When he created National Instruments in 1976, James Truchard sensed the bright future promised to the concept of virtual instrumentation ("The Software is the instrument"), commonly referred to at the time as "PC instrumentation". Ten years later, the release of the LabVIEW graphic programming software workshop, thanks to its ease of use, would gradually allow the concept to reach as many people as possible.
However, it is likely that James Truchard did not think that virtual instrumentation could affect high-end instrumentation. At the time, PC instrumentation was constrained by PC basket-bottom buses and claimed to meet only relatively slow data acquisition needs. Gradually, it made its way, thanks in particular to the release of standards of cards adapted to instrumentation, such as the PXI. National Instruments, which is at the origin of this standard, has thus become today an important player in RF instrumentation (radio-frequency). It intends to continue in this direction, as demonstrated by the recent takeover of the American companies Phase Matrix (maps, modules and instruments) and AWR (design tools), both specialized in RF applications. National Instruments paid $58 million for Phase Matrix (which employs 50 people) and $58 million for AWR (which has about 100 people).
National Instruments has just opened a European systems engineering centre in Budapest, with the aim of providing professional technical services (design consulting, start-up assistance, demonstration and feasibility studies, software architecture and development consultancy) to the company's European clients, mainly in the field of RF measurement and testing in the first phase of the project. This major project also includes a major research and development investment in the form of a professional laboratory with all RF equipment from the National Instruments product platform, worth 750,000 euros.
Find out more: www.ni.com/fr/