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Archive for May, 2011

Embedded Vision Alliance (EVA) is born!

May 31, 2011 Comments off

The Embedded Vision Alliance is born! Over 15 leading technology companies, including some really big names in semiconductors, have come together in Oakland, USA, to ‘ speed the adoption of computer vision capabilities in electronic products’.

BDTI, Xilinx, and IMS Research initiated the Embedded Vision Alliance (EVA) and are being joined by Analog Devices, Apical, Avnet Electronics Marketing, CEVA, CogniVue, Freescale, National Instruments, NVIDIA, Texas Instruments, Tokyo Electron Device, MathWorks, Ximea, and XMOS as founding members.

According to a release, the ability of machines to see and understand their environments—what we call “embedded vision”—promises to transform the electronics industry with products that are more intelligent and aware of their environments, and to create significant new markets for electronic equipment and components.

This new consortium, called the Embedded Vision Alliance, will enable the proliferation of embedded vision technology by providing design engineers with information, practical know-how, and industry standards.

Tim Erjavec, senior director, FPGA Platform Product Marketing, Xilinx, said: “It was clear to both BDTI and us that the adoption of an array of technologies in  intelligent video, video analytics, computer vision and other complementary technologies are making their way into many more application than ever before. In looking at integrating the right solution to a given problem in various applications, the lack of readily available information to get started or evaluate is apparent.

“Further, what is available is very diverse, in many cases very complex and not aggregated at any one place. So, in order to help system designers in designing-in “vision” into their applications, we saw the opportunity to aggregate many of the contributing technologies, products, companies and expertise into one place. Thus, the alliance and new website was formed and launched last week.”

While the participants in this Alliance need to be congratulated for their foresight, one wonders what took them so long!

Also, I do not see any Indian company in the list, although, the embedded systems and software industry here is quite large. Names, such as Ittiam, Tata Elxsi, etc., should be part of this Alliance, but they are absent, as of now!

Now, the EVA’s commitment is to vision technology and enabling customers to develop the industry’s most innovative hardware, development tools and software to make vision application development easier. One of the founders has commented that embedded vision will be used on automobiles to prevent accidents and to security cameras to prevent crimes. Should this happen, embedded vision will surely proliferate across a multitude of markets! We are all waiting really patiently for such days!

Where is Indian semiconductor industry headed?


It has been a pretty disappointing year for me, so far, owing to one or another family related problems. I’ve only flattered, to deceive, as one would put it! Not that I’m out of my troubles, but am sure I can ‘play my game as usual’, hopefully, without any further disruptions.

First, I have been closely following the global semiconductor industry, despite my troubles, and there’s really nothing new worth reporting, at least, so far!  Hope the next month and the rest of the year are better! But first, my take on the Indian semiconductor industry, which has now started to disappoint! At least, yours truly!

Last July, I had done a post, where, Len Jelinek, director and chief analyst for semiconductor manufacturing at iSuppli, (now IHS iSuppli) had said to a question on the need for a foundry for the Indian semiconductor industry that: “If there is a foundry built in India, it will have to start at mature technology, which they will have to underprice just to get business. Financially, this makes no sense for any investor, except for the government, which can protect the foundry (their investment) through tariffs.”

It is going to be a year since the remark was made!

This February, at the ISA Vision Summit, one heard  a well known personality voice concern that the manufacturing sector suffers from a confidence deficit. A part of the software successes have been due to a brand developed. He said: “We have the advantage of a great brand, and need to make use of it in the electronics manufacturing sector. The government recognizes the need to convert Indian into a global destination.”

Where is the recognition to help create Indian into a global destination happening? Does it really take so long to develop a semicon policy in the first place? It is strange that perhaps, six and a half years since it was set up (Oct. 30, 2004), the ISA has still not found any takers for a fab in India!

Elsewhere, I mentioned that the latest ISA-Frost report on the status of the Indian semiconductor industry does not sound accurate! I don’t have anything personal against the Indian arms of MNCs, but why are they made even part of the report? I don’t recall seeing a similar report from China or Japan or Taiwan, that does a similar thing!

