

Learn how custom-designed TE antennas for 5G connectivity enabled IoT-startup Hanhaa to build ParceLive, a reusable, smart system for real-time parcel tracking – from factory to frontdoor. By partnering with TE, and in collaboration with Avent, Hanhaa went from brilliant idea to working prototype to industrialized product. The result is a dynamic system that can monitor the location, condition, and security of parcels shipped worldwide.

Video courtesy of Avnet.

1

Why does technology matter to you?

The electronics market is very dynamic, offering new opportunities and amazing challenges to reconsider what is possible. The rollout of 5G is a great example. It will enable new technologies — artificial intelligence, autonomous processes, tracking of everything everywhere — to change how we interact with the world.

During last few years, engineers have many attempts to disrupt markets, with technological advancements— from well-known and large companies — that were expected to transform how we use and think about technology. Many of these projects turned out to have bumps in the road, turning heroes into the forgotten, often very quickly. This has happened also to young entrepreneurs who had been very successful, with new ideas and concepts.

What we are seeing is that the size of a company no longer indicates strength as it once did. Now, what's important is flexibility, creativity, and speed, the ability to move at the customer's pace.

For me, a business case makes sense when a startup company is trying to challenge what is possible to accomplish with technology.I enjoy working with these teams to help them turn a concept into an actual product. There is a great feeling of success in making this happen, also trying to achieve a good consensus of sustainability = economy x ecology x esthetics.

2

How are you helping startups overcome critical engineering challenges?

One of the biggest challenges I see is a gap in experience, around the development of embedded antennas. Embedded antennas are usually mistaken as passive components, like resistors or capacitors. What teams quickly learn is how crucial embedded antennas are to getting the level of integration they are looking to achieve.

Data sheets look nice; published performance values are great. But when working on an actual, tangible product, there are no guides for the definite solutions of what will work in specific situations. Boards come in many shapes and sizes, and space is crowdedspace is crowded. Miniaturization is crucial for getting more functions integrated in small form factor devices.

To get this right, often the entire device must act as an antenna, and this means developing an antenna element that is more just a stimulator for the required frequencies. This means that the engineers must think about the antenna from the beginning and they must partner with experts who have successfully developed embedded antennas. They are often surprised to learn that lots of design changes happen early in development, to accommodate other changes made to the end product.

During development, we will move components and modules around, batteries and displays get bigger or smaller. It's at this stage that many startups will realize that additional antennas are needed, and as a result, they will need to change material, often when moving from prototype to production, which can compromise the entire design and cause severe impacts both to the product and antenna performance. Involving experts upfront can eliminate these issues and prevent additional iterations and compromises to fix issues resulting from unexpected changes.

3

How are antenna solutions shaping the evolution of the tech industry?

Looking ahead, technology will be shaped by next-generation mobile networks, 5G and beyond. We will see five trends:

  1. Network subscribers will increase sharply and exponentially
  2. Latency time for some real-time wireless services will drop, from about 50-10ms to about 1ms
  3. Throughput requirements will greatly increase to few GBit/second
  4. Billions of IoT devices will connect wirelessly
  5. Security and availability will play a critical role in gauging key performance indicators for next-gen wireless technology

 

These trends will increase wireless traffic within a limited spectrum of available frequencies. As a result, spectral efficiency will become a critical concern in antenna design, creating opportunities for making the transmission path more sufficient and repeatable.

 

The increase in wireless traffic will also increase noise and interference. To solve this, traffic will need to become more efficient. Meaning, devices will use multiple antennas simultaneously. Smart phones can have 6-8 antennas, tracking devices can have 3-5, like BlueTooth, WLAN, LTE main and AUX, GNSS, DSRC, and NFC.

 

The antenna designer's job is to minimize interference — while maximizing efficiency and bandwidth — between multiple antennas, all at very small form factor. It's important to keep in mind that these are often opposing requirements; to get a workable solution, a compromise is often needed. TE owns patented antenna technologies which help to make this happen. These include MetaSpan, 3D-manufacturing techniques like MID/ LDS, and puck antenna designs for spherical omnidirectional coverage. This is why working with experts who understand these techniques is crucial for properly designing and developing antennas that will effectively operate wireless devices, with OTA (over the air) analysis and optimization.

4

What's the value in partnering with TE?

Let’s take the partnership with startup and IoT-innovator Hanhaa and u-blox, a well established vendor of wireless modules. We helped them understand that highly efficient antennas are crucial for reducing battery consumption and getting the kind of technological integration their products need.

For Hanhaa, we provided help to, in the words of their CEO Azhar Hussain, "climb a wall before we even realized it was a wall." Meaning, we identified and solved connectivity issues where there was no awareness of a potential issue.

Because of our deep experience in mobile antenna development, our engineers were able to quickly understand how to squeeze multiple antennas into a very small formfactor smart phone — then to help them get through certification. We analyzed the project at a very late stage, but with enough time to adjust the entire ParceLive device, and equip it with the proper antenna functionality to solve the problem they were looking to address. With our guidance, they were able to prevent an issue before it was too late. Today, the ParceLive system is effectively tracking parcels shipped worldwide, delivering real-time insights on environmental and mechanical conditions and reporting on parcel location.

