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IEF 2013: New markets and opportunities in sub-20nm era!

October 15, 2013 1 comment

Future Horizons hosted the 22nd Annual International Electronics Forum, in association with IDA Ireland, on Oct. 2-4, 2013, at Dublin, Blanchardstown, Ireland. The forum was titled ‘New Markets and Opportunities in the Sub-20nm Era: Business as Usual OR It’s Different This Time.” Here are excerpts from some of the sessions. Those desirous of finding out much more should contact Malcolm Penn, CEO, Future Horizons.

Liam BritnellLiam Britnell, European manager and Research Scientist, Bluestone Global Tech (BGT) Materials spoke on Beyond Graphene: Heterostructures and Other Two-Dimensional Materials.

The global interest in graphene research has facilitated our understanding of this rather unique material. However, the transition from the laboratory to factory has hit some challenging obstacles. In this talk I will review the current state of graphene research, focusing on the techniques which allow large scale production.

I will then discuss various aspects of our research which is based on more complex structures beyond graphene. Firstly, hexagonal boron nitride can be used as a thin dielectric material where electrons can tunnel through. Secondly, graphene-boron nitride stacks can be used as tunnelling transistor devices with promising characteristics. The same devices show interesting physics, for example, negative differential conductivity can be found at higher biases. Finally, graphene stacked with thin semiconducting layers which show promising results in photodetection.

I will conclude by speculating the fields where graphene may realistically find applications and discuss the role of the National Graphene Institute in commercializing graphene.

Jean-Rene Lequepeys, VP Silicon Components, CEA-Leti, spoke on  Advanced Semiconductor Technologies Enabling High-Performance Jean-Rene Lequepeysand Energy Efficient Computing.

The key challenge for future high-end computing chips is energy efficiency in addition to traditional challenges such as yield/cost, static power, data transfer. In 2020, in order to maintain at an acceptable level the overall power consumption of all the computing systems, a gain in term of power efficiency of 1000 will be required.

To reach this objective, we need to work not only at process and technology level, but to propose disruptive multi-processor SoC architecture and to make some major evolutions on software and on the development of
applications. Some key semiconductor technologies will definitely play a key role such as: low power CMOS technologies, 3D stacking, silicon photonics and embedded non-volatile memory.

To reach this goal, the involvement of semiconductor industries will be necessary and a new ecosystem has to be put in place for establishing stronger partnerships between the semiconductor industry (IDM, foundry), IP provider, EDA provider, design house, systems and software industries.

Andile NgcabaAndile Ngcaba, CEO, Convergence Partners, spoke on Semiconductor’s Power and Africa – An African Perspective.

This presentation looks at the development of the semiconductor and electronics industries from an African perspective, both globally and in Africa. Understanding the challenges that are associated with the wide scale adoption of new electronics in the African continent.

Electronics have taken over the world, and it is unthinkable in today’s modern life to operate without utilising some form of electronics on a daily basis. Similarly, in Africa the development and adoption of electronics and utilisation of semiconductors have grown exponentially. This growth on the African continent was due to the rapid uptake of mobile communications. However, this has placed in stark relief the challenges facing increased adoption of electronics in Africa, namely power consumption.

This background is central to the thesis that the industry needs to look at addressing the twin challenges of low powered and low cost devices. In Africa there are limits to the ability to frequently and consistently charge or keep electronics connected to a reliable electricity grid. Therefore, the current advances in electronics has resulted in the power industry being the biggest beneficiary of the growth in the adoption of electronics.

What needs to be done is for the industry to support and foster research on this subject in Africa, working as a global community. The challenge is creating electronics that meet these cost and power challenges. Importantly, the solution needs to be driven by the semiconductor industry not the power industry. Focus is to be placed on operating in an off-grid environment and building sustainable solutions to the continued challenge of the absence of reliable and available power.

It is my contention that Africa, as it has done with the mobile communications industry and adoption of LED lighting, will leapfrog in terms of developing and adopting low powered and cost effective electronics.

