The SAP World Tour 2010, held this week in New Delhi, focused strongly on sustainability, a point stressed repeatedly and heavily by company executives.
According to Peter Gartenburg, managing director, SAP India, the company’s sustainability strategy is multi-fold. “A lot of factors come together in India. India has the potential for innovation with sustainability,” he said, while delivering the opening address at the SAP World Tour 2010 in New Delhi.
He added: “India has the skills in IT and services. India also has a culture of frugality, especially, the ability to work in scarce and complex environments. At SAP, we can be a key partner in India’s quest for leadership.
Delivering the keynote, Peter Graf, chief sustainability officer and executive VP of Sustainability Solutions, SAP, said: “We are still finding new ways to use the Internet. What can you do with IT? It goes way beyond data centers.”
He added that sustainability is inevitable. The reasons include population growth, western lifestyle and linear value chains. The symptoms are resource intensity, risk price volatility, climate change, etc. The consequences can be pretty severe, such as growing consumer awareness, brands at risk, war for talent and growing customer and legal requirements.
Graf said, “Sustainability is all about business, about profitability.” Sustainability drives profitability!
He also presented a sustainability business case, which includes:
The EDA360 vision paper says: “Today, systems and semiconductor companies are undergoing a disruptive transformation so profound that even the best-known companies will be impacted. The EDA industry now stands at a crossroads where it also must change in order to continue as a successful, independent business. Without that change, EDA will become a fragmented industry offering suboptimal, poorly targeted solutions that fail to solve customer problems. As a result, the huge leap forward provided by the electronics revolution will come to a standstill. The result? A squandered opportunity for technology innovation, and a diminished contribution by the electronics industry to re-build the global economy.”
You can download the vision paper from eda360.com, if you like!
The vision paper is essentially looking at where EDA should be heading over the next five years. The four chapters of the EDA360 are:
* EDA360 enables silicon realization.
Why is the EDA industry at crossroads?
The EDA industry to date has only served the needs of creators. It has almost completely ignored integrators, who need a different set of tools and capabilities. How can the EDA360 go about achieving this?
When one says that the EDA industry has so far only served the needs of the creators, It is only a reflection of the evolution of the industry. The fundamental manner in which electronic design is being done is now changing. While it is shifting, it also takes a while to understand the entire paradigm. The industry is also moving toward IP re-use, etc., — those are all the shifts.
The industry is now said to be looking at a new paradigm: integration ready IP. What the vision paper does: it takes the industry to where it is heading and tells this is what’s needed. This is what the integrators will need in the future.
MEMS still has a long way to go to meet the challenges of commercialization! Critical success factors include efficient process transfer from breadboard to production. There is a need to pay attention to customers’ needs. More resources need to be adopted from the semiconductor industry, said Roger Grace, president, Roger Grace Associates.
There is a need to create significant awareness as to the unique solution benefits of MEMS based systems and establish defensible product differentiation. Firms need to better understand customer/market needs.
Emerging opportunities include single MEMS based system solutions, especially in analytical instruments, double magnetic MEMS, triple point-of-care bio, energy harvesting/storage, etc. There are barriers to commercialization of MEMS. Until recently, it is plagued by lack of high-volume apps. There is lack of well-defined direction from roadmaps, industry standards and associations. Packaging and testing costs are typically at 70 percent of total value. There is also a lack of focus on customer needs and lack of capital formation opportunities, risk averse investors.
Besides, successive bubble busts, i.e., biomems, optical telecom, have seen wary investors. There are very fragmented markets, many small companies and few large players. Also, there are limited ‘success stories’ of MEMS/MST companies, eg., Invensense. There are new market opportunities for large volume apps, eg. in automotive, CE, etc.
Downturn hit research hard! R&D remains a novelty for most firms. Now, there is an increase in university and R&D labs for MEMS development. There is still plenty of R&D available from DARPA, SBIR and STTRs. Now, we are seeing a healthy amount of activity in new devices and systems research.