5

How do these engineering partnerships work?

We expect to provide a lot of added value and momentum to our partnerships. With u-blox, an innovator of wireless modules, we helped them get their solution up and running quickly and with the reliability that their end customers desires. The challenge is that all u-blox RF modules require antennas, and very often embedded antennas. To effectively integrate an antenna into a wireless device, the designer needs to understand that the entire device is part of the antenna. U-blox has deep competence in active antenna modules; when combined with TE antenna technology and design experience, this enabled us to create a win-win situation.

6

What are some differences in how startups approach innovation?

Hanhaa started up with a clear vision, to resolve a critical business problem that impacts the transportation of goods. By defining the problem to solve, they were able to develop a business plan and strategy. The solution they set their sights on was much more complex and sophisticated than it looked.

 

Part of making their solution real was understanding that antennas are not just components, but rather part of the entire device. This was not initially clear, and neither was the fact that any change to the PCB layout, including component placement and enclosure materials, can impact RF performance.

 

The challenge was that their vendors for RF modules left them alone and did not provide useful suggestions about making the antennas/RF module work, within the context of their application. Each vendor focused on their parts without looking at how these worked with the other components on the board.

 

This nearly caused a critical situation, which was revealed when they learned that the antennas were not working as specified in data sheets. What they learned was to bring in experts early and to rely on them for their ability to understand the nature and specifics of antennas, not just what is shown on data sheets.

 

From these partnerships, my team developed two new antenna solutions. These innovations were crucial for helping our partners develop a product that exceeds expectation and meets the requirements for RF performance, cost, and ease of use.

Christian Koehler
Christian Koehler
Focus on developing technology that adds value, that inspires people and provides them with an efficient solution for improving the technology shaping their lives.

Keeping clear on what matters – to customers and colleagues, and friends and family. Since joining the TE Connectivity family of companies in 1991, Christian has worked in sales with our large automotive OEMs across Europe and in product management, a discipline he helped establish and develop at TE. As a product manager, he previously oversaw our high-speed interconnects portfolio; today, he specializes in antennas for our global markets. With his technical background, which includes a Master’s Degree in microelectronics, Christian works closely with TE’s tech startup customers, partnering with them to design and develop custom antennas that make complex technological architectures more efficient and integrated – in vehicles, smart devices, and innovative logistics systems. Presently, he is working on 5G solutions for IoT-enabled technology. His approach is clear: “Focus on developing technology that adds value, that inspires people and provides them with an efficient solution for improving the technology shaping their lives.” The recipient of an Excellence award from “Electronique” and the author of a number of technical articles published in industry magazines, Christian is helping expand TE’s antenna portfolio with solutions for the connected car and connected home and the smart factory and smart city. Licensed as a pilot for both gas balloons and hot-air balloons, Christian enjoys the challenges of building new technology and companionship of his wife of 40 years and their children and grandchildren. For his family and friends, he thrives in challenging them to always stay curious, always keep investigating, and always stay true to the passions they pursue.

  1. From Avnet: TE Partnership with IoT Innovator Hanhaa

Learn how custom-designed TE antennas for 5G connectivity enabled IoT-startup Hanhaa to build ParceLive, a reusable, smart system for real-time parcel tracking – from factory to frontdoor. By partnering with TE, and in collaboration with Avent, Hanhaa went from brilliant idea to working prototype to industrialized product. The result is a dynamic system that can monitor the location, condition, and security of parcels shipped worldwide.

Video courtesy of Avnet.

1

Why does technology matter to you?

The electronics market is very dynamic, offering new opportunities and amazing challenges to reconsider what is possible. The rollout of 5G is a great example. It will enable new technologies — artificial intelligence, autonomous processes, tracking of everything everywhere — to change how we interact with the world.

During last few years, engineers have many attempts to disrupt markets, with technological advancements— from well-known and large companies — that were expected to transform how we use and think about technology. Many of these projects turned out to have bumps in the road, turning heroes into the forgotten, often very quickly. This has happened also to young entrepreneurs who had been very successful, with new ideas and concepts.

What we are seeing is that the size of a company no longer indicates strength as it once did. Now, what's important is flexibility, creativity, and speed, the ability to move at the customer's pace.

For me, a business case makes sense when a startup company is trying to challenge what is possible to accomplish with technology.I enjoy working with these teams to help them turn a concept into an actual product. There is a great feeling of success in making this happen, also trying to achieve a good consensus of sustainability = economy x ecology x esthetics.

2

How are you helping startups overcome critical engineering challenges?

One of the biggest challenges I see is a gap in experience, around the development of embedded antennas. Embedded antennas are usually mistaken as passive components, like resistors or capacitors. What teams quickly learn is how crucial embedded antennas are to getting the level of integration they are looking to achieve.

