Saturday, September 5, 2009

Freescale's Rich Beyer on semicon and industry trends

Here's the synopsis of the keynote address by Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor at FTF India 2009, at the Hotel Leela Palace Bangalore, on September 02, 2009.Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor

This year, we have 64 hours of technical training classes apart from extensive selection of Freescale and third-party demos in our Technology Lab. Since we met last year, the industry has experienced the greatest economic challenges in generations that had an unprecedented global impact, and no region has been immune from its effects.

India, Asia’s third largest economy, seems to have been less affected by the global economic slowdown, primarily because India’s economy is driven largely by domestic demand and is not as dependent on exports. Interest rate cuts and a fiscal stimulus equivalent to 7 percent of India’s GDP helped the economy grow by almost 6 percent in the first quarter of this year, making it the world’s fastest growing economy after China.

From a global perspective, the markets are stabilizing, and we hope that the worst is over. However, in order to compete effectively, businesses will need to become more efficient and more agile, at least for the next few years.

One of the core purposes of this FTF is to demonstrate our efforts and progress in providing you with the best possible solutions to help develop products and systems that enable your companies to win.

On networking
In networking, multicore processors are essential to delivering the industry-leading levels of integration, performance and energy-efficiency required for next-generation communications systems. However, testing and optimizing application software for systems based on embedded multicore processors can be a time-consuming task. To help solve this challenge, Freescale has introduced our VortiQa software, a production-ready, application-level software specifically for our multicore solutions to dramatically reduce the time needed by you, our customers, for your development tasks.

To enable rapid prototyping for our microcontrollers, we have introduced the Freescale Tower System, a modular development platform with reconfigurable hardware that enables developers to mix and match MCU and peripheral boards to save both money and months of development time through rapid prototyping and tool re-use.

Sensor toolbox
To streamline embedded designs with our acceleration, pressure or proximity sensors, Freescale has introduced the Sensor Toolbox. This is a unified set of development software, customizable plug-and-play boards and complimentary sensor algorithms to help you get the most out of your sensor-related designs.

For the past several years, we have concentrated on three major trends that we feel represent the engines of our future growth i.e. Net Effect, Health and Safety and Going Green.

India is the world’s fastest growing mobile market, and 3G high-speed transmissions of voice, video and data is seen as the next growth driver for telecom firms in India. In Health and Safety, Freescale is helping enable monitoring solutions like glucometers and insulin pumps.

Our embedded processing technologies deliver best-in-class performance with low-power consumption and integrated RF connectivity that help diabetes patients avoid acute complications like hypoglycemia and kidney failure. Real-time cardiac monitoring solutions are allowing patients with heart disease to live a life without constant fear.

Our high-performance 32-bit embedded processors, digital signal processors and digital signal controllers help provide accurate and secure portable heart monitoring solutions for those suffering from hypertension, arrhythmias and cardiac failure.

On wellness and fitness, safety
In wellness and fitness applications from pedometers to treadmills and digital bicycles are beginning to incorporate functions like calorie counters and heart rate monitors. Freescale’s microcontroller portfolio delivers one of the best price-performance ratios available for these applications.

Safety is also an extremely important trend in the world today and is the utmost requirement in the automotive market. Safety features introduced years ago like anti-lock braking, air bags and tire pressure monitoring systems are being integrated with completely new capabilities like active safety equipment that can actually help prevent accidents before they happen.

Advanced safety systems like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and radar for object detection will add embedded intelligence to the vehicle for a higher level of safety, efficiency and convenience. We will begin to see vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure wireless communications.

Embedded intelligence in the vehicle will be able to recognize traffic signs –- to maintain the proper speed limit or alert the driver about approaching stop signs. And sensors will be able to detect pedestrians around the vehicle and monitor that the driver is alert and aware.

Going Green!
Our third growth trend is Going Green. Energy is embedded in virtually every aspect of our lives energy efficient devise will make an enormous difference. The prospect of rising oil prices and global warming has intensified the demand for more fuel efficient vehicles while at the same time meeting ever-tightening standards on emissions.

In the consumer market, many countries around the world are instituting new standards to eliminate “vampire electronics”, those devices that consume a huge amount of energy even as they spend time in standby mode. The industrial sector accounts for about 37-percent of the global energy consumption. Through the use of high-efficiency motors, improved process control, automation, information processing, and robotics, we can help save the energy output equal to hundreds of coal-fired power plants.

On Indian industry
So, those are the global trends that we feel will drive our markets today and for the foreseeable future. Now I would like to talk about the growth opportunities we see here in India and provide some insights into what Freescale is doing to address these.