As for DfM (design for manufacturing), Invensense’s ‘shuttle’ process may finally become a usable standard. New approaches are also changing the paradigm of cost structure. Examples are Invensense gyros, Freescale chip-stacking accelerometers, ST, etc.
While there seems to be strong MEMS infrastructure, there is some fraying at the ends. The industry needs to remain competitive and lean. As for profitability, while the margins don’t seem great for high volume MEMS devices, they are holding on somewhat. The general consensus of the VC community has been that MEMS has lot of growth potential, but it doesn’t have a good track record of producing profitable firms, as yet.
The lack of DfM emphasis and the absence of a coherent package and test capability is the lack of management insight. As for standards, the creation of the first Standardized Sensor Performance Parameter Definitions is a huge step in the right direction.
There are three phases of PV industry development, including formation, regional development and globalization, according to Bettina Weiss, VP, Global PV Business Unit, SEMI, USA. She was delivering the opening keynote at the ongoing Solarcon India 2012 event in Bangalore, India. The event runs till September 5.
According to her, in the first stage, discoveries lead to inventions. Inventions find niche and high-value applications. Technology, and not manufacturing is the key driver here. For regional development, new industries seen as source for economic development. Markets develop through government subsidies. Global supply chains and regional clusters of excellence develop as well.
State of global PV industry
The government policy support for PV has been strong till 2011. However, it may fall of during 2012-16. The supply-demand balance was generally stable till 2011, which could likely see structural overcapacity in 2012-16. The demand, which has been over 70 per cent till 2011, will likely see -20 per cent growth from 2012-16.
While there were many ‘saviour’ markets, such as Spain (2008), Italy (2010) and Germany (2009-11), Europe may prove to be not enough to absorb excess capacity in 2012-16. Poly, scale and the learning curve had been competitive till 2011, and are likely to give way to non-poly costs, technology and efficiency during 2015-16. While the gross margin was consistently above 20 per cent till now, the path to profitability remains unclear for the period 2012-16.
As for the cell and module makers performance, sharp price declines since 2011 have stimulated record installations globally. The effect on PV manufacturers have been severe. The entire supply chain has been plagued with collapsing margins.
Revenue to shipment ratio declined for five consecutive quarter since Q1 ’11. The list of insolvencies keeps growing. The outlook for 2012 is that volume/shipment upside is likely, but the path to profitability is still unclear.
Then, there is the ongoing solar trade war!
The US Department of Commerce (DOC) levied anti-dumping tariffs against Chinese solar module imports, with tariffs ranging from 31 per cent to 250 per cent. In response to the US tariffs, China’s Ministry of Commerce, on July 21, 2012, announced that it will start its own AD and CVD investigation on imported solar-grade polysilicon from US, and is initiating an AD investigation on these imports from South Korea. The EU Commission will decide by mid-September whether to accept a similar complaint and launch an investigation.
According to Tunç Doluca, CEO, Maxim Integrated Products, the analog market is changing. Maxim is the analog integration pioneer. Integration accelerating in growth markets. The company has been executing its strategy via innovation, integration and balance. It is well positioned for success in the future. Doluca was speaking at the Analyst Day 2011 event held recently.
Speaking about the evolution of analog, Doluca touched upon analog integration, system solution and building blocks. Six areas act as market growth drivers — automotive electronics, HD video infrastructure, energy, mobility, security and healtcare.
Key market trends in automotive electronics include electronic content increasing, infotainment now becoming standard, and hybrid and electric vehicles. Maxim’s product investments include lighting and body electronics, infotainment solutions, automotive connectivity and battery management. The analog TAM is said to be $10 billion as per IC Insights. Automotive electronics is likely to grow at 9.2 percent CAGR through 2014, according to DQ 2010.
Key trends in HD infrastructure include infrastructure for HD video, smart TVs – Skype TV, and wireless HD in the home. Maxim’s product investments include the optical transceivers, video SoCs including so]ware and wireless HD 1080p chipset. The Internet traffic is likely to grow 13x times from 2006 to 2014.
