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Semicon West 2014: SEMI World Fab forecast report

July 14, 2014 Comments off

Fabs

Fabs

Christian Gregor Dieseldorff, senior analyst, Industry Research & Statistics  Group at SEMI, presented the SEMI World Fab Forecast at the recently held Semicon West 2014, as part of the SEMI/Gartner Market Symposium on July 7.

Scenarios of fab equipment spending over time has been  20-25 percent in 2014, and 10-15 percent in 2015. At this time, worldwide fab equipment spending is about same in 1H14 vs 2H14. As for fab construction projects, 2013 was a record year with over $9 billion.

New fabs: construction spending (front end cleanrooms only!)
2013: record year with over $9 billion.
2014: -22 percent to -27 percent (~$6.6 billion)
2015: -22 percent to -30 percent (~$5 billion +/-).

Fab equipment spending front end (new and used)
2014: 20 percent to 25 percent (~$35 billion to $36 billion) – if $35 billion, then third largest on record.
2015: 10 percent to 15 percent (~$40 billion) – if $40 billion, then largest in record.

Installed capacity for front end fabs (without discretes)
2014: 2 to 3 percent
2015: 3 to 4 percent
Future outlook beyond 2015: less than 4 percent.

SEMI World Fab Forecast report status and activity outlined that there were 1,148 front end facilities (R&D to HVM) active and future. Also,
* There are 507 companies (R&D to HVM).
* Including 249 LEDs and Opto facilities active and future.
* There are 60 future facilities starting HVM in 2014 or later.
* Major investments (construction projects and/or equipping): 202 facilities in 2014, 189 facilities in 2015.

A slow down of fab closures is expected from 2015 to 2018 for 200mm fabs and 150mm fabs.

Connecting intelligence today for connected world: ARM

November 18, 2013 Comments off

ARMARM calls the spirit of innovation as collective intelligence at every level. It is within devices, between people, through tech and across the world. We are still pushing boundaries of mobile devices.

Speaking at the ARM Summit in Bangalore, Dr Mark Brass, corporate VP, Operations, ARM, said that the first challenge was the number of people on the planet. Technology development and innovation also pose challenges.

According to him, mobile phones are forecast to grow 7.3 percent in 2013 driven by 1 billion smartphones. Mobile data will ramp up 12 times between now and 2018. Mobile and connectivity are creating further innovation.

August, a compamy, has introduced an electronic lock for doors, controlled by the smartphone. Another one is Proteus, which looks at healthcare. The smartphone is becoming the center of our world. All sorts of sensors are also getting into smartphones. Next, mobile and connectivity are growing in automobiles. Companies like TomTom are competing with automobile companies. Connectivity is also transforming infrastructure and data centers. They are now building off the mobile experience.

As per ARM, an IoT survey done has revealed that 76 percent of companies are dealing with IoT. As more things own information, there will be much more data. The IoT runs on ARM.

“There’s more going on than just what you think. IoT is not just about things. Skills development should not be an afterthought. Co-operation is critical. Solutions will emerge. All sorts of things are going to happen. Three years from now, only 4 percent of companies won’t have IoT in the business at all,” Dr. Brass added.

IoT will be present in industrial, especially motors, transportation, energy, and healthcare. Smart meters are coming in to help with energy management. There is a move to Big Data from Little Data.

Challenges in 2020 would be in transportation, energy, healthcare and education. ARM and the ARM partnership is addressing those. “We are delivering an unmatched diversity of solutions. We are scaling from sensors to servers, connecting our world,” Dr. Brass concluded.

Elliptic intros world’s first commercial touchless gesturing technology!

November 13, 2012 1 comment

Source: Elliptic Labs, USA.

Source: Elliptic Labs, USA.

Palo Alto, US-based Elliptic Labs has introduced the world’s first commercial touchless gesturing technology using ultrasound, designed for electronic devices and Windows 8. Elliptic’s breakthrough technology is the first of its kind commercially available and has been incorporated in the Windows 8 Gesture Suite, introduced today. So, what’s this new technology from Elliptic Labs really all about?

