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How Sidense Sees The Smart Connected Universe

How Sidense Sees The Smart Connected Universe
by Tom Simon on 05-17-2015 at 7:00 am

Sidenserecently conducted a webinar on what they call the Smart Connected Universe. They consider the Smart Connected Universe as something that includes a collection of market segments that are both smart and connected. This casts a big net, and includes what many are calling IoT, but goes further into medical, automotive and industrial. While you can quibble about definitions, any way you look at it this is a huge segment that is growing in size and importance. It also imposes a number of design requirements that are new: low power, secure and often operating in challenging environments.

Regardless of how you choose to define things, based on Sidense’s own summary in the webinar, their business is growing – at a 45% compound annual rate. They have about 65 employees and of those 80% are in engineering roles. They have been around for about 10 years and are finding increasing demand coming from all the segments in their Smart Connected Universe.

They chose a couple of specific products to illustrate the utility of their one time programmable (OTP) non-volatile memory (NVM): mobile phones and the automotive market. Sidense asserts that there are up to 20 instances of OTP in a smart phone these days. OTP NVM is used in power management IC’s (PMICS), sensors and for security and DRM. You can see how heavily each of these items is used in smart phone designs.

PMICS are “make or break” technology for mobile phones. They control the utilization of power for the high power RF circuits like PA’s and also handle battery management, which translates into a critical market success factor. OTP NVM is ideal for this application as calibration and trim values can be programmed into the chip on the tester. The long life and high reliability of OTP NVM will ensure long product life.

Automotive IC content is growing even faster than the tablet or mobile phone market. Power management, reliability and security are also just as, if not more, important here too. Engine compartments and car interiors are subject to temperature extremes – hot and cold. Sidense states that automotive electronics make up more that 30% of the production cost of a car.

There are alternative ways to store non volatile data on/in IC’s, but Sidense’s antifuse technology is easy to use because it works on standard digital and analog processes, without the need for additional processing layers or masks. It is also very secure because there are no physically inspectable characteristics that indicate the value of a bit location. Even read voltage monitoring will not reveal data values.

Error correction is available in their memory macros, as well as few times programmable (FTP) emulation. I won’t go into all the details here. The webinar covered their technology in more detail and talked about availability on various fabs and processes.

OTP NVM is a vital link in the Smart Connected Universe. It is providing security and reliability that we likely take for granted. This is something I only gained a true understanding after learning more about its design characteristics and applications.I encourage you to view a replay of this webinar.

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