Key trends in energy include energy measurement everywhere, which requires communication. Maxim’s product investments include energy metering and measuring, smart grid communications and low-power product focus. As per Frost & Sullivan, 2011 should see 116 million meter installations.
Key trends in mobile devices include richer features and smaller devices, emergence of tablets and touchscreen displays. Maxim’s product investments include Power SoC — analog integration, sensing — proximity and imaging, ModelGauge technology, TacTouch controllers and Flexsound audio. Year 2011 should see 1.6 billion cell phones, including 428 million smartphones, as per Oppenheimer, and also 220 million laptops and 55 million tablets, as per MS Research.
Key trends in security include rise of electronic transactions, stringent security requirements and digital surveillance. Maxim’s product investments include key acquisitions for secure SoCs, H.264 SoCs — IP cameras and DVRs, and end-to-end silicon solutions. Financial terminals should grow 6.3 percent CAGR over the next five years, as per BCC Research.
Key trends in healthcare include diagnostics closer to patients, home-based care and enabling healthier lifestyles. Maxim’s product investments have been in areas such as integration for miniaturization, low-power for portability and high-performance analog. Medical electronics is said to grow at 10 percent CAGR over the next five years, as per Databeans.
Maxim has been executing its strategy based on three key areas — innovation, integration and balance. Maxim is doing innovation in areas: 0.18 micron process on 300mm wafers, 10 touch capacitive touchscreen controllers, mobile power SoCs that integrate analog functions, and energy metering SoCs that are said to replace seven discrete ICs and reduce costs up to 40 percent. The integration trend has been progressing across all markets.
In five years, Maxim should be a leader in integrated analog solutions, have the industry’s fastest growing rate, have high profitability and be one of best companies to work for. A new world headquarters is under construction in San Jose. Relocation is scheduled for 2012.
What do you do with attack toolkits and malicious websites? Well, nothing much, unless you are attacked! And then, you run around, trying to restore your lost website!
According to Shantanu Ghosh, VP, India Product Operations, Symantec, attack kits are more accessible, relatively easy to use, and are being utilized much more widely. They are also driving faster proliferation of attacks. The profitability of attack kits has attracted criminals who would otherwise lack the technical expertise for cybercrime, fueling the growth of a self-sustaining, profitable, and increasingly organized global underground economy. These are the key findings from Symantec.
Attack kits allow unskilled attackers to enter the market with sophisticated tools. Attack kits feature easy to use icon-driven GUIs that include checkboxes and pull down menus. Centralized administrative interfaces provide easy access to various toolkit functions. Also, the increasing sophistication and “user-friendly” features is further evidence of the increasing organization and profitability of the underground economy.
Ease of use
Statistics and information on compromised hosts can be gathered for further use. Tasks can now easily be done with a few clicks of the mouse.Complex exploits are simplified for the toolkit user.
Toolkits account for nearly two-thirds of all threat activity on malicious websites. As kits become more robust and easier to use, this number will likely climb
Faster proliferation of attacks
New exploits are quickly incorporated into kits. This allows newer attacks to proliferate rapidly so they are seen by more users soon after release. A single attack kit installed on a popular website can exploit a large number of users in a short period of time.
Toolkits are relatively easy to find for purchase through simple Web searches. Advertisements can be found on the underground economy and web forums. Both creators and users of kits profit from them. Creators profit by selling the kits while users profit through information theft.
Malicious web pages
During this reporting period, Symantec observed more than 310,000 unique domains that were found to be malicious. On average, this resulted in the detection of more than 4.4 million malicious Web pages per month.
Frequency of attacks rises when new exploits are released, then declines over time. As new kits become well known, sites hosting them are shut down faster and more often.
