LETI Day 2016 : Security in Lyon, Sensor at Semicon West on July 12th

LETI Day 2016 : Security in Lyon, Sensor at Semicon West on July 12th
by Eric Esteve on 07-03-2016 at 8:00 pm

It was the very first time I attended the LETI days, even if I know the research center for many years. LETI was created in the 60’s, as the subsidiary of the CEA (France agency in charge of Atomic Energy) in charge of Microelectronic. Now, for more than 50 years, 2000 research engineers are working to develop technologies, systems or specific IC and license it to company ranging from a small European industry to semiconductor giant like Intel. If you are a loyal Semiwiki reader, you certainly remember the numerous articles written about FD-SOI. We have mentioned STMicroelectronic great achievement, licensing FD-SOI to Samsung, but we should have said that the technology was initially licensed to STM by… LETI!


Being asked by LETI to help them prepare the LETI Day 2016 (23[SUP]rd[/SUP] June in Lyon) by creating dialogues between the presentations, I had the opportunity to look at the presentations in advance, interview the peoples from LETI and also attend to the conference. This year, the focus was “security” and we had people from many different industries from avionic (Dassault Aviation) to mining (Davey Bickford), smart card secure IC (Oberthur Technologies) or systems (Safran Identity and Security) to IoT platform (Intel) and FD-SOI manufacturer (GlobalFoundries) but also biotech start-up or hearth prosthesis manufacturer (Carmat). I will share a few of the much information I have learned during this conference.

When talking about security, you probably first think about algorithm, but LETI has also built and license complete wireless system, including specific protocol, with some of the partners, for example in the mining industry to replace wires used to connect as much as 4,000 detonators in mining industry. LETI’ vision about security is that it will be the enabler of the multiple innovations to be developed to create the IoT market. I share this vision at 100%: nobody will buy and use a system which has been identified to create threat in his life…

Let’s take Carmat example. This company has developed hearth prosthesis and started to implement it into patient body. Can you imagine that the wireless system used to monitor this heart could be hacked?

We had a very interesting panel involving several biotech actors, start-up or mature companies:

  • Alain Grimme, CARMAT CTO
  • Sylvain Rousson, DIABELOOP CTO
  • Ali Agah, Associate Director with ILLUMINA
  • F. Sauter from CLINATEC
  • P. Caillat, Strategic Marketing LETI, in charge of Medical Services
  • And Alain Merle, Security guru at LETI

There was no real debate, as all of them agreed about the need for secure wireless transmission of data, but the reason why their system need security were different: from life critical with Carmat and Diabeloop, to confidentiality of DNA data for Illumina. I recommend the presentation from Carmat, illustrated by animated slides showing heart movements!

In fact, Alain Merle from LETI has made a summary about security needs: we should think in term of security levels, implying that different applications may need for a different level of security (due to the cost of security). He has also noticed that the industry should quickly define standards for security, allowing assessing and validating the level of security. In fact, it seems that LETI has started to work on the standard topic, which is good because the research center is an independent entity… and users don’t want security to be captured by a unique company (think about HDMI protocol standard, for example, captured by Silicon Image…).

I am frequently attending to conferences since 1986, I must confess that my attention was completely kept by the presentation, which is not always the case… Probably because when innovation is the DNA, when the commercial part of the presentation is present, but low enough, you enjoy listening and learning.

Did I mention that Intel was present (Sameer Sharma, GM IoT New Market and Business Development) and Sameer shared Intel’ vision about IoT? This was probably linked with Intel licensing deal with LETI, not about FD-SOI but High Processing Device (HPC)… GlobalFoundries presentation about FD-SOI technology was very interesting to better understand how GloFo is marketing the 22FDX technology, addressing IoT platform (and not edge devices) market.

The LETI Day was in Europe a couple of weeks ago, but you can meet with LETI top management (CEO Marie N. Semaria, VP Sales & Marketing Jean-Eric Michallet) and MEMS and sensor experts next week in the Silicon Valley during Semicon West.

You can download the workshop agenda, to be held during Semicon West, by going here

Event Information: July 12, 2016 – 5-9 p.m. / W Hotel – 181 3rd St., San Francisco
Focus: “LETI complete portfolio of sensor technologies for automotive, advanced manufacturing, security, bio & health and smart buildings.”
Attend to stimulating discussion around LETI vision for sensors. LETI experts will present their latest achievements and technology roadmap for sensing.

From Eric Esteve from IPNEST