Where are the Indian semiconductor companies in the first place? One of India’s major semicon firms, the Srini Rajam-led Ittiam Systems, recorded a growth of Rs. 52 crore in 2010, while another significant ODM player, SFO Technologies from Kochi, Kerala, was said to be achieving Rs. 750-800 crore in 2010. What about the other Indian companies? To be accurate: what’s even happening with the Karnataka Semicon Policy? And, don’t some of the other Indian states deserve similar policies?

There are certain things that the Indian semicon industry needs to do, unless it wants to be written out of reckoning in the global context.
1) Focus on the needs of the Indian semicon companies only!
2) Prepare industry reports that highlight the capabilities of Indian semicon firms only; it does not matter how small those firms are! At least, we will have correct reports presenting the right picture.
3) I mentioned 10 points the Indian semicon industry needs to focus on in a post “Long wait for Indian semicon industry?” Perhaps, some, if not all, need to be paid attention to!

I am also told that the ISA president, Ms Poornima Shenoy is leaving, to start a new business. My best wishes to her for a successful career!

Kotura leads the way in silicon photonics!

May 25, 2011 Comments off

Recently, I received an update on Kotura’s latest initiatives in silicon photonics.

The transition from copper to optics is underway and promises to deliver data at the speed of light – not just through fiber optic cables but on computer chips. Leading this movement is silicon photonics innovator Kotura.

Kotura is headquartered in Monterey Park, CA with its own silicon CMOS fab and many resident PhDs. It has an extensive IP portfolio and over 60 granted patents. While the initial adoption of silicon photonics has been largely in the telecommunications industry, Kotura is taking its unique platform that integrates optics and electronics to broader markets that are seeking greater performance, bandwidth and energy efficiency.

Data centers, for instance, are being driven to provide more bandwidth at high performance levels and are consuming huge amounts of energy. Optical interconnect in data center networks promises relief to an industry that is destined for continued growth.

One of Kotura’s strengths, and a key to advancing its technology and speed- and energy-saving applications, has been a robust R&D program, funded by a mix of private industry and Federal Government sources such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Departments of Commerce (NIST) and Energy.

As for the market drivers, a variety of markets currently use silicon photonics. The telecom industry was an early adopter of the technology and has implemented it with great success. Now there is a movement to expand silicon photonics to other applications that require high bandwidth density, low power and small footprint connectivity. Data server farms, electric smart grid, supercomputing, and sensors for infrastructure are just a sampling of the applications that are well suited to benefit from silicon photonics.

Kotura has many partners in both the public and private sector, including several universities and departments of the US government.

Kotura maintains strong ties to a variety of associations including 10x10msa, CIAN, MIT Roadmapping, Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA), OSA, IEEE 802.3ba 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s Ethernet Standards Committee, Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) and Silicon Photonics Alliance.

This is  excellent news for all concerned. Silicon photonics is the way forward!

Categories: Kotura, silicon photonics

Heart of dragon beats inside smartest devices: Qualcomm

May 18, 2011 Comments off

Dr. Sandeep Sibal, country manager and VP - Business Development, Qualcomm India & South Asia.

Dr. Sandeep Sibal, country manager and VP - Business Development, Qualcomm India & South Asia.

Mobile has emerged as the biggest platform in the history of mankind. Today, the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform is much more than a phone, according to Dr. Sandeep Sibal, country manager and VP – Business Development, Qualcomm India & South Asia.

For instance, there are 40 million mobile Internet users in India. There is a strong demand for data from tier 2 and 3 cities. There are said to be 28 million Facebook users, of which, 30 percent are mobile. About 20 photos uploaded every second, and mobile users are 2x times more active.

Qualcomm boasts of an unparallelled system integration, as having the best-in-class assets is now a key advantage. The benefits of integration include lower system costs, less engineering and faster time to market — over 745 devices launched in fiscal 2010, smaller footprint — about 10-20 percent smaller, and power efficiency — up to 35 percent better.

As for the roadmap breadth and execution, already, over a 100+ commercial devices have been announced that use Snapdragon. There are said to be 200+ more in design, and 30 companies with tablet designs are deemed underway. Snapdragon currently powers eight tablet models.

