Keeping the costs of SoC design under control

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James O'Riordan, CTO, S3, spoke at a panel session on the IEEE International SoC Conference in September 2009.

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Keeping the costs of SoC design under control

  1. 1. Containing complexity: Keeping the costs of SoC James O’Riordan CTO design under control IEEE SOCC 2009, Belfast, 10th Sept Copyright © 2007-2009 Silicon & Software Systems Limited
  2. 2. Don’t Build a Standing Army • ‘Provisioning an organisation for the peak load it must sustain, at the peak of a SoC development (perhaps a few months), leads to under-utilisation at other times.’ • The Standing Army - Worryingly common! • This is a high fixed cost • It potentially remains indefinitely Source: Flickr -Roseinbal • It is more than just salaries, it is EDA tools, computers … • When you don’t need it, it is a waste of money • Money that would be better spent on something else • But it is worse than that … Copyright © 2007-2009 Silicon & Software Systems Limited Slide 2
  3. 3. You need different skills at different stages • When you start you need to get a good product definition • You then need to design and implement this product that the market wants • You then need to sell the product Product Marketing Development Sales Copyright © 2007-2009 Silicon & Software Systems Limited Slide 3
  4. 4. License in IP • Avoid the “not invented here” syndrome “Not Invented Here (NIH) is a term used to describe persistent social, corporate or institutional culture that avoids using or buying already existing products, research or knowledge because of its different origins.” - Wikipedia • License in the Intellectual Property you need – Less risky • Experts who focus sole on it designed it • It is used in many different ICs – Lower cost • The supplier can recover his development costs over more than just one customer / product Copyright © 2007-2009 Silicon & Software Systems Limited Slide 4
  5. 5. License in ‘Off-the-shelf’ IP • ‘Bespoke’ IP is costly for a supplier to supply • Supplier has more business model flexibility when supplying ‘off-the-shelf’ - has to recover some of their R&D cost over each license sale -more open to royalty rather than up-front cost - For a VC funded fabless company up-front IP cost may not be an efficient use of capital - IP costs funded from the success of the product is less costly Copyright © 2007-2009 Silicon & Software Systems Limited Slide 5
  6. 6. Suggestions: Innovate to solve real problems • In terms of market needs, solving problems that exist today, rather than one that may exist tomorrow, bring more certainty to the value • Innovation should be focused on: – understanding the market, – identifying a real problem – applying the right technical solution Source: mostlymath.com Copyright © 2007-2009 Silicon & Software Systems Limited Slide 6
  7. 7. Questions? Copyright © 2007-2009 Silicon & Software Systems Limited

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