Monday, March 22, 2010

Tremendous opportunity for programmable technology in India: Xilinx

It was a pleasure to catch up with Vincent Ratford, senior vice president, worldwide marketing and business development, Xilinx, during his recent trip to India on the occasion of the Xilinx India Alliance Program event.

A lot has changed globally and in the Indian semiconductor industry since our previous interaction over 18 months ago. This discussion will be in two parts. This first part looks at how Xilinx currently estimates the Indian semiconductor industry and the role it has been playing. The second part, which will appear later, will focus on trends in FPGAs, microprocessors, etc., as well as the company's university development program.

On the Indian semiconductor industry
So, how does Xilinx now estimate the Indian semiconductor industry?

Ratford said there is a tremendous opportunity for programmable technology in India, especially with the emergence of rapidly growing new markets in diverse domains such as communications, defence, healthcare, green electronics and computing.

Xilinx has established a strong and growing customer base in diverse markets that include:

* Global electronic systems companies, local OEMs, independent design and captive design centres.
* Primary end markets include wired and wireless communications, A&D, medical, green electronics and computing

India also plays host to a vibrant and rapidly growing semiconductor ecosystem, particularly for Xilinx. The company has established a robust Alliance program with 15 members, focusing on design services, IP development, software development, systems and applications development.

Xilinx has been active in the Indian market for over a decade through sales partners and directly for approximately the last five years.

Ratford said: “We have also established our own R&D centre in Hyderabad, which has doubled its headcount to 260 in just last 12 months or so. We also expanded our facility recently to be able to now accommodate 450 people.

“In order to align with our local and global customers in India, Xilinx is heavily investing in technical support resources to augment the sales teams. We are the only PLD company to have a dedicated 16 member technical support team in Hyderabad adjacent to our R&D talent, which allows them to be very effective.”

On the role that Xilinx sees itself playing in India, he added: “We are rapidly moving to a platform based approach through our Targeted Design Platform Strategy. We are now increasingly being adopted by our customers in the heart of their system design replacing ASIC/ASSPs.

“With the release of our base and domain platforms, we are executing on our strategy and we are pleased with the customer feedback on these platforms. Moving forward, we have planned releases of several market specific platforms. This is where we are engaged with our worldwide ecosystem partners who provide IPs, Reference designs and development boards.”

In the same context, Xilinx India recently held its Alliance Program event in Bangalore where it invited the Alliance Program members in India and updated them on Xilinx's product roadmap, ecosystem strategy and Targeted Design Platform – both from the business and technical perspectives.

“The Indian Alliance program members will increasingly play an important role in executing on our platform strategy both for local as well as global needs. Our role will be to jointly define the platforms and facilitate joint go-to-market plans that will include the right business model to ensure business success for us as well as our ecosystem partners,” he added.

On Xilinx's embedded opportunity in India
In our previous interaction, Ratford had said 'we have just scratched the surface on our embedded opportunity in India." What's the status now?

Ratford said: “There are several customers in India who use our embedded solutions like the PowerPC and Microblaze soft processors embedded in our FPGAs. The usage is obviously growing. Late last year, we announced a development collaboration with ARM, we are collaborating to enable ARM processor and interconnect technology on Xilinx FPGAs. We are adopting ARM IP for our future programmable platforms. In addition we worked with ARM to define the next generation ARM AMBA interconnect technology that is enhanced and optimized for FPGA architectures.”

With the tremendous expertise on embedded software and hardware available in India especially with ARM, Xilinx is quite excited about the future prospects to leverage the Indian design capability as well as the burgeoning embedded design market here.

Part two will appear later this week.

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