Friends, here’s a review of 2013! There have been the usual hits and misses, globally, while in India, the electronics and semiconductor industries really need to do a lot more! Enjoy, and here’s wishing everyone a Very Happy and Prosperous 2014! Be safe and stay safe!!
Apple’s done it again, wth iPad Air!
Today, the world is transitioning from independent devices to connected systems. Intel has been inside the embedded systems market for over 35 years, having developed 270+ CPUs and SoCs as well as 100+ chipsets.
Herb Hinstorff, director of Marketing, Developer Products Division, Intel Software, said that Intel has been engaged at all levels of the solution stack. He was speaking at the 13th Global Electronics Summit at Santa Cruz, USA.
There are tools to deliver on developer needs, such as debuggers, analyzers, compilers and libraries. There are tools to provide the deep system-level insights into power, reliability and performance.
On the debuggers side, they increase system and device stability and reliability. There is an efficient system, SoC-wide defect analysis and ultra-fast system-wide tracing for software debug. There is an integrated application level debugger. Overall, it speeds system bring-up and development. Analyzers focus on boosting reliability, power efficiency and performance, enabling differentiated designs, system-wide analysis and deep insights.
Compilers go on to optimize performance and efficiency. There is the industry-leading C/C++ compiler. It boosts system and application performance on Intel Atom, Core and Xeon processors. Compilers also take advantage of the multicore to boost performance.
There are libraries for performance and efficiency. Software building blocks increase the developer productivity and boost performance. There are specialized testing functions that handle signal processing, data processing, complex math operations and multimedia processing. Besides, there is future-proof software investments. The libraries provide an easy way to take advantage of the multicore capabilities to boost performance.
The Intel System Studio is an integrated software tool suite that provides deep, system-wide insights to help accelerate time-to-market, strengthen system reliability, and boost power effiency and performance. The JTAG interface has system and application code running Linux.
There is a continued broadening of the OS support, and a broader range of tools to match the expanding SoC capabilities. There is more extensive software based training and simulation, as well as market-specific libraries and APIs.
Given that the market is transitioning from independent devices to connected systems, more capable SoC platforms and complex software stacks require deeper and broader system-level insights and optimizations. Embedded developers can take advantage of the Intel System Studio to accelerate the time-to-market, strengthen system reliability, and boost power efficiency and performance of the Intel architecture-based embedded and mobile systems.
There is a key lesson that Mentor Graphics made while trying to deliver solutions that were right for software and hardware developers. The lesson was: tailor the software to the discipline! Make it as similar to their environment as possible!!
Delivering his speech at the ongoing 13th Global Electronics Summit in Santa Cruz, USA, Dr. Wally Rhines, chairman and CEO, Mentor Graphics, said that 15 years of acquisitions taught Mentor how to think and behave as an embedded software company.
Open systems requires active engagement in software committees. Each open source project has some form of governance to manage contributions, release plans, etc. There is a community peer selection process for each open source project. About 50 Mentor Embedded Sourcerers are actively involved in the open source and Android communities.
There is a need to take the advantage of knowing both worlds. Mentor’s Sourcery CodeBench is an embedded C/C++ development tool based on open-source standards. Sourcery CodeBench is a complete development environment for embedded C/C++ development on ARM, Coldfire, MIPS, Power, X86, and other architectures. You can install, flash and debug in minutes!
Sourcery CodeBench is now the semiconductor industry’s leading embedded toolchain. There is an integrated development environment. It has the GNU compiler (GCC) and optimization tools. It allows debugging and analysis, libraries and QEMU simulator.
There are about ~15,000 downloads per month. There have been ~150,000 downloads and 300 releases per year.
Friends, here is the round-up of 2012, where the best of electronics, semiconductors and solar PV are presented. Best wishes for a very happy and prosperous new year!
Also, a word on the horrendous Delhi rape that has shaken up India. I am ashamed to be a man and a part of India’s society. My family and I are extremely sorry that the brave girl is no more! May her soul rest in peace. May God deliver justice, and quickly!
Opportunities in turbulent PV equipment market
Cadence Allegro 16.6 accelerates timing closure
Apple wins big vs. Samsung in patent war!
Is Europe ready for 450mm fabs?
Xilinx intros Vivado Design Suite
Top 10 semiconductor growth drivers: Intersil
Following my post on the formation of the Embedded Vision Alliance (EVA), I managed to speak with Jeff Bier, president, Berkeley Design Technology (BDTI), who went on to speak more about the Alliance’s capabilities.