Well, OEMs now have a commercially available technology to integrate gesture recognition in their terminals – with extremely low power and robust detection of hand gestures. The technology is based on ultrasound, and requires a small number of low-cost components (microphones, transducers) for integration in the terminal.

The actual gesture recognition is done on the host CPU, running a power-efficient detection software provided by Elliptic labs. Ultrasonic gesture recognition has a perfect fit with Windows 8 user interface, and the company provides gestures for very simple interaction with a Windows 8 terminal with the new Modern/METRO user interface.

With this technology, you can command a laptop simply by gesturing in front of the computer, and to the sides and above the screen. A key feature of ultrasound is that Elliptic Labs supports gestures not only in the front of the computer, but also to the sides and above, enabling intuitive interactions with the terminal.

Another advantage of ultrasound is that it works in complete darkness, and in direct sunlight, which is challenging for camera-based solutions, and very important for mobile use. Yet another great news is the availability of a Software Development Kit (SDK), so that the OEMs and ISVs can adapt the technology to their particular applications. Elliptic Labs has provided a Starter Kit to get started with ultrasound gestures in minutes!

Mobiles and tablets groove!
This technology can also be used in laptops, mobiles and tablets. A Windows 8 laptop can be operated by simple gestures, which is

Source: Elliptic Labs, USA.

Source: Elliptic Labs, USA.

usually found on touch screens. The OEMs and ISVs can now create new and intuitive user interfaces for a Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer as they wish.

With the SDK, game developers can quickly port their games to support ultrasound controls, and business applications can leverage gestures for quick browsing, selection, and general operation of software. Mobiles and tables can also leverage ultrasound gestures, as the SDK is being made available also for the Android operating system.

Ultrasonic approach!
Elliptic Labs has made use of the ultrasonic approach, which apparently, makes life easier for batteries. The amount of information from a few microphones is much smaller than the amount of information from camera-based solutions. The algorithms for ultrasound gesture recognition can execute with less instructions, resulting in significant lower power usage.

As a result, the ability to do gesture recognition can be “always on”, so users can rely on gestures for all applications of the terminal. The aspect of power consumption is of particular importance for mobile terminals.

Elliptic is a leader in ultrasonic touchless gesturing for consumer electronic devices. Its patented, low-power, responsive new technology is superior to the limited, camera-based approaches on the market. The Windows 8 Gesture Suite enables a touchless version of all touchscreen gestures in the new operating system. Combined with Elliptic’s SDK, the technology gives OEMs the flexibility to create disruptive new ways to interact with devices.

Elliptic’s ultrasound technology uses sound waves and microphones to detect movement, similar to how radar detects objects. The technology is not limited to detecting movement within camera view — it detects natural hand movements that extend beyond the camera, surrounding a device screen.

Nominum launches world’s first purpose-built suite of DNS-based solutions for mobile operators


Late last month, Nominum launched the world’s first purpose-built suite of DNS-based solutions for mobile operators at the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona Spain.

Doug Miller, GM, Mobile Solutions, Nominum, said that Nominum has been in the mobile space for many years now. The news at MWC was to announce the new Nominum Mobile Suite, which takes the lessons learned and best practices from working closely with the top mobile providers in the world to craft purpose-built solutions designed to solve very specific mobile provider needs.

He added: “With the demand on mobile networks at its highest and only growing by the day, mobile providers face specific issues their fixed line counterparts simply do not. For example, the concept of spectrum efficiency is a mobile issue and something Nominum can help with via solutions crafted around our core engines, platforms and applications. There are other examples like this built on both network and subscriber needs.”

DHCP and DNS core engines
So, what are the DNS and DHCP core engines all about? According to Miller, typically when people think of core engines such as DNS and DHCP, the need to respond to queries and enable basic mobile routing and provisioning come to mind. These engines were considered single-purpose network functions. Nothing more, nothing less. However, although these functions are still vital, beyond the base requirements, there are a number of considerations that must also be taken into account.