Malicious websites by search terms
Here are the categories of search terms that led to malicious websites. Blackhat search engine optimization is often used to lead users to malicious sites through searches
The Symantec Report on Attack Toolkits and Malicious Websites, developed by the company’s Security Technology and Response (STAR) organization, is an in-depth analysis of attack toolkits.
The report includes an overview of these kits as well as attack methods, kit types, notable attacks and attack kit evolution. It also includes a discussion of attack kit features, traffic generation and attack kit activity.
Right then, folks! This is my last post for 2010, on my favorite topic – semiconductors. If 2009 was one of the worst, if not, the worst year ever for semiconductors, 2010 seems to be the best year for this industry, what with the analyst community forecasting that the global semicon industry will surpass the $300 billion mark for the first time in its history!
Well, here’s a look at the good, the bad and the ugly, if available for otherwise what has been an excellent year, which is in its last hours, for semiconductors. Presenting a list of posts on semiconductors that mattered in 2010.
Future research directions in EDA: Dr. Prith Banerjee @ VLSID 2010 — This was quite an entertaining presentation!
Indian semicon industry: Time for paradigm shift! — When will that shift actually happen?
ISA Vision Summit 2010: Karnataka Semicon Policy 2010 unveiled; great opportunity for India to show we mean business! — So far, the Karnataka semicon policy has flattered to deceive! I’m not surprised, though!
Indian electronics and semiconductor industries: Time to answer tough questions and find solutions — Reminds me of the popular song from U2 titled — “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”!
What should the Indian semicon/electronics industry do now? — Seriously, easy to say, difficult to manage (ESDM)! Read more…
The VLSI Design and Test Symposium 2010 (VDAT 2010) was held last week (July 7-9) at the picturesque Chitkara University Campus, Himachal Pradesh, located 32 kms from Chandigarh.
VDAT is an annual activity of the VLSI Society of India, and was initiated to provide a discussion forum for Indian academicians and industry professionals working in the areas related to VLSI.
Delivering the keynote, Jaswinder Ahuja, corporate vice president and managing director, Cadence Design Systems India, said: “There is a “real” but “different” opportunity in the emerging markets. One would have to immerse himself/herself to understand the market better. India is also a great proxy for the emerging markets. It has the design expertise as well to address this market.
“The next 10-15 years present a unique window of opportunity to India entrepreneurs to play a leadership role in the global economic growth.”
Elaborating on the “real” but “different” opportunity in emerging markets, he added: “The base of the pyramid opportunity is very real. As per World Resources Institute, there are four billion people in the developing world representing a $5 trillion market opportunity who have real needs and aspirations but are under served.
“At least 700 million of these people are in India and represent a real business opportunity as well as an opportunity to “do good” and help include them into the formal economy and enable India to achieve its aspiration of 9-10 percent “inclusive” GDP growth. This requires business innovation and a different mind-set presenting a transformative opportunity to marry low cost, good quality, sustainability and profitability at the same time.”
India a great proxy for emerging markets!
India is also said to be a great proxy for the emerging markets. Ahuja explained: “India is many markets — urban, semi-urban and rural) in one and presents a broad spectrum of challenges that need to be overcome to be able to reach the 700 million people market opportunity.”
“If we can make something (product or service) work in India, we can make it work pretty much anywhere else in the developing world – whether it is financing, distribution, logistics, operating environment or anything else.”
Opportunity for Indian entrepreneurs to play leadership role
The next 10-15 years present a unique window of opportunity to India entrepreneurs to play a leadership role in the global economic growth.
According to Ahuja: “The markets of the future are in our backyard and we have among the best design talent in the world. If we can immerse ourselves in the market to understand the real needs and opportunities and then leverage our design expertise to build products for this market we will be best positioned to serve the next 4 billion consumers of the world.
