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Round-up 2012: Best of electronics, semiconductors and solar

December 31, 2012 2 comments

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!

DECEMBER 2012
Opportunities in turbulent PV equipment market

Global semiconductor industry outlook 2013: Jaswinder Ahuja, Cadence

Next wave of design challenges, and future growth of EDA: Dr. Wally Rhines

Global medical image sensors market to grow 64 percent by 2017

Status of power semiconductor devices industry

NOVEMBER 2012
Global solar PV industry to remain under pressure in 2013!

Dr. Wally Rhines on global semiconductor industry outlook 2013

Focus on monolithic 3D-ICs paradigm shift for semicon industry

Xilinx announces 20nm portfolio strategy

Elliptic intros world’s first commercial touchless gesturing technology!

Global semiconductor industry outlook 2013: Analog Devices

IMEC’s 450mm R&D initiative for nanoelectronics ecosystem

OCTOBER 2012
III-V high mobility semiconductors for advanced CMOS apps

Yet another electronics policy for India?

IEF 2012: Turning recession into opportunity!

Global semicon sales to drop 1.7 percent in 2012?

Virtual prototyping ready for masses

MEMS to be $21 billion market by 2017: Yole

TSMC on 450mm transition: Lithography key!

SEPTEMBER 2012
Cadence Allegro 16.6 accelerates timing closure

Dr. Wally Rhines on global EDA industry

Solarcon India 2012: Solar industry in third wave!

AUGUST 2012
Apple wins big vs. Samsung in patent war!

Can being fabless and M-SIPS take India to top?

JULY 2012
Is Europe ready for 450mm fabs?

APRIL 2012
Xilinx intros Vivado Design Suite

MARCH 2012
Cadence releases latest Encounter RTL-to-GDSII flow

WLCSP market and industrial trends

FEBRUARY 2012
Top 10 semiconductor growth drivers: Intersil

Ingredients for successful fabless Indian semiconductor industry: Dr. Wally Rhines

Tariffs will slow growth in domestic demand for PV systems: The Brattle Group

Wireless leads in global semicon spends!

JANUARY 2012
India to allow imports of low-priced Chinese solar cells? Or, is it beaten?

Please keep reading my blog! ;)


Friends, I am really touched by the love and the concern that all of you have shown! Yes, I am very well aware that my blog has not been updated!! The fact is: one of my former employer has offered me a job!!! 😉

So, what do you say, dear friends? Should I continue blogging? Actually, the new job that I’ve got into does not allow me to post. Thought, I’d mention this right here! 😉 Besides, my job profile covers the entire world, and there are quite a few folks working with me. I need to do some hand holding as well, as there are several newbies in the team. All of that will take away a lot of my time! I also have had to change cities, moving from South to North, and travelling from West to South every morning!

No matter! I shall continue to write on electronics, semiconductors, telecom, solar and components, and the like, in my new role as well. Since it will be for a leading publication of India, I am sure you all can track me down very, very easily! 😉

In the meantime, please do keep reading this blog, my dear friends. Do post your comments, as well, and I shall do my very best to reply.! Take care!! 😉

Semicon industry at inflection point of innovation: Rich Beyer


Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor, at the Freescale Technology Forum 2011, in Bangalore, India.

Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor.

Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor.

Prior to this year’s FTF, Freescale marked another milestone in our company’s history. We have returned to the public trading arena with our IPO on May 26.  We used the proceeds from the IPO to pay down a portion of our debt and reduce our interest expense. This will enable Freescale to continue to grow our investments in products, software, sales and customer support. We are confident, as a result, we will continue to offer you even better world class solutions.

Having publicly traded stock will also give us more flexibility than just available cash to fund potential acquisitions and future innovation investments that will reinforce our competitive differentiation moving forward. And, the IPO is a strong affirmation that Freescale is on a very successful trajectory in the eyes of the investment community! While we have changed to become a publicly traded company, we have not changed our vision or our strategic focus. Our vision remains the same: we are committed to being the leader in embedded processing solutions.

We will continue to build on our market leadership positions by focusing on our core strengths: embedded processors, applications processors, microcontrollers and DSPs; RF, analog and sensors; and the software that delivers a clear competitive advantage to our customers.

Era of connected intelligence
Over the past several years, we have entered the era of connected intelligence where embedded processing is driving the Internet of Things. In the PC era of the past, processing was centralized within a traditional computing environment. Users relied heavily on computing hardware and rigid software to perform desired tasks.

In today’s era of connected intelligence, data is ubiquitous, and we expect our electronic devices to conform to us. We want them to be social and mobile. They are aware of our surroundings, and they understand and adapt to the context in which we are using them. They are always on and they are always with us.