Jo De Boeck, senior VP and CTO, IMEC, discussed Game-Changing Technology Roadmaps For Lifescience. Jo De Boeck

Personalized, preventive, predictive and participatory healthcare is on the horizon. Many nano-electronics research groups have entered the quest for more efficient health care in their mission statement. Electronic systems are proposed to assist in ambulatory monitoring of socalled ‘markers’ for wellness and health.

New life science tools deliver the prospect of personal diagnostics and therapy in e.g., the cardiac, neurological and oncology field. Early diagnose, detailed and fast screening technology and companioning devices to deliver the evidence of therapy effectiveness could indeed stir a – desperately needed – healthcare revolution. This talk addresses the exciting trends in ‘PPPP’ health care and relates them to an innovation roadmap in process technology, electronic circuits and system concepts.
Read more…

M/H can truly deliver ‘real TV’ experience!

November 24, 2011 Comments off

Ronen Jashek, co-founder and VP Marketing, Siano Mobile Silicon.

Ronen Jashek, co-founder and VP Marketing, Siano Mobile Silicon.

Siano Mobile Silicon, based in Israel, is going strong in mobile digital TV space. Thanks to Rachel Glaser, of Ruderfinn, Israel, I managed an exclusive with Ronen Jashek, co-founder and VP Marketing, Siano Mobile Silicon.

First,  let’s understand what the US standard for mobile digital TV — ATSC-M/H (Advanced Television Systems Committee – Mobile/Handheld)— all about! Jashek said: “ATSC-M/H is a standard that was established on the foundation of ATSC, a digital technology that replaced Analog TV in the US back in 2009. ATSC is the US equivalent to other international standards, like DVB-T (Europe), ISDB-T Full-Seg (Japan), and others around the world.

“ATSC is targeted (and consequently, was designed to do just that) to deliver HD content to domestic, stationary applications (i.e., big-screen TVs at home) that primarily use fixed antennae. It therefore does not address issues that are related to mobile use-cases – mobility (being able to receive the signal while moving at high speeds), efficient power consumption (to address the mobile, battery-powered devices) and extremely high sensitivity and immunity to interface (which is required in a typical mobile use-case when “on the go”).  As a result, these aspects are exactly what M/H (Mobile/Handheld) is addressing. In a word, M/H can be considered the equivalent of DVB-H (again – in Europe), CMMB (in China) and ISDB-T 1-Seg (Japan and LatAm).

“ATSC-M/H was established by the ATSC standardization body, as a joint effort by its members, after realizing the need to secure a technology that would enable true mobile TV service to take off and flourish in the U.S. The various ATSC committees worked on the standard for several years, up until its final version was formally approved in the fall of 2010, paving the way to the deployment and launch of the M/H TV service.”

Given the considerable interest around mobile handheld TV, how significant is the mobile-ready programing? Jashek replied: “Based on the underlying M/H technology, US broadcasters now have the means to get their content out there – direct to consumers. Currently, there are about 60 cities with a total of close to 80 TV stations that are already airing mobile TV content.

“To date, however, most of this content is local – meaning, it’s produced and aired locally. But this is not nearly enough to generate a successful, enticing mobile TV market. Enter the Mobile Content Venture, the MCV – a coalition of the top US broadcasters (FOX, NBC, ION, and others) that set its mission on delivering the mobile TV service built on the broadcast technology and spectrum.

“Naturally, the content that can be delivered by this coalition is the best available premium content in the US Quoting their official plans – “At launch, the service will initially consist of at least two ad-supported, free-to-consumer channels in each DMA. Additional channels and markets are expected to be added.” There’s no doubt that once the MCV plans are in motion and materialize, the content will be extremely attractive to render the service successful.” Read more…

Will you remain mobile (on phone) all the time?

June 25, 2011 Comments off

Perhaps, most of you will! I won’t!! And I stand by it!

This evening, by chance, I had a very interesting conversation. It centred round the mobile phone. Especially, the features. Well, at the end of the conversation, it led to me remarking the statement that forms the caption of this story.