“Indian entrepreneurs have an opportunity to play a leadership role in the global economic growth across sectors, but especially in electronics. No other country in the world has this unique convergence of circumstances. This opportunity is once in a lifetime and ours to lose if we do not create the right environment and framework to leverage it.” Read more…
Following the announcement of the EDA360 last week, I managed to get in touch with Jaswinder Ahuja, corporate vice president and managing director, Cadence Design Systems (I) Pvt Ltd. We discussed a variety of topics such as why the EDA industry is at the crossroads, EDA360 unplugged, the integrators vs. creators concept, the IP stack and the road ahead for EDA360.
First, why is the EDA industry at the crossroads?
“Semiconductor companies are being asked by system companies to provide the hardware platform as well as the software that will run on that particular platform. That is the trend that Cadence is seeing today, and that is what is discussed in the EDA360 manifesto,” he added.
EDA is at crossroads because EDA companies can no longer provide the tools only for IP integration and silicon realization like they have been doing all these years. EDA now has to encompass SOC realization (including bare metal software) and then move towards system realization, which includes mechanical/board design, he noted.
EDA360 and its key features
Ahuja said that EDA360 represents System Realization, the development of a complete hardware/software platform ready for applications development; SoC Realization, the creation of a single SoC including hardware-dependent software; and Silicon Realization, which includes complex digital, analog, and mixed-signal designs.
The traditional approach to system development starts with the hardware, and appends the software and the applications later. With application-driven System Realization, designers start by envisioning the applications that will run on the system, define requirements, and then work their way down to hardware and software IP creation and integration. This flow requires some new and expanded capabilities.
Part of system realization is project management. EDA360 reaches beyond engineering teams to help customers meet project and business objectives.
Key features of EDA360 include:
The four chapters of the EDA360 manifesto take a look at:
According to iSuppli, ‘The overall semiconductor supplier operating profitability rose to 21.4 percent in fourth quarter of 2009, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2000 when it reached 24.7 percent. Industry profitability soared in 2009, rising throughout the year after falling to negative 5.3 percent in the first quarter due to the impact of the global economic downturn.’
In a quick chat, Derek Lidow, president and CEO of iSuppli, said: “The semiconductor industry profitability is likely to improve further from this point as fab utilization rates improve and also because prices have been going up recently due to spot shortages and long leadtimes. So, we do not think this is too early to congratulate the industry on a job well done.”
So far firms have done a great job in checking against overcapacity situations. How long, before we all get greedy all over again? (LoL) And well, the whole thing starts! Crisis has led to newer styles of management — so, have the firms really learned?
Lidow added that the industry executives have demonstrated more restraint on capacity additions than in any previous recovery. “Indeed, the slowness to add assembly and test capacity has lead to the spot shortages, that the industry has then used as a reason to increase prices. This has further re-enforced the benefits of being more cautious on major capacity increases.
“Another noteworthy factor in this restraint is that a larger proportion of all semiconductors are being produced from wafers fabricated at independent foundries. With such a high concentration of production going through relatively few foundries, the industry is much better able to balance wafer supply and demand – and, again there are fewer incentives to add capacity speculatively.
“Of course, the memory producers have been the most prone to add speculative capacity in the past and in this cycle the major memory producers have been in weaker financial condition, Samsung excepted, than ever before, so they have been ‘constrained to be restrained’.
Has the industry learned its lessons?
The key question remains: Has the industry really learned its lessons from the past year?
Lidow said: “The semiconductor industry has learned, the question is whether they will remember the lessons! The industry has learned that when capacity is added slowly, pricing is better. They have learned that often OEMs, their customers, are willing to reduce margins on their TVs and cell phones in order to keep up consumer the demand, and that the semiconductor supplier can keep some of the benefits of their economies of scale and still keep the industry growing.”
Finally, with all these signs of recovery, are the VCs now taking some interest in the senicon industry or is it still out of bounds?
Lidow’s reply is interesting. He added: “VCs have started to come back, but with more semiconductor companies than ever (the downturn did not stimulate any meaningful industry consolidation!), the criteria for investing in a new semiconductor startup are higher than ever.”
Thanks a lot, Jon and Debra.