Semiconductor innovation
We are at an inflection point in what is driving semiconductor innovation. In the PC era, the focus was on the sheer performance of the processor. The power consumption implications were handled by a building bigger box, adding a cooling fan or using a larger battery.

In the era of Connected Intelligence, embedded processing performance needs to be balanced with power efficiency, and system capability is enabled by the intelligent integration of sensor, RF and analog interfaces and the usage of efficient, system sparing software.

The insatiable demand for connectivity will continue to push the industry for solutions that deliver more performance, improved efficiency and lower operating costs. Semiconductor innovation now is being driven by embedded processing solutions with a system-level view and developed with an application-level expertise that is critical to efficient and timely implementation. Read more…

Trends in embedded — smart and green energy: ST


Vivek Sharma, STMicroelectronics.

Vivek Sharma, STMicroelectronics.

It is a such a pleasure interacting with Vivek Sharma, VP, Greater China & South Asia-India Operations, and director, India Design Centers, STMicroelectronics. While presenting the latest trends in embedded technologies, he hoped that there could eventually be a fab in India, by 2015. Speaking about ‘More Moore’ and ‘More than Moore’, he talked about 3D heterogeneous integration and smart sensors – that provide new, high-growth opportunities. Sharma largely touched upon smart and green energy.

India’s opportunities to leapfrog are immense, especially with a median age of 25.9 years. As for the Indian consumption context, India’s share is ~3 percent worldwide consumption levels 2009/2010. It is said to be $45 billion or ~3 percent in electronics and $6.7 billion or ~2.5 percent in semiconductor consumption.

Taking a look at leveraging of electronics by nations, (as per 2005 data) Taiwan leads with 15.5 percent of GDP, followed by South Korea at 15.1 percent, China at 12.7 percent, Thailand at 12.4 percent, Germany at 8.3 percent, USA at 5.4 percent, Japan at 4.5 percent, and India at 1.7 percent, respectively.

“More than Moore” diversification has been taking place, especially, by combining SoC and SIP to produce higher value systems.

3D heterogeneous integration has been taking place by integrating multiple functions via 3D/TSV. This involves the vertical stacking and connection of various materials, technologies and functional components together:
* Bio, MEMS and other sensors.
* Digital processing (MCUs, MPUs).
* RF transceivers for data transmission.
* Micro-battery (i.e., thin film).
* Other analog ICs and mixed technologies.

Advantages include integrated multi-functionality, more interconnections, reduced power consumption, smaller packaging, increased yield and reliability, and reduced overall costs.

Smart system integration is another trend, which enables combining “More than Moore” and “More Moore” technologies in a single smart system — from multi-package on board to multi-chip on package.

Bluetooth low energy should contribute to WSN via remote monitoring

November 3, 2010 1 comment

This is the concluding part of my discussion with Mike Foley, executive director, Bluetooth SIG, which looks at how the market for in-home wireless in smart energy will be developing in the years ahead, as well as the scope in wireless sensor networks (WSN).

Focus of Bluetooth Smart Energy Group
First, a bit about the focus of Bluetooth Smart Energy Group and what it has achieved so far.

The Smart Energy Study Group, includes major players like Emerson, and illustrates the Bluetooth SIG’s commitment to this market. The Study Group is working closely with other standards bodies to help define future global standards for smart energy and the products that form that ecosystem.

Foley said: “Within the next few years, your utility will start to replace your existing meters and you will be able to buy household appliances that can connect to your smart meter. The Bluetooth SIG is working with the industry to ensure that such a connection is cost effective, reliable and secure.

“Currently, Bluetooth is used around the world in smart energy applications — from simple energy monitors to complex mesh networks controlling solar arrays. With a ubiquitous presence in mobile phones, it also provides an ecosystem for controlling smart energy devices that users already own. The group has come together to make a strong case for Bluetooth in the smart energy market, and to push for next steps in this growing industry.”

Market for in-home wireless
Given this scenario, it will be interesting to survey how the market for in-home wireless in smart energy will be developing in the years ahead.

According to Foley, remote control and home automation have a bright future in the smart energy space. If Bluetooth is selected for the connectivity link to appliances, the integration of a smart ecosystem throughout the home will be significantly easier and faster. Once home appliances start to connect, they will likely also require their own wireless connections.

Zpryme Research has predicted that by 2015, 19.2 percent of washing machines, 17.4 percent of refrigerators and 17.3 percent of dryers sold in the US will include smart connections. Also, Whirlpool has publicly announced that by 2015, all of its electronically controlled appliances will be capable of receiving and responding to signals from smart grids. Read more…

Bluetooth set as short range wireless standard for smart energy!