At the base level, these engines must be considered for latency and availability to ensure the fastest and most reliable network services. Without considering this, the network may have lower performance or potentially become unavailable in its entirety. Further, the concept of network orchestration must be considered. Without these engines, mobile networks simply do not work. This is very different from fixed networks that are not as reliant on DNS as mobile networks. In the case of mobile, there are a number of control plane functions that must be considered.

Arguably more important than these functions is the ability to deliver business-impacting solutions. The concept of spectrum efficiency was already mentioned, but consider the ability to report on customer and network activity. This is a function that was simply never considered when talking about DNS and DHCP. However, with these elements in place, an entirely new world of reporting and analytics is opened up without the need for additional hardware components being added to the network that create additional complexity or add new risks.

Similarly, these engines can also be the basis for subscriber affinity solutions that generate new revenue and add a new dimension to the battle on churn by creating stickiness not possible previously. Simply put, DNS and DHCP can and should be leveraged for more than they have been historically for true business value. Read more…

ARM connecting the world!

September 19, 2011 2 comments

John Cornish, VP and GM, Design Division ARM.

John Cornish, VP and GM, Design Division ARM.

ARM is connecting the world today, according to John Cornish, VP and GM, Design Division ARM. Over 4 billion people are using ARM-powered mobile phones currently. He was speaking at the ARM Technical Symposium in Bangalore, India.

Looking at the end user product demand in 2010, there were 3.7 billion SoCs in mobile phones, 15.3 billion embedded and other SoCs, 1.5 billion SoCs in enterprises, 230 million units in client computing devices, etc. The end user product demand in 2015 will be 7.3 billion SoCs in mobile phones, 21.6 billion embedded and other SoCs, 750 million SoCs in client computing, 2.7 billion SoCs in enterprises, 1.2 billion SoCs in DTVs/STBs, and 110 million server and 140 million desktop and PC SoC devices.

It is well known that there are and will be billions of Internet connected devices. Mobile is now the nexus of this revolution. The computing revolution is driving computing, content and the cloud.

ARM is said to be scaling across the digital world. For instance, ARM technology is suitable for application processors across a huge range of devices. Chip suppliers can develop for multi-industrial applications. Also, OEMs can re-use software across  mobile/consumer devices.

Despite all of this, there is still some way to go. As of now, 5.1 billion inhabitants of the planet don’t have access to the Internet, and 2.2 billion don’t have a mobile phone.

Cornish listed certain challenges such as the need for greater energy efficiency, greater software efficiency,  improved security and diversity of solutions vital to address the opportunity.

Regarding smart energy-connected systems, he mentioned smart home energy management (HEM), smart meters, smart appliances, smart heating, home area networking, etc. “We will need smart devices that can be embedded on anything,” he added. Read more…

Categories: ARM, embedded, mobile devices, SoCs

Celebrating the World IPv6 Day!


June 8 happens to be World IPv6 Day. On this day, tomorrow, Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai and Limelight Networks will be among some of the major global organizations offering content over IPv6 networks on a 24-hour test flight!  World IPv6 Day’s goal is to motivate organizations — ISPs, hardware vendors, OS vendors, web companies, etc., to prepare their services for IPv6, as IPv4 addresses run out!

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is a version of the Internet Protocol (IP) that is designed to succeed Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4).  The growth of the Internet has mandated a need for more addresses than is possible with IPv4. IPv6 allows for vastly more addresses.

Dave Kresse, CEO of Mu Dynamics.

Dave Kresse, CEO of Mu Dynamics.

Thanks to Lauren Willard at Sterling Communications, I got into a conversation with Dave Kresse, CEO of Mu Dynamics, on the eve of the IPv6 Day. Mu has been working with network operators and service providers for years now to ensure that their networks are up for IPv6.

Wednesday, the company will be announcing a free solution for network operators and service providers to ensure that their networks will operate smoothly both during the transition to IPv6 and once it’s complete. Mu is doing all of this in conjunction with the leading lab for IPv6 testing in the nation – UNH-IOL InterOperability Lab.

