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Posts Tagged ‘eSilicon’

Industrial IoT, a Silicon Valley Opportunity

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

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.

You Ought To See This Webinar

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor

A little over a month ago I wrote a blog about eSilicon’s IP MarketPlace.  On Wednesday January 21st eSilicon will present a webinar on the product.  To register go to: https://esilicon.clickwebinar.com/Try_IP_Before_You_Buy/register.  In case you cannot attend you can always see the webinar at: http://www.esilicon.com/resources/webinars-and-technical-presentations.  Jack Harding, eSilicon CEO, has just published a blog on his company web site that provides the rationale for a product like IP MarketPlace.  I want to quote a couple of fragments from the blog.

Jack writes:” One of my employees recently passed me the article “When Marketing is Strategy” authored by Niraj Dawar in the December 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review. The essence of the article is that, “The strategic question that drives business today is not ‘What else can we make?’ but ‘What else can we do for our customers?’ Customers and the market—not the factory or the product—now stand at the core of the business.”

And later on he says: “eSilicon finds itself in a familiar place today. True to our original thesis and Mr. Dawar’s crisp description of the phenomenon, we are now leading another strategic shift “downstream” to help shape our customers’ “criteria of purchase.” Namely, we are deploying internet-based tools to redefine the manner in which the semiconductor development world accesses technical and commercial information in a format and structure that they did not request. Just as a fabless ASIC model was not requested.”

Mr. Dawar’s concept is not new, just often forgotten by companies who pay the price for their superficiality.  It is just another way of saying “A company is not in business to make money.  It is in business to give its customers what they need and make money as a consequence.”  I learned that while getting my B.A. in Business Administration.  Some professional sporting an MBA after their name ought to review their course material!

The IP MarketPlace is the third such product deployed by eSilicon.  At a time when the hottest three letter word in electronics is “IoT” that stands for (Internet of Things) eSilicon is leading the use of the “I” part the acronym.  The IP MarketPlace, in fact, will play an important part in facilitating the creation of “Things”.  Efficiency is the best tool to decrease development costs, and the Internet-based tools from eSilicon are the best tools I know to decrease the time and cost of defining, pricing, documenting and scheduling a chip project.  The best part is that using IP MarketPlace is free and simple.  I did it and I am a computer scientist, not an EE.

The eSilicon IP MarketPlace: Easy and Quick Integration of IP in Your Design

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor

The eSilicon IP MarketPlace product is simply what every IP vendor would like to have.  I am not a practicing designer, yet I found the environment easy to navigate, full of useful information, and an evaluation tool that takes one directly to selecting the correct IP for the target design.  Once I logged on and started my “test drive”, I felt instant gratification, as my commands produced data I could process readily, or information I could evaluate right away.  And the best thing is that it is free.

In my career as an editor I have very seldom started a product launch review so positively, but it is my job to give the correct information and this product is special.  The reason, I think, is because it bridges the gap between what one can learn from a good data sheet and what one finds when the GDS tape is generated.  In between there is a lot of work, and work that gets exponentially harder as we move to the latest process nodes technology.  And don’t even try to evaluate the same IP fabricated by two different foundries without this tool!  It would just take too long.

The IP MarketPlace environment helps users avoid complicated paperwork; find which memories will best help meet their chip’s power, performance, and area (PPA) targets that apply to your specific requirements, easily isolate key data, and perform vital “what-if” analysis.

The IP MarketPlace environment contains all eSilicon-developed IP across multiple foundries and technologies:

  • Memory compilers, including 28HPM TCAMs, four-port register files and two-port asynchronous register files
  • General-purpose I/O libraries from 16nm to 180nm
  • Specialty I/O libraries from 16nm to 180nm, including 1.8V/3.3V LVCMOS I/Os

Once a designer has chosen a memory type, IP Marketplace provides immediate answers with pre-loaded data for eSilicon memory compilers and I/O libraries.  Engineers can:

  • Generate dynamic, graphical analyses of power, performance and area (PPA) data
  • View data graphically, in table format, or download it to Microsoft Excel
  • Build and download a complete chip memory subsystem
  • Generate and download IP front-end views
  • Make changes over time and pay for the IP when ready to tape out (in the next release the payment will be made on-line without leaving the environment)

“We wanted to simplify the comparison of results across multiple technologies, architectures and other characteristics and take the guesswork out of hitting PPA targets,” said Lisa Minwell, eSilicon’s senior director of IP product marketing. “This goes much, much deeper than IP portals that serve as IP catalogs. Using the IP MarketPlace environment, users can download front-end views, run simulations in their own environments, then come back to purchase the back-end views of the IP and I/Os that best fit their design.”

To kick the tires go to http://www.esilicon.com/custom-ip/ip-marketplace.  I bet you will be convinced.  The only drawback I found is that it may take up to 24 hours before you get access to the tool since they email you back your login information almost immediately but then you have to wait for another email that gives you access to the site where you can choose an IP and start working with it.  So the first time is not immediate gratification but, as I said, the wait is worth it.

An Eclectic DAC

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

The type of exhibitors at this year’s DAC 2014 was more varied than in previous year. For example I met with Riscure a Dutch company that specializes in security issues. They are hired by companies and goverments to test the security of chips used in credit cards, passports, and other ID cards. I also met with Tiempo, a French company that has developed a very secure chip used for the same applications. They use asynchronous circuits to defeat spoofing and the tools employed by Riscure.

On the services side I met with Oski that offers formal signoff services, and with eSilicon that offers a complete, easy to use and very fast way to obtain binding quotes from fabs on a large variety of projects. Mike Gianfagna, one of its early employees has rejoined while at the same time keeping strong ties with Atrenta. The service is worth testing out.

Gold Standard Simulation is a survivor of the Scottish Silicon Glen that has an impressive TCAD product worth testing if you would like to evaluate different processes and transistors architectures.
Coventor, initially only a MEMS company now also offers a TCAD simulator.

Allegro, another French company, offers H.264/MPEG-4 AVC/MVC//SVC Compliance streams as well as some IP for HEVC/H.265 encoding.

Invarian offers full-chip and SoC sign-off analysis tools for the challenges facing chip designers today. Using standard interface formats provides physical verification accurate, seamless, and fast with high capacity for Digital, Analog and Mixed signal designs.

So something for everyone with an emphasis on the total system, not just its electronic parts.