November 1, 2010 1 comment

Back in early 2003, I’d done a story with Anders Edlund, marketing director, EMEA of Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). Those were the days when Bluetooth was just overcoming its teething problems. At that time, the SIG had unveiled a ‘five-minute ready’ program created to challenge and guide Bluetooth product developers and manufacturers in the Asia Pacific region to deliver devices that give consumers a “five-minute out-of-the-box experience.”

Mike Foley, executive director, Bluetooth SIG.

Mike Foley, executive director, Bluetooth SIG.

Fast forward to 2010! Nearly a fortnight ago, the Bluetooth SIG announced an enhanced focus on the needs of manufacturers of consumer devices in the smart grid environment. This effort, called Bluetooth Smart Energy, addresses the needs for wireless connections of sensors and actuators in the residence.

It is a great pleasure to hook up again with the Bluetooth SIG after quite a few years. Bluetooth as a technology, and Bluetooth SIG itself, have come a long way, very successfully, as well.

In the first part of a two-part discussion on Bluetooth Smart Energy, Mike Foley, executive director, Bluetooth SIG, discusses the rationale behind the Smart Energy effort, how it will benefit users, and whether it can stand up to possible challenges from other technologies.

May I also take this opportunity to thank Ms Jennifer Lopez, who made this possible, along with Starr Million Baker. Back to the story!

Rationale behind Bluetooth SIG’s Smart Energy effort
First, obviously, why the effort behind the Bluetooth SIG’s smart energy effort and why now!

According to Mike Foley, the smart energy market is a rapidly growing arena and one that the SIG is very interested in expanding its presence.

He said: “As different smart energy projects are planned, developed, and implemented, it is clear that there are different national requirements for each. However, there is an agreement that smart energy within the domestic environment will require the introduction of smart meters – and that is where we come in.

“These meters, which monitor and control our use of electricity, gas, and water, will need to provide real time information to consumers and interact in some form with energy consuming appliances. The interaction will take place with the help of short range wireless connections that are based on an existing standard.

“Bluetooth technology has proven itself to be a universally accepted wireless standard, implemented in a variety of use cases, and is now set to be established as the short range wireless standard for smart energy.”

Challenges from various technologies
Given the case that Bluetooth is positioned to be the short range standard for smart energy, how will it stand up to possible challenges from technologies such as ZigBee, RF4CE, Wi-Fi Direct, ANT, etc?

Foley said: “In my opinion, there is room for different types of technologies in this space. The one thing that has always set Bluetooth technology apart from competitive technologies is its ubiquity. Bluetooth technology is used in a variety of devices and is the go-to wireless standard for mobile phones, which are devices that could play a key role in remote energy monitoring.”

If utilities are going to adopt a short range wireless standard – why not adopt one that already has a presence in a number of key devices that users already own?

Bluetooth is by far the most successful of any of the short range wireless standards. It has been around for just over 10 years (twice as long as ZigBee) and outsells all of the other short range standards put together, with over 1 billion chips shipped every year.

“The very first Bluetooth products can still communicate with new ones that you buy today – something that neither 802.11 nor ZigBee can claim. Equally importantly, over the decade it has been shipping, it has evolved to address all of the key requirements of the smart energy market,” Foley added. Read more…

Enhancing reliability in medium voltage power line communications

October 21, 2010 Comments off

Semitech Semiconductor is said to be solving current problems faced in communications over the power grid with its line of innovative semiconductors designed to address power line noise. Owing to noise and variations in equipment and standards, communications over power grid have been historically difficult. Semitech’s proprietary technology design produces chips that reliably operate in this challenging environment.

Semitech CEO Matt Rhodes recently spoke at the Smart Grid Electronic Forum 2010, in San Jose, California on October 18-20, where he presented on “Enhancing Reliability in Medium Voltage Power Line Communications.”

He  examined smart grid characteristics observed from field trials of medium voltage power-line communications and suggesting solutions that enable reliable communications. He also explored using the OFDMA scheme as a means to enhance communications reliability.

Here’s a snapshot of his presentation, thanks mainly to Kevin Mayberry, Lages & Associates.

Semitech Semiconductor, in conjunction with a Chinese equipment provider, has implemented OFDM to deliver robust, easy to deploy communication over the medium voltage grid.

The SM2200 is Semitech’s high-speed powerline communication solution, a next generation OFDM PLC modem. The SM2200 adds OFDMA to provide most networking flexibility.

The SM2200 implements OFDM technology,  and adds adaptation and multiple access features to provide the most flexibility for the networking application. OFDM and the SM2200 are proven in a broad deployment on the medium voltage grid in the Hebei province of China.

The 2000-node system has been operating reliably for nearly two years. Based on these results, a broad deployment across China’s medium voltage grid is in progress.

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