Talking about the significance of the World IPv6 day from Mu’s perspective, Kresse says that everybody has been talking about IPv6 for the longest time, and a majority of our customers have been focusing on it for awhile. The IPv6 World Day bring additional visibility to the exhaustion of the IPv4 addresses and for those who have not started to make the transition, they are definitely behind the game.

As for Mu’s role in IPv6, he adds: “For the last several years, our proven testing solution has helped network equipment manufacturers and operators around the world with their IPv6 testing and certification. The Mu Test Suite for IPv6 is comprehensive suite of automated testings solutions and test content assisting customers and prospects to test, certify and validate their products and services for conformance, security and resiliency.” Read more…

India is World Cup Cricket champion! Yaayyy!!

April 2, 2011 Comments off

India has won the World Cup Cricket championship for 2011! Yaayyy!!

It was just brilliant! When Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni clouted that second ball of the 49th over from Nuwan Kulasekara over long on for a huge six, the World Cup of cricket was finally ours! After 28 years!! Wow, take that!!!

India win the World Cup of Cricket, 2011!

India win the World Cup of Cricket, 2011!

Chasing a ‘huge’ score of 275 runs at the start of the Indian innings, the first blow came off the very second ball, when Virender Sehwag was adjudged LBW to a sharp in-cutter from Lasith Malinga. That grand old man of Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, kept playing some great shots, till the first ball of the 6th over, when his poke was well held by a diving Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lankan keeper-cum-captain. The sight of Malinga celebrating that wicket stands out in memory! The reason: Sri Lanka never got a second chance thereafter!

So good were Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni, that India never lost track of the target, post that dismissal! In between, Virat Kohli, the young turk, played a nice cameo, and later, Yuvraj Singh (who is six days younger to me ;)) played really special knocks, that took India to a very historic win, after 28 long years!

Never before has a team won a World Cup final chasing a target of 275 runs. Australia scored 274, before being all out in the 1975 final to the West Indies, chasing 291 runs. Never before has a team, with a centurion – Mahela Jayawardene – lost in a final! Never has a host nation won the World Cup playing at home, although Sri Lanka, a co-host, won in 1996 vs. Australia, at Lahore. The last time India won the World Cup, in 1983 vs. West Indies, no player scored a century. This time, again, no Indian player scored a century!

There should be many other firsts. However, I am too overwhelmed to even mention them! For now, let’s all savour the famous win crafted by India over Sri Lanka at the new-look Wankhede Stadium!

For me, personally, I have been privileged to view both the triumphs — the 1983 win at Lords against West Indies as a young boy, and now this, in 2011! Which one was better? Perhaps, 1983! Why? Simply because the conditions were really challenging, and India had to face a much, much deadlier bowling attack as well as a lethal batting line-up!

For now, let us all celebrate India’s second World Cup triumph over Sri Lanka at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium! I simply can’t sleep tonight for sure!! ;)

Reshaping the embedded world: Vivek Sharma, ST


Vivek Sharma, regional VP, Greater China & South Asia region -- India Operations and Director, India Design Center, STMicroelectronics.

Vivek Sharma, regional VP, Greater China & South Asia region -- India Operations and Director, India Design Center, STMicroelectronics.

It was a pleasure to catch up with Vivek Sharma, regional VP, Greater China & South Asia region — India Operations and Director, India Design Center, STMicroelectronics, on the sidelines of the 4th Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) 2010 in Bangalore. We had a wonderful discussion on the trends that are reshaping today’s embedded world.

Sharma said: “Moore’s Law has governed many new things. In fact, it has ruled the roost. The industry has been able to push up complexity within a chip and also bring down costs.” As an example, during the last two decades, cost and complexity have combined to create the mobile device — which has turned out to be a disruptive application. The world recently added its 5 billionth mobile subscriber in July 2010. There is likely to be a whopping 50 billion connected devices by 2020!

SiP reshaping embedded world

Touching upon ‘more than Moore”, Sharma added that shrinking will keep on happening. System-in-package is a reality today and is reshaping the embedded world. It can allow more shrinking in size and push down costs.

Borrowing from wikipedia, for those interested, a system-in-a-package or system in package (SiP), also known as a chip stack MCM, is a number of ICs enclosed in a single package or module, and performs all or most of the functions of an electronic system.