First, let me make it clear that I started off my career in telecoms, at the time when there was neither any Internet nor mobile phones. My first look at a mobile phone was way back in 1992, the same year I first saw the Internet — in its early avataar!

However, nothing, till today, has made me give up my liking for acquaintances and good conversation. If I am correct, the way mobile phones are now targeted and advertised, it seems you should remain mobile all the time! And now, with the social networks booming, the mobile phones have become a great way to stay connected via such networks.

I don’t really know about you and the young generation of  today, but I am sure — I can live without being bothered (or bombarded) with phone calls and messages of all kinds. Nor do I really think that highly of social networks. Trust me: I started Twitter only middle of last year — after already winning two world titles. Even Facebook, I joined only at a friend’s insistence. Till today, I only use that to wish friends on their birthdays.

So, let’s get back to mobile phones. Will you remain mobile all the time? To do what? Work? Play? Chat? What’s being forgotten here is: all of these activities are done on your mobile phone — which is meant for you to communicate.

Sometimes, I am puzzled, when folks show me their latest phones that have over 100 applications. When I ask how many they use, their answer (combined) veers toward some five or six good ones. And also, those applications are in permanent use — like some mail or chat function, or some social network. Has anyone even given a thought to any other areas besides these?

I have even seen some executives carry presentations on their mobiles. Please carry on doing so — it’s worth the task.

INSIDE Contactless unveils SecuRead NFC solution for mobile handset market

November 30, 2010 1 comment

INSIDE Contactless' SecuRead NFC solution for mobile handsets.

INSIDE Contactless' SecuRead NFC solution for mobile handsets.

INSIDE Contactless has unveiled SecuRead, a breakthrough NFC solution for the mobile handset market. This chip will be integrated into production handsets by mid-2011.

SecuRead is a complete, system-in-package (SIP) NFC solution that makes it simple for mobile device manufacturers and NFC infrastructure providers to integrate all of the contactless, security and application functions required for a broad range of contactless NFC payment, transit, ID and access control applications.

According to the company, SecuRead features INSIDE’s award-winning MicroRead NFC controller, a high-performance, highly secure SLE 97-family secure element from Infineon, a GlobalPlatform-compliant Java Card OS from Giesecke & Devrient and INSIDE’s Open NFC protocol stack to provide a best-of-breed solution that helps mobile device manufacturers bring rich NFC capabilities to market more quickly.

Loic Hamon, VP of products and marketing for NFC at INSIDE Contactless, said that 2011 will be the inflection point for NFC with over 50Mu devices. There are multiple committed handset ecosystems. Also, there are wireless carrier commitments, consortia, initiatives, etc. Android is now a major market driver – outselling the iPhone.

As for the regional situation, the US is witnessing mobile payment (embedded secure element). Korea is seeing a replacement of T-money (transport, payment, loyalty), UICC based. In Nice, France, there will be multi-carrier, multi-service, UICC-based, national rollout in 2011.

Ecosystem alignments are needed, and business models have to be proven. Also, NFC peripherals will contribute to market acceleration.

Turnaround finally in global mobile phone market?

October 31, 2009 1 comment

Late this week, there were three reports on the global mobile phone market!

First, IDC, which says that the mobile phone market had turned a corner in Q3, and more gains are likely in Q4-2009.

Then, ABI Research pointed out that the outlook for mobile phones continue to improve — with 291.1 million mobile handsets shipped in Q3-2009 — a contraction of 6.5 percent.

Finally, Strategy Analytics also reported that global mobile handset shipments fell 4 percent year-over-year, to reach 291 million units in Q3 2009.

One other interesting aspect — while the top five vendors — Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and Motorola — either held on or lost a small amount of their market share, Apple has increased its share to 2.5 percent — a figure common with both ABI Research and Strategy Analytics.

Well, all of this can only be good news for the global technology industry as well as the global mobile phone market — both of whom have had to face the wrath of probably the longest ever recession! Perhaps, it is also a good news for the mobile phone semiconductor market as well!

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