Automotive industry
Let’s start with the automotive industry.

India’s automotive industry has reached a pivotal moment. The rise of ultra-low cost four-wheel vehicles is expected to grow the domestic market by more than one million units by 2013.

By 2012, India is expected to account for 20 percent of the increase in global car sales, surpassing the markets in Italy and Spain. At that point, India could become the leader in small-car growth. For India to become a major player in the global automotive market, a key challenge will be to engineer cars that meet stringent international emissions and safety standards.

Freescale is uniquely positioned and strongly committed to helping develop the capabilities of the India automotive industry. We have partnered with the industry’s leading manufacturers and suppliers to help drive standards for component software and interconnectivity.

As emerging automotive markets like India continue to gain momentum, vehicles will need cost-optimized solutions that incorporate more advanced chassis and safety systems, like airbags, tire pressure monitoring systems, and electronic stability control. Freescale offers a full range of system solutions that can scale to higher performance as needed.

India’s networking infrastructure
Next, I want to talk about the growth of India’s networking infrastructure. Over the last few years, India’s telecommunications landscape has seen rapid growth. The 3G wireless spectrum will allow the transmission of voice, data and video at high speeds to mobile devices. Freescale is playing a key role in delivering the performance improvements and the cost reductions required to bring these next-generation networks to life.

We are the global leader in embedded communications processors. The ever-increasing amounts of digital data are continuing to push the need for high-speed data processing. And along with this need for speed are the increasing expectations of reliability, security and the overall quality of service.

As an industry, we have been talking about 3G technology, but 3G is just now coming into widespread adoption, and with the latest innovations in Long-Term-Evolution, or LTE, we are seeing even more broadband capability becoming available.

Freescale has played a leadership role in this infrastructure growth with our RF, communications processor and DSP technology.

Our QorIQ multicore communications platforms are providing new levels of performance and low-power consumption. These products are all based on our e500 Power Architecture cores and are designed for 45-nanometer technology.

Earlier this year, we began sampling our first dual-core QorIQ communications processor. Given the positive feedback, we are accelerating the introduction of our eight-core QorIQ processor. This device is being combined with our new six-core DSP to provide a comprehensive solution for wireless infrastructure equipment for advanced 3G and 4G systems.

Together our Starcore DSPs and QorIQ-based microprocessors in 45 nanometer technology can help reduce the bill-of-material costs in a 10 MHz LTE base station by as much as 60 percent, while simultaneously reducing power consumption by 50 percent.

On energy
More than a century after the invention of the light bulb, today’s energy grid is little different from the one envisioned by Thomas Edison 127 years ago. The smart grid will play a critical role in the development of India’s economy in the future.

India is home to more than one-point-one billion people, making it the world’s second largest population. And by 2025, India’s urban population is expected to increase by 50 percent.

The Indian government is investing heavily in new power plants, and this includes renewable sources such as wind and solar energy. However to take advantage of these new sources, there will need to be a new delivery system, or smart grid, that can handle a generation mix with a high percentage of renewable energy sources.

Smart electric meters will be one of the first steps toward establishing two-way communication between the home and the utility companies. Freescale is an industry leader in smart meter technology. We offer low-power and low-cost solutions for single-phase and three-phase meter measurement.

Our product portfolio includes microcontrollers with LCD drivers, and digital signal controllers for power modem functions, integrated ZigBee solutions for wireless communication, and accelerometers for antitamper security.

Once smart meters are deployed, building automation networks will help create an energy gateway to connect to home thermostats, smart appliances and other energy-intensive devices. Countries around the world are beginning to implement smart grid technologies to increase energy efficiency and incorporate renewable energy sources that will reduce our global carbon footprint.

New category of handheld devices
There is a new category of handheld devices that deliver connectivity and convenience for an integrated multimedia experience. These include e-book digital readers that are transforming paper-bound media into connected infotainment devices, and they include the new smartbook Internet devices that are filling the gap between traditional notebook computing and smartphone communications.

These devices are driven by the common market characteristics of affordability, portability, Internet connectivity and all-day battery life. Freescale is delivering a common solution based on our i.MX multimedia application processors.

I am excited about the opportunities for growth in India, and I am constantly impressed by the innovation and ingenuity demonstrated by India’s talented engineers.

We are grateful to have the opportunity to share our product directions and tell you about the new and innovative solutions that we are bringing to the marketplace.

Let’s go make the world a smarter place.

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