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You’ve heard the term “Internet of Things” many times, but you can’t really get a feel for it until you’ve seen IoT devices at work. And the best place to do that this week is at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2015) in Las Vegas, where connected devices from coffee pots to cars are on display. (For more news from CES, see our live blog feed at Cadence.com.)
To the right is an example of an IoT device on display at CES—a weather station for your smartphone from Paris-based Netatmo. It tracks temperature and humidity, has a barometer, and has carbon dioxide and sound meters. Requirements include a Wi-Fi router and Internet access. Here are some other IoT applications at CES that caught my eye in pre-show coverage:
Of course there are many other technologies on display at CES, including 3D printing, self-driving cars and ultra-lightweight laptops. But IoT is a recurring theme both on the show floor and in keynote speeches.
The Internet of Things could be the Next Big Thing for the semiconductor and electronics industries, but this will not come easily. IoT devices may be simple, ordinary things, but they’ll need reliable Internet connectivity. Power consumption must be very limited, especially for anything that’s battery powered. Many IoT devices will require sophisticated wireless sensors. Any device that interacts with the outside world will need some analog/mixed-signal circuitry, and this in turn will lead to a need for digital signal processing.
Oh, yes—these IoT devices must also be cheap, and market windows will be very tight. It all adds up to a daunting set of requirements for the companies that design and manufacture IoT devices.
And that’s where Cadence, which is exhibiting at CES 2015, comes in. Last year Cadence extended its mission to go beyond “traditional” EDA and to encompass System Design Enablement (see blog post here). Instead of focusing just on semiconductors, Cadence is also providing the tools, design and verification IP, services, and software content to enable the creation of complete systems or end products—and some of those products will be IoT devices.
Design IP is a huge part of System Design Enablement because it provides design content that can greatly accelerate product design. At CES 2015, Cadence is focusing heavily on Tensilica DSP IP, and is announcing the Cadence Tensilica HiFi 4 audio/voice DSP IP for SoC designs. Cadence is also running some demos of existing mobile IP system solutions based on Tensilica Xtensa processors. The following demos are taking place in room MP25677 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Clearly, they go well beyond first-generation offerings that consisted of single IP "cores."
Meanwhile, Cadence is using CES as the venue for announcing its fourth-generation Tensilica HiFi DSP architecture (press release here). This HiFi 4 audio/voice DSP core claims to offer the industry’s highest performance licensable DSP core for 32-bit audio/video processing. This IP core enables emerging DSP-intensive object-based audio standards and offers 2X the performance versus the HiFi 3 DSP, making it ideal for performance-hungry applications such as digital TV, set-top box, and automotive infotainment.
Granted, consumer IoT devices will attract more attention at CES and in the press than the under-the-hood DSP IP solutions that Cadence is showing. But it’s solutions like these that will help make IoT possible—and the engineers and executives who will use them are here at CES.
Related Blog Posts (and Press Release)
- Cadence at CES 2014: Live Blog, Tensilica IP Demos, and More
- Cadence at CES 2015: Experience Integr ated Solutions for Mobile
- Cadence Announces Fourth Generation Tensilica HiFi DSP Architecture