IP Subsystems: The Next IP Market Paradigm

The third-party semiconductor intellectual property (SIP) market has seen great innovation in the products it offers to system-on-a-chip (SoC) designers over the last 10 years. If any market segment in the semiconductor industry typifies the intense evolutionary pressures the entire electronics market has undergone, it is the third-party SIP market.

Most of these evolutionary forces are driven by the need to integrate more functionality in fewer devices at the system level and in ever-smaller footprints. One method to accomplish this is through the use of third-party SIP. However, as design costs and time-to-market pressures mount on SoC designers, it is becoming more and more difficult for these designers to craft their silicon solutions in a timely and cost effective manner.

Enter the IP subsystem, organized by system-level functionality and around its own internal interconnects, as one contiguous block accompanied by its own test-bench of verification IP and small to large amounts of applications software.

The IP subsystem is the method SoC designers will employ to infuse the right level of complexity and functionality into their silicon solutions to meet quickly changing market requirements without experiencing a corresponding increase in design costs or design cycle time. Larger parts of the design can be dealt with at one time, opening the door for the applications software to be written in parallel for each subsystem used in the design.

Large OEMs and IDMs (integrated device manufacturers) have been creating such subsystems out of the IP blocks they have either licensed from third-party providers or created themselves internally for the last several years. These companies have used this concept as a method to competitively differentiate themselves from the competition and to make the SoC design process more manageable. Now, for the first time, third-party SIP vendors are about to enter the market with commercially viable products that can replace the internally generated efforts of the large IDMs and OEMs.

Some companies understand the implications and are already taking advantage of these new options. Others are still trying to figure out what it means. Which one are you?

I have just completed a new report for {complink 7526|Semico Research Corp.} titled “IP Subsystems: The Next IP Market Paradigm,” in which I detail all the forces and trends mentioned above along with forecasts for the seven IP subsystem types we see comprising this market today. Click here for details.

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