Snapdragon processors — what’s coming!
Snapdragon QSD 8×50 is the world’s first mobile processor at 1GHz. It features the Scorpion Core, Adreno 200 GPU, 3G connectivity and 720p HD video capture and playback. Snapdragon MSM 8×55 is said to be the world’s first mobile single core at 1.4GHz. It features a single Scorpion CPU 1.4GHz, Adreno 205 GPU, 1024×768/720p/Dolby 5.1, stereoscopic 3D capture and playback, app proc only available, and supports a comprehensive range of 3G.

The Snapdragon asynchronous dual and quad core family consists of the Snapdragon MSM 8×60. It features dual Scorpion CPU of 1.5GHz each, asynchronous cores, Adreno 220 GPU, HD 1080p capture and playback, Dolby 5.1, stereoscopic 3D capture and playback, and a comprehensive range of 3G. Read more…

Evolution of wireless market and emerging trends: Qualcomm

May 17, 2011 Comments off

Matt Grob, SVP, corporate R&D, Qualcomm.

Matt Grob, SVP, corporate R&D, Qualcomm.

At the ISA CXO Conclave, Matt Grob, SVP, corporate R&D, Qualcomm, said that the company is a world leader in next-generation mobile technologies. It is celebrating 25 years of driving the evolution of wireless communications. It is making wireless more personal, affordable and accessible to people everywhere. Qualcomm is also the world’s largest fabless semiconductor company, #1 in wireless, and #9 in semiconductors.

Qualcomm’s unique business model is to be a technology enabler for the entire mobile value chain. It has continued strategic R&D investments, totalling more than $15.4 billion in 2010.

Industry trends
The 2G to 3G migration is currently taking place, with over 3.1 billion 3G subscriptions likely in 2015.  As for the emerging region growth, China leads with 640 percent, followed by Latin America at 465 percent and India at 168 percent, respectively.

Qualcomm is also said to be enabling the mobile broadband in India with 3G and LTE. Besides growing the LTE TDD ecosystem in region, it is building partnerships for long-term strategy and establishing 3G/LTE as best technology path for operators. Qualcomm is also driving the device evolution and growing the market by creating more choices for operators and consumers. It is developing low-cost 3G handsets for emerging markets using 1+ GHz mobile processors and supporting multiple popular OS.

The smartphone industry momentum has ensured that the ecosystem is benefitting from and driving growth. There has been as much as >25 percent YoY data revenue growth from leading operators. OEMs have launched 100+ new smartphones in the first half of CY 2010. The total mobile apps downloads from developers is likely to move up from 7 billion in 2009 to 50 billion by 2012.

Renesas Mobile inaugurates R&D centre in Bangalore

May 11, 2011 Comments off

Renesas Mobile Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Renesas Electronics Corp., announced the inauguration of its research and development (R&D) centre in Bangalore, India which develops 2G, 3G and 4G modem technologies.

(L-R): Heikki Tenhunen, senior VP, Alan Frederiksen, MD, Renesas Mobile India,  Shinichi Yoshioka, senior executive VP and COO, and Jean-Marie Rolland, CTO and executive VP, Sales and Marketing.

(L-R): Heikki Tenhunen, senior VP, Alan Frederiksen, MD, Renesas Mobile India, Shinichi Yoshioka, senior executive VP and COO, and Jean-Marie Rolland, CTO and executive VP, Sales and Marketing.

Renesas Mobile was established on December 1, 2010 as a 100 percent subsidiary company of Renesas Electronics. As part of the Renesas group, it has the support of the world’s largest embedded microcontroller player in the semiconductor world. Renesas Mobile focuses on platforms for smart phones, feature phones, car infotainment and embedded connected devices enabling people to stay connected in the cloud computing era.

The company integrates the former Mobile Multimedia Business Unit of Renesas with the former Nokia Wireless Modem Business Unit. The Nokia Wireless Modem Business Unit has been acquired by Renesas Electronics as announced on July 1st, 2010.