3D heterogenous integration and  TSV

3D heterogenous integration and  through-silicon via (TSV) is another trend reshaping the industry. 3D packaging with 3D TSV interconnects provides another path toward “More than Moore”, with relatively smaller capital investments.
3D-ICs stack multiple chips together and interconnect them using through-silicon via (TSV) structures, thereby providing much more functions in a smaller footprint.

MEMS key segment
MEMS is yet another sector which is reshaping the industry. Sensors play a major role in our lives. “If we can develop good sensors, they can change our lives,” said Sharma.

“Accelerometers and gyroscopes are two key segments with substantial growth. MEMS takes advantage of the electrical and mechanical properties of the silicon.’ Sharma added that all MEMS gyroscopes take advantage of Coriolis effect. In 2009, ST introduced over 30 multi-axis gyroscopes.

For the statistically inclined, earlier this year, Dr. Robert Castellano of the Information Network said in their report 3-D TSV: Insight On Critical Issues And Market Analysis, that while the overall equipment market will grow at a CAGR of nearly 60 percent between 2008-2013, the metrology/inspection sector is expected to grow nearly 80 percent. On the device side, TSVs for MEMS is expected to grow nearly 100 percent in this time frame. Read more…

SAP World Tour 2010: Sustainability transforms business, increases profitability!

July 16, 2010 Comments off

Peter Gartenburg, managing director, SAP India.

Peter Gartenburg, MD, SAP India.

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!

Peter Graf, chief sustainability officer and executive VP of Sustainability Solutions, SAP.

Peter Graf, chief sustainability officer and executive VP of Sustainability Solutions, SAP.

He also presented a sustainability business case, which includes:

* Reduce compliance and risk; comply with customer requirements.
* Attract, retain and effectively deploy the best people.
* Saving on material and energy costs.
* Drive competitiveness and resources.
* Sustain your business model — especially by future proofing your strategy. Read more…

FPGAs sizzle, thanks to Actel, Altera and Xilinx at Embedded World 2010!

March 2, 2010 Comments off

Three major announcements, simultaneously, from Actel, Altera and Xilinx in quick succession, indicates that ‘all is well’ in the FPGA market. And it seems, the Embedded World Conference is playing a major role in all of these developments. Great!

Altera announced an industrial safety data package for automation applications at the Embedded World Exhibition and Conference in Nuremberg, Germany.

Then, Xilinx introduced the Xilinx automotive (XA) family of Spartan-6 field FPGAs optimized for applications requiring high-speed connectivity and high-resolution video performance. At the same conference, Xilinx and Inova Semiconductors introduced an Automotive Pixel Link (APIX) IP solution for the Xilinx automotive (XA) family of FPGAs.

World’s first intelligent mixed signal FPGA
The best one, I believe, has come from Actel. Also at the Embedded World 2010, Actel unveiled SmartFusion, the world’s first intelligent mixed signal FPGA.

Now, isn’t that interesting? There has been a lot of focus on analog/mixed-signal (AMS), and Actel’s SmartFusion could not have been timed better.

I recall a story I had done some time ago with Cosmic Circuits for the India Semiconductor Association’s (ISA) website. The company said that the AMS market in India is set to expand rapidly in the next several years — driven by consumer, communications, automotive and industrial. The variety of analog chips required and the complexity are no different from those needed in other regions of the world!

Why? About 18 months ago, when speaking with Synopsys regarding the Galaxy Custom Designer, I distinctly remember the company telling me that it improves AMS productivity!

As per information, Actel’s SmartFusion devices feature Actel’s proven FPGA fabric, a complete MCU subsystem built around a hard ARM Cortex-M3 processor and programmable analog blocks on a flash process. This means, embedded designers can now easily build the system they want, with all the features they need, on a single chip.

Wonder what’s taken the FPGA suppliers so long to come out with an intelligent mixed signal FPGA. Am sure, the others have things lined up as well!

By the way, I couldn’t find anything from Achronix! Maybe, something is on the way from this company as well!

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