A few months ago, Imagination and TSMC joined forces to announce their ongoing collaboration around production of highly-optimized IP subsystems for multiple markets, including smart sensors, connected audio, video analytics, automotive, mobile and beyond.

At our 2015 Imagination Summit in Taiwan, we were delighted to welcome on stage Dr. Simon Wang, Senior Director of Business Development for the world-renowned Taiwanese foundry. Wang presented an overview of the semiconductor technologies currently available from TSMC for the Internet of Things market and shed more light on the collaboration between the two companies.

Imagination, TSMC IP platforms - SoC IP (7)The range of IP subsystems for IoT

Wang kicked off the keynote presentation with a bold but factual statement: IoT will become the next big phenomenon to drive industry growth and technology advancement. Analysts are still working out the exact numbers, but the latest predictions place total shipments of connected devices at around 50 billion products in 2020; this connected category includes everything from PCs and smartphones to IoT products.

It was the latter category that Wang focused on for most of his talk. Indeed, Wang declared the IoT market to be a perfect storm where the fast-paced innovation in underlying technologies, the emergence of new product categories (wearables, VR, drones, etc.) and the move to new service models are creating a strong ecosystem primed for a new wave of connected devices.

The diagram below presents the major IoT applications and the three levels of computing required to process the enormous sample data that will be churned from these connected devices:

Later on, Wang showcased some of the more tangible effects of innovation in IoT. I was particularly impressed by a slide presenting five metropolitan areas that have embraced the smart city concept, resulting in some impressive achievements in areas like pollution reduction, water recycling and intelligent traffic control.

01 - TSMC - major IoT applications

Defining major IoT applications

The presentation then detailed the ultra-low power technologies available from TSMC at 28nm and above. These process nodes can provide better overall efficiency for IoT applications, whether they are driven by standby power (e.g. smart light bulbs, connected thermostats, fitness bands) or influenced by active energy and high performance (e.g. wearables). For example, recent tapeouts from TSMC customers revealed significant reductions in energy consumption at the 55/40ULP node: active power saw a 30% decrease while standby power was cut by 70%.

02 - TSMC - smart cityThe four metropolitan areas taking the concept of smart cities to the next level

Finally, Wang listed the strategic areas of collaboration between Imagination and TSMC, including ongoing work on optimizing PPA in our processor IP offerings (MIPS, PowerVR, Ensigma) for many of the popular process nodes used today: 28HPM, 16FF+, 16FFC and beyond.

2015 TSMC OIP Forum

In addition to the Imagination Summit, last week marked another important event for Imagination: the 2015 TSMC OIP Forum in Santa Clara. Alan Aronoff, director of strategic business for IMGworks, talked about designing an integrated, wireless 4K video camera SoC IP platform using MIPS, PowerVR and Ensigma. The proceedings also featured a presentation from Colin McKellar, senior director of hardware engineering, titled Optimizing a PowerVR GPU using 16nm FinFET.

Imagination TSMC OIP PowerVR awardMartin Ashton, EVP of the PowerVR Business Unit, receives the TSMC Graphics Partner of the Year Award

Imagination also participated in the ecosystem pavilion, highlighting some of our most eye-catching demos.

Finally, during the awards luncheon, Imagination was presented with the TSMC Graphics Partner of the Year Award!

Final words

Imagination has been working closely with TSMC to optimize our processor IP and subsystems for a wide range of fast-growing markets, including mobile, automotive, networking and IoT. Many of our licensees rely on TSMC to provide leading-edge foundry capabilities and create highly-tuned process nodes for market-specific applications.

We continue to work closely with TSMC to create meaningful solutions for our mutual customers, enabling ecosystem partners to quickly create differentiated, secure and highly integrated products for today and tomorrow.

To find out more about upcoming events, please visit our dedicated page. Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@ImaginationPR@ImaginationTech), LinkedInFacebook and Google+ for the latest news and announcements from our upcoming events.

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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