A Review of Adoption Rates and Issues
Go to any of the dozens of conferences dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT), and you’re likely to hear it: “The consumer IoT isn’t gaining adoption at the rate initially hoped.”
That matches with my anecdotal experience – at least amongst my non-tech friends, for whom being the first on the block with some new gadget doesn’t constitute a value proposition. One friend was even annoyed that her boyfriend bought her a Nest: “I just want a stupid thermostat!” But, being anecdotal, my experience doesn’t really tell us anything about what’s going on in the wider context. So I set about to see if there was any data to quantify what’s happening with the Consumer IoT (CIoT).
Food Trucks, Art Shows, and Design Automation
What do algorithmic art, food truck fare, and EDA software have in common? This year's Design Automation Conference! In this week's Fish Fry, we get a special sneak peek into the year's biggest EDA event with DAC Chairman Chuck Alpert. Chucks gives us the lowdown on all of the coolest events at the expo this year (Austin food trucks on the show floor?!), the details of the inaugural DAC art show and super cool keynotes (soccer playing robots?!), and much more. Also this week, we take a closer look at how a unique collaboration between Posterscope and NBS is hoping to stop mosquitoes dead in their tracks - one billboard at a time.
Device Packaging May be Going to the Ball
Two weeks after the three-ring circus that was embedded world (see "Embedded World Diary"), I was at another event: SEMI's ISS Europe. This was on a different scale and had a different topic. SEMI is the trade body for the companies that build the kit and supply the materials that, in turn, are used to make micro- and nano-electronics. ISS Europe (Industry Strategy Symposium) is a two-day event where members of SEMI are briefed on the trends that are going to shape the industry.
Now some of these trends, particularly the big global socio-economic issues, such as the overall economic climate and the important role of China, were discussed in “May You Live in Interesting Times".
Intel’s Had Another Bad Year. How Would You Fix It?
“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” – Yogi Berra
It’s earnings season again, and that means another round of bad financial results and job cuts from the world’s best-known chipmaker, Intel. The company announced last week that it would lay off about 12,000 workers over the course of a year, amounting to a draconian 11% cut in headcount.
Look around your cubicle farm. Now imagine one cube in nine is empty, as if by alien abduction. And you get to pick up the slack.
There’s nothing much we can add to the headlines or the hand-wringing about how the darling of Silicon Valley is now potentially past its prime. The company’s not in a death-spiral. It’s not all that grim, and upper management is saying all the right things about “transformation” and “execution.”
DJI Software Kills Hardware in the Field
As the Internet of Trouble (IoT) continues to evolve, most of us designing electronic systems are working to make our devices “smart.” By adding a microcontroller and some snazzy firmware, we can create products that take care of themselves - monitoring critical operational parameters and taking proactive steps to keep everything in line. One goal is to reduce the burden of responsibility on the user, which is really a release-note euphemism for “prevent the stupid customer from breaking our well-designed hardware.”
We gain a measure of post-release control as well, as we can release firmware updates that alter the behavior of the product in the field, even after the customer has bought it and placed it in service. And, by taking advantage of agile software development practices, our system can continue to improve and evolve long after the initial sale. In fact, customers have come to expect this sort of behavior from products, eagerly awaiting software and firmware updates that will give their product new capabilities and fix existing annoyances.
Yeah, There Are Rules. (And Tools.)
There’s going to be a new kid in town when we get to 5 nm. Her initials are DSA. And she’s not going to be completely transparent to designers, although tools will likely help to minimize the impact.
We’re talking about directed self-assembly (the D, S, and A in DSA). Which we’ve talked about before – it’s been one of our reliable post-SPIE-Advanced-Litho-conference update topics (whether fundamentals, EDA impact, the impact on how masks relate to actual patterns, or just the latest). And it will be an option, as I suggested, at the 5-nm node (with ongoing 7-nm work to bring it up).
At this year’s SPIE Advanced Litho, Imec’s Roel Gronheit made an update presentation and alluded to the notion of “DSA-friendly design.” That caught my attention, and, in a quick conversation afterwards, he directed me to Mentor Graphics’ Andres Torres, who has been heavily involved in much of the leading DSA work. So I was able to sit down with Andres later and discuss just what it means for a design to be DSA-friendly.