future of semiconductor
January 28, 2021

The Future of Semiconductors

Design
IP Lifecycle Management

2020 was a year like we have never seen before, but even so we continued to see innovation that will drive the future of semiconductors (and semiconductor design). Fabs are filled and companies are struggling to keep pace with the market needs for new technology. The remote working model of many semiconductor designers leads to new ways of thinking about how to collaborate on design, and will also ultimately lead to cross collaboration amongst companies as well.

In this blog, we explore the future of semiconductors, including trends in the industry overall, as well as the future of semiconductor design.

What’s the Future of the Semiconductor Industry?

The future of the semiconductor industry is in leveraging technology trends like artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT). Those who can leverage AI and IoT to innovate will be successful in the future of the semiconductor industry.

Is the Semiconductor Industry Growing?

The semiconductor industry is growing, especially as semiconductors are increasingly used in vehicles (particularly with the rise of autonomous driving).

AI in particular is expected to contribute to growth in the semiconductor industry. PWC reports that the market for AI-related semiconductors will grow in revenue to more than $30 billion by 2022 at an annual growth rate of nearly 50%.

That said, traditional system on chips (SoCs) remain critical in the semiconductor industry. Memory chips are expected to maintain the largest market share through 2022. And silicon chips will still dominate into the 2040s.

To set your semiconductor business up for success in the future, it will be critical to embrace new technology trends.

Key Trends

Several key trends are shaping the future of semiconductors. These include new technologies and broadened markets, but we are also seeing novel uses of existing technology through 2.5D packaging with chiplets on mature process nodes, for example.

Leveraging New Technologies

Today, there are three key technology trends driving the future of semiconductors:

  • Open source hardware is disrupting the market and changing how companies think about design.
  • IoT increases the demands on cost effective semiconductors.
  • 5G accelerates demand for high-performance computing devices.

Broadening Markets

At the same time, the use of semiconductors has broadened significantly. Today, semiconductors power everything from everyday electronics (such as smartphones) to sensors in self-driving cars — and beyond. In fact, I can now ask my refrigerator to order groceries for me as I run out of milk.

Emergence of New Vertically Integrated Systems Companies

Vertically integrated systems companies will also be pushing the demands of semiconductor designs, as non-traditional semiconductor companies produce their own devices and platforms to support their ecosystems.

Take Apple, for example. In late 2020, they announced M1, the first processor designed for Mac following the growing semiconductor design that they have been doing on their mobile devices. So, why are other systems companies following Apple?

“Apple is designing more of its own chips to gain greater control over the performance of its devices and differentiate them from rivals.” — Bloomberg

By vertically integrating, these companies can benefit from traceability, particularly for platform-based design. If you don’t have a traceable platform, you’re going to run into issues. But if you have an IP management system with traceability — such as Methodics IPLM — you’ll know what you have and where you have it. This helps you accelerate innovation and improve performance.

So, What’s the Future of Semiconductor Design?

The future of semiconductor design is in conquering the complexity of chip design today by understanding all design data and meta data associated with the IP that makes up semiconductors.

As technology, markets, and business strategies shift, it impacts the future of semiconductor design. And in some ways, it renews the challenges facing semiconductor design teams.

Key Challenges to Semiconductor Design

There are several challenges in semiconductor design, but the biggest are time-to-market and cost.

Time-to-Market

Time-to-market is a major concern in semiconductor design.

According to a Kalypso study, nearly half of semiconductors don’t meet time-to-market demands:

  • Only 45% of semiconductor product launches meet their original launch date.
  • More than 60% of all semiconductor designs require at least one re-spin.
  • Only 59% of semiconductor designs make it into production.

Cost

The cost of manufacturing a semiconductor is high. In fact, over 40% of semiconductor development projects exceed the planned budget.

And, when a semiconductor misses time-to-market window, revenue shrinks:

  • 27% reduction when a semiconductor is 3 months late.
  • 47% reduction when a semiconductor is 6 months late.

What Causes These Challenges?

The root causes of semiconductor challenges are many:

  • Enterprise engineering environments are not keeping up with the complexity of designs.
  • Organizations report minimal component reuse.
  • Acquisitions create design silos.
  • Design data sizes are exploding, slowing down performance.
  • Manufacturers lack traceability from requirements to design to verification, triggering re-spins.
  • There’s a lack of communication of requirements change.
  • There’s reuse of an existing IP that misses key requirements of the overall design.

These are significant challenges, but they can be solved by using a traceable platform like Methodics IPLM.

How to Solve Semiconductor Design Challenges With Methodics IPLM

Here’s how you can solve semiconductor design challenges with Methodics IPLM.

1. Enable Full Traceability

Without traceability, you’ll lose track of which IPs are used where.

Using a platform like Methodics IPLM enables you to keep track of what you’ve built, what’s available, and what can be reused. By getting traceability from requirements to design to verification, you can avoid re-spins and improve communication of requirements change.

2. Enable IP Reuse

Because semiconductor designs are so complex, it’s impossible for design teams to stay on top of them. And that leads to missed time-to-market windows.

This can be solved by enabling and encouraging IP reuse.

Methodics IPLM makes it easy to identify and reuse IPs. This means you can design an IP — or a variant — once and then reuse it. This accelerates time-to-market and drastically reduces costs.

3. Maintain a Single Source of Truth

With acquisitions of other companies or expansions of design teams, it’s more critical than ever to maintain a single source of truth.

With Methodics IPLM, you can federate all of your design data and meta data from design silos in your company and improve the communication of that information across design teams.

4. Improve Collaboration, Even When Security of IP Is Needed

Collaboration is becoming ever more critical in the semiconductor space. Design teams are spread around the world. And, in particular, there’s been a rise of China in semiconductor manufacturing.

This adds to the complexity of collaborating on chip design. Because of export laws, you’ll need to have strong IP security.

This means that to collaborate with design teams around the world, teams in China will need to work on designs — without having access to all designs.

By using Methodics IPLM, global design teams can gain collaboration backed with security.

Your Platform for the Future of Semiconductors: Methodics IPLM

Methodics IPLM is your ideal platform to design the future of semiconductors. Whether your organization is a semiconductor manufacturer or you’re an electronics company just getting into chip design, Methodics IPLM is the solution for you.

That’s why Methodics IPLM is trusted by 9 of the 10 top semiconductor companies.

“Methodics IPLM offered a powerful solution by providing use with a collaborative platform to perform IP reuse more efficiently and in a sustainable, scalable way.”

— Rick Stawicki, Executive Director, EDA Engineering, Maxim Integrated

Methodics IPLM is trusted by the top semiconductor companies to accelerate time-to-market and generate revenue faster, while maintaining full traceability and IP security.

Connect with one of our IP experts today to schedule a live demo, get answers to your questions, and gain access to evaluation resources to see how Methodics IPLM can benefit your business.

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