The “MIPI Beyond Mobile” paper has been presented during the 52th DAC in San Francisco and I can share the key findings with Semiwiki readers. This paper has been written to synthesize certain results of the “MIPI Ecosystem Survey-2015” and evaluate the impact on the MIPI IP sales in the future. At first the MIPI Ecosystem has really changed between 2012 and 2015. During 2013 and 2014 the number of companies joining the MIPI Alliance in two years has been as high as during the six years before (2007-2012). MIPI technology is becoming very attractive!
Which companies are joining the Alliance? In majority young companies (start-up), most of these targeting non-mobile (phone) applications like IoT and wearable. But we also see new members coming from Asia (China and Taiwan) developing chips for the mobile phone (smartphone) ecosystem. In summary the MIPI Alliance is renewed by emerging: emerging chip makers targeting mature application (assuming we may call smartphone a “mature” product!), and start-up and well-established companies targeting emerging applications.
IPnest has been created in 2008 to analyze the IP market so it’s not a surprise if this paper has been proposed in DAC IP track. The initial assumption was that the MIPI IP market should benefit from these emerging (chip makers and application). What could be the metrics to validate this assertion? The first one is the MIPI IP growth rate in comparison with the other similar IP segments, like USB, PCIe, HDMI, etc. Let’s have a look at the ranking by CAGR for these different segments:
The MIPI IP segment is clearly exhibiting the highest CAGR (47%)… it’s also the youngest IP segment in the list, so we will have to dig more: is this highest growth rate due to the normal penetration of the MIPI technology, or is it the consequence of a real pervasion of MIPI? In other words, is the growth a consequence of MIPI adoption in emerging application or by emerging (Asian) chip makers?
Better to look at the MIPI IP market in detail, with this ranking by IP vendors in 2014:
For those who are familiar with the Interface IP market, no surprise, Synopsys is also dominant in MIPI segment (like in PCIe, USB, DDRn, HDMI, etc.). If we look at Synopsys’s customers and analyze their nature (emerging chip maker?) and the targeted application (smartphone or emerging?), we should get a good indication about the MIPI IP market…
From the company website, we have found these recent success stories:
- Rockchip (China, Mobile)
MIPI IP for Application Processor
- Leadcore (China, Mobile)
MIPI DSI & D-PHY IP for Application Processor
- Movidius (USA, IoT)
MIPI D-PHY IP for Vision Processor Unit (VPU)
- Fujitsu (Japan, ASIC)
MIPI DigRFv4 & M-PHY for 4G chips
The first two companies are emerging Asian application processor chip makers targeting smartphones. Why externally sourcing MIPI IP to a vendor? Time-To-Market (TTM) is certainly a good incentive. As a newcomer (at least compared with Qualcomm and the like), buying MIPI DSI and PHY is not only a good way to accelerate TTM, it’s also a way to avoid re-spin by using a production proven function.
Movidius is also an emerging chip maker developing Vision Processor Unit, but for emerging markets like IoT and wearable. Movidius core competencies are centered on vision processing and selecting MIPI technology is certainly a strategic option, but developing MIPI D-PHY will not bring any differentiation, outsourcing the PHY and concentrate on how to attack emerging markets is the best option. Even Fujitsu, obviously not a newcomer, serving an ASIC market could validate the initial assumption:
MIPI IP segment is growing fast and is expected to grow again in the future, because MIPI technology adoption is going beyond pure mobile (phone) to serve emerging applications like IoT and wearable, or because emerging chip makers (serving the mobile market) tend to source MIPI IP externally for faster TTM and safer development by using Silicon proven IP. Just for your information, the latest forecast from IPnest suggests that MIPI IP segment should weight $90 million by 2020, plus or minus 10% and be in the $80 to $100 million range.