Industrial IoT, a Silicon Valley Opportunity
Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor
I read a white paper written by Brian Derrick, VP of Corporate Marketing at Mentor titled Industrial IoT (IIOT) – Where Is Silicon Valley? It is an interesting discussion about the IIoT market pointing out that most of the leading companies in the market are not located in Silicon Valley. In fact Brian only lists Applied Material as having a measurable market share in IIoT (1.4% in 2015), HP and Avago as sensors providers. Amazon and Google are listed as Cloud Service Providers, Cisco, ProSoft, and Cal Amp as Intelligent Gateway Providers and Sierra Wireless as Machine to Machine Communication Hardware supplier.
It does not make sense to list EDA companies in the valley that supply the tools used by many of the IIoT vendors to design their products. Unfortunately, it is the service nature of EDA that allows analysts to overlook the significant contribution of our industry to the electronics market place.
There is actually a company in Silicon Valley that in my opinion offers a good example of what IIoT is: eSilicon. The company started as a traditional IP provider but in the last three years it developed itself into a turn-key supplier supporting a customer from design to manufacturing of IC with integrated analysis tools, and order, billing and WIP reports, all integrated in a system it calls STAR.
A customer can submit a design that uses a eSilicon IP, analyze physical characteristics of the design, choose a foundry, receive a quote, place an order, evaluate first silicon, and go into production all in the STAR system. This combines design, analysis, ordering, billing, and manufacturing operations, significantly increasing reliability through integration. The development chain that usually requires dealing with many corporate contributors and often more than one accounting system, has been simplified through integration not just of engineering software tools, but accounting tools as well.
I think that we will regret the use of the term “Internet” when describing communication capabilities between and among “Things”. Internet is not just hardware, it is a protocol. A significant amount of communication in the IoT architecture takes place using Bluetooth and WiFi hardware and software, not internet. In fact, I venture that soon we might find that the internet protocol s the wrong protocol to use. We need networks that can be switched from public to private, and in fact an entire hierarchy of connectivity that offer better security, faster communication, and flexibility of protocol utilization.
I find that the distinction between real time and batch processing is disappearing because people are too used to real time. But real time connectivity is open to more security breaches than batch processing. On the manor, for example, a machine can perform thousands of operations without being connected to the internet all the time. Status reports, production statistics information, for example, can be collected at specific times and only at those times does the machine need to be connected to the internet. For the machine to continuously say that all is normal to a central control unit is redundant. All we should care is if something is not normal.
The bottom line is that there are many opportunities for Silicon Valley corporations to become a participant to IIoT, and, of course, start-ups, a specialty of the Valley, can find a niche in the market.