First, the mission and vision of the Alliance. Bier said: “The mission of the Embedded Vision Alliance is to transform the electronics industry with products that–through vision technology–are more intelligent and aware of their environments, and create significant new markets for electronic equipment and components. The goal of the Alliance is to speed the adoption of computer vision capabilities in electronic products.
“The strategy of the Alliance is to inspire and empower engineers to incorporate vision capabilities into their products by providing practical information, insights, skills, and standards.”
I asked Jeff Bier whether the Alliance had restricted itself to markets such as automotive driver assistance, home surveillance, and gaming systems? “No,” he said! “We believe that vision technology can add valuable capabilities to electronic products in many markets – as well as enabling the creation of entirely new kinds of products. Automotive driver assistance, surveillance, and gaming systems are examples of vision applications where products already exist at consumer price points – and in some cases these products are already shipping in high volume.
“While we certainly believe that there will be more such products in these markets in the future, we also believe that there will be compelling vision-based products in other markets, ranging from smartphones to consumer electronics to medical devices to digital advertising.”
In that case, what kind of applications can one expect getting covered in retail and entertainment, medical applications, especially. Bier replied, “The Embedded Vision Alliance doesn’t intend to try to pick winners among embedded vision applications – but rather, to enable as many players as possible.” Here are some examples (including some existing products and some that are just ideas):
Retail: Digital signs that measure the success of an advertisement in attracting and retaining a viewer’s attention – and that select among a number of ads depending on the gender and age of the viewer. Vending machines that exclude minors from purchasing prohibited items, such as alcoholic beverages.
Entertainment: There are some awesome possibilities here, such as toys that recognize which child is playing with them and respond based on that child’s preferences. Video games that put the person inside the game, or inside the television program, for example.
Medical: Systems that watch hospital rooms and warn caregivers when they’ve forgotten to wash their hands, to cut down on infections. Machines that recognize medications and help elderly people take the right medication at the right time. Exercise equipment that detect a person’s heart rate and respiration rate without requiring electrodes.
Now, implementing embedded vision is going to pose a challenge! I asked Bier how the Alliance will overcome this. He replied: “We don’t expect to overcome it all by ourselves, but we hope to help, by providing design engineers get the kinds of practical information, insights, and skills required to implement embedded vision—and by providing a centralized place for such resources. This kind of information is difficult to come by today – by far the majority of computer vision information available today is theoretical, academic work.
“The first project of the Alliance is the web site, http://www.embedded-vision.com. The web site will deliver a variety of information including technical articles, product information, discussion forums, and demonstrations. In the near future, we will begin to deliver additional resources, such as newsletter and online seminars.”
Finally, the Alliance needs to create opportunities for technology providers to reach out to embedded vision system designers in the coming months. “Definitely”, said Bier. “The web site is already beginning to provide such opportunities, and we will continue to do so there as well as with other initiatives, such as educational seminars and on-line conferences.”
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!
The 48th Design Automation Conference (DAC) kicks off in about a month’s time in San Diego, California, USA. I have been flooded with invites. There’s also an Embedded Systems Conference starting tomorrow, in San Jose. However, I will give both of the events a miss! Why? Simply because of one fact! The EDA industry has stopped surprising me! And, so has the embedded systems industry!!
I an very well aware of the changing and ‘challenging’ trends in the global semiconductor industry. I should also add that I do have at least some knowledge of the global EDA industry in 2010 and its expectations for 2011.
I am aware of the fact that product lifecycle management involves reducing the time-to-market cycles for new product introduction. Industry folks have, time and again, apprised me of the fact that there is a need to bridge the gap between software and hardware – and growing the IT and VLSI industries.
Cadence, for instance, will share a new technology that addresses some of the toughest challenges detailed in the EDA360 vision at ESC 2011. For how long will the challenges be met? Synopsys seems to be raking in the dollars, year after year. Mentor, despite its ‘current issues’, has been doing fairly well. So, what’s new over here?
In embedded, it is very well known globally, that India is an emerging leader. Otherwise, there is hardly any electronics or semiconductor related manufacturing happening in India, despite the best efforts of the ISA.
So, why isn’t all of this being viewed as industry growth? Maybe, you have all the answers! I will only try to sound more optimistic, without creating additional pain!
Almost all of the new techniques and technologies to be announced at either conference, will or already have made their way to India. Or, the companies using them are not allowed to speak about them, at best!
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Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog was selected as the best in the world in the Electronic Hardware category for 2008-10, by Electronics Weekly, UK.
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