Building IP Vendor Trust


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CAST president Hal Barbour discusses building trust between electronic designers and their semiconductor IP providers at the Constellations Seminar, 3/31/2010, Santa Clara, CA. See www, for info.

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Building IP Vendor Trust

  1. 1. Can You Trust Your IP Vendor? How Not to Lose Sleep Over it Hal Barbour President, CAST, Inc.
  2. 2. IP Horror Stories <ul><li>We all hear about the “bad IP” news </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unfulfilled promises </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Missed deadlines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor quality code & materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lousy support </li></ul></ul><ul><li>IP companies have come and gone </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Amphion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>inSilicon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dozens of smaller companies </li></ul></ul>Constellations Seminar — slide
  3. 3. Trust is a Key Factor <ul><li>Even the best IP will present some technical challenges </li></ul><ul><li>What matters most is if you can trust the provider to help you make it work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>External, commercial IP vendor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In-house, IP & reuse group </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But how do you judge trustworthiness in advance? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A matter of continual style, not a simple check-list </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Every organization has it’s own style, just like an individual’s personality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There are some critical things to look for … </li></ul>Constellations Seminar — slide
  4. 4. First Impressions Matter <ul><li>Do they freely provide important information? Can you: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Download datasheets without registering? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>See sample ASIC & FPGA implementation results (Fmax, resource numbers) without asking? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does their paranoia get in the way? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do they require an NDA for basic technical info? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do they demand an NDA for price info? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do they waste your time? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are you buried in marketing fluff? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will they quickly get you tech docs, design specs, etc.? </li></ul></ul>Constellations Seminar — slide
  5. 5. Can They Run with You? <ul><li>Is the organization geared towards rapid, effective response? </li></ul><ul><li>What is their process for responding to technical questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Do their engineers seem as good as yours? </li></ul><ul><li>How do they deal with time zone differences? </li></ul>Constellations Seminar — slide
  6. 6. Can They Deliver What They Promise? <ul><li>Do they they know how to productize IP for easy reuse? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they have a track record of financial success? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are they profitable? Any short-term investor pressure? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is IP critical to their success (or design services)? </li></ul><ul><li>Will they give you customer references? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t go by published “testimonials” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask for — and talk with — engineers who have already used the IP you want </li></ul></ul>Constellations Seminar — slide
  7. 7. Do They Understand System Integration? <ul><li>Do they help make sure the IP is best for your specific project? </li></ul><ul><li>Most problems with a core are really problems understanding the application and designing the system correctly </li></ul>Constellations Seminar — slide
  8. 8. System Integration Example <ul><li>Challenge: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need means for customers to try complex compression technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enable evaluation with own media, algorithm & core study, system dev head start </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solution: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>H.264/JPEG 2000 Reference Design Platform </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple CAST cores </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FPGA Prototyping Board </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SW GUI for Parameters & Control </li></ul></ul>Constellations Seminar — slide
  9. 9. Licensing & Sales Issues <ul><li>Does the licensing meet your needs? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Straight forward and adequately flexible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Doesn’t bury you in legal minutia </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is the pricing competitive? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A good value for you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A reasonable business model for them (you want the vendor to stay alive) </li></ul></ul>Constellations Seminar — slide
  10. 10. Post-Sales Trust <ul><li>Do you seem to matter as much after the sale as before? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they have highly-commissioned salespeople who are now on to their next deal? </li></ul><ul><li>Is their Support Organization effective? </li></ul><ul><li>Would you buy from them again? </li></ul>Constellations Seminar — slide
  11. 11. CAST Knows About Building Trust <ul><li>Successful IP provider, developer, and partner </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sixteen years experience with IP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Continually profitable, no debt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Privately held, financially stable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unique market approach </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We only do digital IP, designed for reusability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Independent of semiconductor technologies and EDA tools </li></ul></ul>Constellations Seminar — slide
  12. 12. <ul><li>Effective Virtual Organization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Global team of ~100 people: stable, long-term partnerships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>24/7 culture with very fast response </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Always online with Email, IM & Skype </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Original developers available to help with support </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Experience with diverse customers and applications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1,000 sales to over 600 customers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-sales help in selecting the right IP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Post-sales support during system integration </li></ul></ul>CAST Knows About Building Trust Constellations Seminar — slide
  13. 13. Broad IP Product Line Constellations Seminar — slide
  14. 14. CAST IP Highlights <ul><li>8051s — the fastest and smallest available versions, from the largest independent supplier </li></ul><ul><li>H.264 — the highest-quality 1080p Baseline video encoder </li></ul><ul><li>Image Compression — the most choices, JPEG to JPEG 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>PCI Express — easy system integration with application interface </li></ul><ul><li>USB — a complete family of solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Memory Controllers — advanced IP for DDR, NAND Flash, SD, SDR mobile </li></ul><ul><li>System IP Solutions — pre-integrated cores and software for a system design head start </li></ul>Constellations Seminar — slide
  15. 15. Conclusions <ul><li>In judging IP provider trust: </li></ul><ul><li>The quality of the people and character of the company can ultimately be as important as the product </li></ul><ul><li>Choose wisely, and get some sleep! </li></ul>Constellations Seminar — slide