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IP Vendor Nabs Top Talent from Semiconductor Industry

IP Vendor Nabs Top Talent from Semiconductor Industry
by Tom Simon on 02-07-2016 at 4:00 pm

The growth of mobile and IoT have helped increase the demand for One Time Programmable Non Volatile Memory (OTP NVM) as a solution for on-chip storage. To continue to meet this demand and grow with it, industry leading Sidense has recently brought on board seasoned semiconductor executive Ken Wagner as VP of Engineering. He was most recently at PMC as VP of Engineering for Communications Products. Also there in his role as Distinguished Engineer he led a number of initiatives, including low power and IP.

During his hectic first few weeks at Sidense I was able to speak with him about his background, his thoughts on the markets that Sidense addresses and the future. At PMC he was heavily involved as a consumer of chip level IP. He sees IP as a very interesting segment. It has evolved quite a bit over the years, not unlike EDA or the semiconductor segments. Initially there were many smaller players but IP, like the rest, has seen consolidation that has allowed larger players to emerge. He cites ARM as a good example of this phenomenon. As this has happened IP has become a much larger market.

Ken felt that Sidense has an excellent technology foundation and a strong customer base. This affords good opportunities for new products development. Ken was naturally a bit reluctant to get into specifics about their plans though.

In his opinion their OTP IP is world class and very secure. This is the kind of building block needed for some of the biggest and fastest growing markets, such as automotive, mobile and IoT. Automotive in particular is seeing new standards for security. OTP NVM is extremely useful in helping to fight hacking, a serious concern in the automotive market.

Another characteristic of the automotive market is that it is not always using the most advanced nodes. This is driven by reliability requirements that arise from the harsh environments found in automotive applications. In addition to older larger nodes, Sidense supports an extensive range of process nodes, including the most advanced nodes like FinFET.

We also spoke about potential alternatives to OTP NVM. Sidense provides a solution that offers very high density. Their solution does not require any additional mask layers, unlike NAND flash. So Ken believes OTP NVM will always be the best choice for small byte count storage needs.

Even so, OTP array sizes can be quite large, making it suitable for applications like boot code storage. This offers the highest security for trusted boot. Sidense OTP NVM can even be configured to emulate multiple writes, allowing for in field updates.

Ken pointed out that another critical Sidense competitive advantage is in write speeds. This saves time for configuring finished chips. He also mentioned that in addition to smaller memory arrays, Sidense has the most compact support logic and most flexible internal power supply options, eliminating the need for extra external power pins and additional power-net routing on chip.

In closing our conversation Ken said that he is excited for what lies ahead in his new position. Sidense is growing and there are many opportunities for additional growth ahead. For more information about Sidense’s OTP offering you can visit their website at www.sidense.com.

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