Our EVP of Marketing Tony King-Smith wrote earlier this month about the 2015 Imagination Summit USA taking place in Santa Clara, California. I was among the lucky ones to attend the event; in this article, I will report what I saw and heard from the keynote speakers.

Imagination and the rise of IP platforms

The first presentation came from Imagination CEO Hossein Yassaie who talked about how companies must always plan for the next wave of innovation in order to stay competitive. He identified five important trends that span across many computing markets: computer vision, security, virtual and augmented reality, connectivity and app portability.

We see existing markets growing and changing: mobile phones and tablet computing are achieving maturity; the home is increasingly more connected; enterprise networking has been moving towards ubiquitous connectivity and heterogeneous compute. Meanwhile, new markets are emerging with no established players. We see huge potential for disruption in wearables and IoT. Health, energy, agriculture, transport and retail are segments where Imagination and our customers can play a vital role.

Hossein then highlighted a series of IP platforms from Imagination that enable SoC architects to differentiate, reduce design time and cost, and improve revenue streams.

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In closing, Hossein offered an update of what’s new in our core IP families (MIPS, PowerVR, Ensigma), pointing out that Imagination has the right technologies to address what really matters for our customers and is working closely with them to help them innovate for success.

Social networking

After the first keynote was over, VP of Business Development and Mobile for Facebook John Lagerling took the stage to talk about building sustainable partnerships between the mobile industry and other partners in Silicon Valley. One of the interesting points he made was about how companies should manage ecosystems:

No matter the type of ecosystem you’re involved in, there is a simple rule to follow: don’t act a victim and don’t be a jerk. And when confused about who is right, always put the end user at the center of what you do.

Lagerling also talked about the different ways in which telecom operators, Silicon Valley hardware vendors and software developers approach engineering problems. He concluded that in the new paradigm that is emerging in mobile computing, companies need to forget the old ways of doing business, focus on improving communications and engage in a healthy symbiosis in order to survive.

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The next two cars 99% of us will drive

One of my favorite presentations of the evening came from Curt Moore, GM for Automotive Processors at Texas Instruments. His presentation The next two cars 99% of us will drive had multiple entertaining and content-rich slides about how cars are getting greener, safer and more fun to drive. Over the last 30 years, fuel efficiency has improved by a factor of two while the number of miles driven in the United States has tripled. Moore presented some interesting data from Strategy Analytics on the growth of spending per car over the next five years.

He pointed out that while the automotive industry seems slow to react to change, the long product lifetime of a car is actually generating a stable revenue base for all suppliers.

Challenges and opportunities in the home automation market

Next up we had Omid Tahernia, CEO and president of Ikanos Communications, presenting the challenges and opportunities in the home automation market. After offering a high-level view of the infrastructure needed to enable connectivity inside the home, Tahernia outlined some of the challenges faced by companies involved in this market; among the most important ones included a lack of standardization, scalability and security, the presence of too many hubs and controllers, and the annoyance of using unfriendly control interfaces.

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The presentation ended with a few slides about the innovative technologies that Ikanos is developing in partnership with Imagination and the prpl Foundation to address the requirements of next-generation hardware and software for home automation applications.

LTE and the Internet of Things

The last guest speaker of the morning was Eran Eshed, Co-Founder and VP of Marketing and Business Development for Altair Semiconductor. His presentation shone a new light on LTE, showcasing how this connectivity standard can be cleverly re-used for IoT devices, pointing out that LTE-MTC (machine-type communications) makes LTE viable and attractive for IoT applications.

Altair prides itself in offering IoT-specialized chipsets that deliver 4G performance at 2G prince points. Eran said that IoT creates a massive opportunity for semiconductor vendors; the market is set to explode, seeing about 25 billion connected devices by 2020. One of the main requirements of IoT will be heterogeneous connectivity: while WPAN (Bluetooth, ZigBee, Z-Wave, etc.) works for applications requiring short range connectivity or cable replacement and Wi-Fi (WLAN) is great for the connected home and enterprise environment, LTE is a perfect fit for devices that need long range connectivity (WWAN), ubiquitous coverage and high reliability.

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The last slide was one of the Kodak-ready moments of the evening: Eran announced that Altair’s latest IoT chipsets incorporate MIPS M5150-based hardware virtualization from Imagination. This highly differentiated feature enables complete and robust separation between the guest kernel and root kernel spaces. Imagination’s OmniShield-ready CPU enables Altair’s customers to eliminate potential hacking of their applications and completely firewall the network/modem space from unauthorized access.

Final words

With a stellar line up of speakers, guests seemed to agree with me that this has been one of the best events of the year. It was great to see so many ecosystem partners together in one room, all passionate about their collaborations with Imagination and with each other.

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Many thanks to all of our other guest speakers, including Sundara Mitra, CEO of Netspeed; Glenn Dukes, VP Professional Services and Strategic Alliances at Synopsys; Tom Quan, Deputy Director for TSMC; Jai Suri, Director of Product Management and IoT at Oracle; Michael Minkevich, VP of Technology Services for Luxoft; Kishor Taywade, VP of Product Management at Vadaro; and Art Swift, President of the prpl Foundation.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@ImaginationPR, @ImaginationTech), LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ for the latest news and announcements from our upcoming events.

I’m really looking forward to see what 2016 will bring!

About the author: Alex Voica

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Before deciding to pursue his dream of working in technology marketing, Alexandru held various engineering roles at leading semiconductor companies in Europe. His background also includes research in computer graphics and VR at the School of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna in Pisa. You can follow him on Twitter @alexvoica.

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