Introducing Renesas Mobile Corp., Heikki Tenhunen, senior VP, said that Renesas Mobile offers advanced and innovative products and services for mobile phones, car infotainment solutions, consumer electronics and industrial applications.

The company’s mission is to develop, productize and deliver advanced triple- and dual-mode communication centric semicon chipsets and platforms based on chipsets to provide innovative solutions and drive mew oppurtunities for customers. Renesas Mobile aims to be a world leader in mobile platforms by evolving its proven modem, application processor and SoCs, and associated services via its global business channel.

The Renesas-Nokia combine has since gone on to make unrivalled connected experiences a reality — by way of powerful multi-tasking, rich multimedia, newly emerging technologies — such as cloud computing, 3D, augmented reality, etc., PC like Internet experience, smaller form factor and longer battery life, and remain always connected!

Renesas’ mobile expertise includes the following:
* Excellent device experience, supporting over 400 mobile handsets to date;
* Key components verified at ‘system‘ level quality for platform release;
* Complete reference design easy to start application development;
* Market proven multimedia software package and multiple OpenOS integration support;
* Competitive SoC implementation performance; over 470 mn transistors in mobile LSI (G4);
* Leading-edge process (45nm, 28nm, 22nm) balancing own fab and partners (TSMC, etc.). Read more…

Indian semicon market update shows 28.3 percent growth in 2010!


I am a bit amused to read the latest key findings on the Indian semiconductor market from ISA-Frost & Sullivan. Never mind!

Source: ISA-Frost

Source: ISA-Frost

The report concludes that products demonstrating potential for explosive growth include –mobile devices, telecom base stations, LCD TV, STB, EMS, CFL, LED lights and smart cards and products with low MI – notebooks, tablets, STBs routers, digital cameras, etc. need to be given preferential treatment for indigenous manufacturing.

India is becoming the hub for small car manufacturing. Incentives and encouragement need to be provided for enhancing automotive component manufacturing in the country to keep pace with automobile industry growth.

Products enabling energy efficiency need to be incentivized through tax breaks for R&D and product development thereby promoting indigenous manufacturing. Electronics and semiconductor MI stagnate at 50 percent;  the TAM growth is unlikely to match the TM growth in the near future! Continuing status quo — the electronics import bill to surpass crude import bill by 2020-21.

The need of the hour is a focused mission for local electronics manufacturing promotion. A National Electronics Development Plan is also required. As is required an electronics policy for ecosystem development; subsidies for manufacturing; funds for R&D; extended tax breaks; hardware development parks.

Otherwise, the report suggests that India’s semiconductor market grew by a phenomenal 28.3 percent in 2010.

Indian semiconductor market: Source: ISA-Frost

Indian semicon market: Source: ISA-Frost

The global semiconductor market’s cyclical trends has minimal impact on India. Mobile devices, telecom and IT/ OA contributed 82 percent to semiconductor TM in 2010.

Local manufacturing of telecom equipment by OEMs and EMS companies to propel related semiconductor consumption by a massive 50 percent during 2010 to 2012. Influenced by regulatory norms and sharpening competition, automotive segment to account for the highest growth in semiconductor demand at 31 percent from 2010 to 2012.

Sustained gulf between the semiconductor TM and TAM from 2010-2012 highlight the urgency to promote local manufacturing to drive higher growth in TAM.

The Total Semiconductor Market (TM) revenues are poised to grow from $6.55 billion in 2010to $9.86 billion in 2012. The market is expected to witness a CAGR of 22.7 percent.

During the corresponding period, the Total Semiconductor Available Market (TAM) revenues are expected to grow at a CAGR of 22.3 percent reaching revenues of $4.71 billion in 2012from $3.14 billion in 2010. Mobile devices and telecom are the key contributors to TAM while mobile devices and IT/ OA are the key contributors to TM.

Being an indispensable component in a wide range of products, the memory market leads the contribution to semiconductor revenues with 23.4 percent and 20.1 percent of TM and TAM, respectively.

One hopes that all of this is indeed correct, and the Indian semiconductor industry continues to grow in future!

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