If you look at the semiconductor landscape today, the number of companies that have the ability to design advanced SoCs is shrinking rapidly. Industry consolidation/verticalization and rising manufacturing costs are creating an environment where true differentiation is difficult to achieve using generic solutions.

In addition, integrating high performance CPUs, GPUs, coherent fabrics and other hardware blocks requires deep expertise, increasing design cycles and amplifying associated costs.

Imagination, TSMC IoT subsysems - SoC IP (5)Design costs are increasing exponentially

New or established, every semiconductor vendor needs a new paradigm to solve four critical issues: design time, differentiation, time to revenue and design cost. This is especially true for the IoT market where consumers have high expectations; devices need to be affordable, power efficient and must work out of the box.

To address these issues, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and Imagination have been working closely together for more than two years through a strategic partnership focused on the development of multiple IoT subsystems using MIPS, PowerVR and Ensigma.

Imagination, TSMC IoT subsysems - SoC IP (6)Imagination’s IP portfolio is optimized for TSMC’s advanced process technologies

We believe that releasing one generic solution that is optimized only for a single process node will not satisfy the growing demand for specialized IoT subsystems. Connected devices are currently scaling from smart sensors built around low power processing to compute clusters that analyze gigabytes of raw video data and send information to the cloud.

Therefore, we are creating a complete line-up of IP platforms optimized for multiple TSMC advanced process technologies, from 55nm down to 10nm. Using these IP platforms, semiconductor manufacturers can address the widest range of high-growth markets, from wearables and sensors to mobile, connected cars cloud processing and beyond.

The diagram below provides a high level overview of the architecture of each connected solution:

Imagination, TSMC IoT subsysems - SoC IP (7)Imagination’s IP platforms scale from entry-level sensors to high-end compute nodes

These individually licensable IP blocks form the blueprint for next-generation IoT designs. Our partners can build on these IP platforms according to specific use cases, adding their own IP and know-how to create differentiated solutions.

Imagination, TSMC IoT subsysems - SoC IP (1)Scalable and customizable IP platforms accelerate time to market and build differentiation

Software is equally important, especially for IoT. This is why we’re ensuring that all of our IoT IP subsystems are designed to support FlowCloud, our software framework for connecting devices to the cloud. We’re also members of several IoT-focused foundations such as the AllSeen Alliance and the Thread Group, giving us the ability to work with our customers to facilitate product certification for connected devices leveraging Imagination IP.

Finally and most importantly, the entire range of IP subsystems presented above is designed to be Omnishield-ready, enabling end-to-end, hardware-assisted security. Thanks to the scalability of our IP, we are able to bring future-proof security to every IoT device designed using our hardware, from entry-level devices to compute servers.

Interested in the latest news and updates from Imagination? Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@ImaginationPR, @ImaginationTech), LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+

About the author: Alex Voica

Profile photo of Alex Voica

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.

View all posts by Alex Voica