Data sheets look nice; published performance values are great. But when working on an actual, tangible product, there are no guides for the definite solutions of what will work in specific situations. Boards come in many shapes and sizes, and space is crowdedspace is crowded. Miniaturization is crucial for getting more functions integrated in small form factor devices.

To get this right, often the entire device must act as an antenna, and this means developing an antenna element that is more just a stimulator for the required frequencies. This means that the engineers must think about the antenna from the beginning and they must partner with experts who have successfully developed embedded antennas. They are often surprised to learn that lots of design changes happen early in development, to accommodate other changes made to the end product.

During development, we will move components and modules around, batteries and displays get bigger or smaller. It's at this stage that many startups will realize that additional antennas are needed, and as a result, they will need to change material, often when moving from prototype to production, which can compromise the entire design and cause severe impacts both to the product and antenna performance. Involving experts upfront can eliminate these issues and prevent additional iterations and compromises to fix issues resulting from unexpected changes.

3

How are antenna solutions shaping the evolution of the tech industry?

Looking ahead, technology will be shaped by next-generation mobile networks, 5G and beyond. We will see five trends:

  1. Network subscribers will increase sharply and exponentially
  2. Latency time for some real-time wireless services will drop, from about 50-10ms to about 1ms
  3. Throughput requirements will greatly increase to few GBit/second
  4. Billions of IoT devices will connect wirelessly
  5. Security and availability will play a critical role in gauging key performance indicators for next-gen wireless technology

 

These trends will increase wireless traffic within a limited spectrum of available frequencies. As a result, spectral efficiency will become a critical concern in antenna design, creating opportunities for making the transmission path more sufficient and repeatable.

 

The increase in wireless traffic will also increase noise and interference. To solve this, traffic will need to become more efficient. Meaning, devices will use multiple antennas simultaneously. Smart phones can have 6-8 antennas, tracking devices can have 3-5, like BlueTooth, WLAN, LTE main and AUX, GNSS, DSRC, and NFC.

 

The antenna designer's job is to minimize interference — while maximizing efficiency and bandwidth — between multiple antennas, all at very small form factor. It's important to keep in mind that these are often opposing requirements; to get a workable solution, a compromise is often needed. TE owns patented antenna technologies which help to make this happen. These include MetaSpan, 3D-manufacturing techniques like MID/ LDS, and puck antenna designs for spherical omnidirectional coverage. This is why working with experts who understand these techniques is crucial for properly designing and developing antennas that will effectively operate wireless devices, with OTA (over the air) analysis and optimization.

4

What's the value in partnering with TE?

Let’s take the partnership with startup and IoT-innovator Hanhaa and u-blox, a well established vendor of wireless modules. We helped them understand that highly efficient antennas are crucial for reducing battery consumption and getting the kind of technological integration their products need.

For Hanhaa, we provided help to, in the words of their CEO Azhar Hussain, "climb a wall before we even realized it was a wall." Meaning, we identified and solved connectivity issues where there was no awareness of a potential issue.

Because of our deep experience in mobile antenna development, our engineers were able to quickly understand how to squeeze multiple antennas into a very small formfactor smart phone — then to help them get through certification. We analyzed the project at a very late stage, but with enough time to adjust the entire ParceLive device, and equip it with the proper antenna functionality to solve the problem they were looking to address. With our guidance, they were able to prevent an issue before it was too late. Today, the ParceLive system is effectively tracking parcels shipped worldwide, delivering real-time insights on environmental and mechanical conditions and reporting on parcel location.

5

How do these engineering partnerships work?

We expect to provide a lot of added value and momentum to our partnerships. With u-blox, an innovator of wireless modules, we helped them get their solution up and running quickly and with the reliability that their end customers desires. The challenge is that all u-blox RF modules require antennas, and very often embedded antennas. To effectively integrate an antenna into a wireless device, the designer needs to understand that the entire device is part of the antenna. U-blox has deep competence in active antenna modules; when combined with TE antenna technology and design experience, this enabled us to create a win-win situation.

6

What are some differences in how startups approach innovation?

Hanhaa started up with a clear vision, to resolve a critical business problem that impacts the transportation of goods. By defining the problem to solve, they were able to develop a business plan and strategy. The solution they set their sights on was much more complex and sophisticated than it looked.

 

Part of making their solution real was understanding that antennas are not just components, but rather part of the entire device. This was not initially clear, and neither was the fact that any change to the PCB layout, including component placement and enclosure materials, can impact RF performance.

 

The challenge was that their vendors for RF modules left them alone and did not provide useful suggestions about making the antennas/RF module work, within the context of their application. Each vendor focused on their parts without looking at how these worked with the other components on the board.

 

This nearly caused a critical situation, which was revealed when they learned that the antennas were not working as specified in data sheets. What they learned was to bring in experts early and to rely on them for their ability to understand the nature and specifics of antennas, not just what is shown on data sheets.

 

From these partnerships, my team developed two new antenna solutions. These innovations were crucial for helping our partners develop a product that exceeds expectation and meets the requirements for RF performance, cost, and ease of use.