MIPI Alliance: Developing the world’s most comprehensive set of interface specifications for mobile and mobile-influenced products.
MIPI (for Mobile Industry Processor Interface) is a non-profit corporation governed by a board of directors. The Officers of MIPI Alliance include the chairman, vice chairman, secretary, and treasurer. The board manages the general affairs of the organization, acting in the interest of its members in the development of specifications which advance interface technology for mobile devices. The board receives technical direction from a technical steering group.
The board approves and directs working groups to evaluate or develop specifications to meet a specific interface requirement.
The marketing working group is responsible for developing and executing activities that promote the MIPI specifications.
Birds of a feather (BIF) and investigation groups may be formed by the board to evaluate and consider new technology or market trends which could benefit from the development of an interface specification
MIPI Alliance is a collaborative global organization serving industries that develop mobile and mobile-influenced devices. The focus of the organization is to design and promote hardware and software interfaces that simplify the integration of components built into a device, from the antenna and modem to peripherals and the application processor. MIPI Alliance crafts all of its specifications to meet the stringent operating conditions required in mobile devices: high-bandwidth performance, low power consumption, and low electromagnetic interference (EMI).
MIPI Alliance specifications, used by all leading chipset vendors, have helped companies in the mobile industry consolidate their integration approaches while creating their own high-level designs that differentiate their products. Every smartphone on the market today has at least one MIPI Alliance specification. The widespread adoption places MIPI Alliance specifications in hundreds of millions of phones, contributing to the voice and data services that customers worldwide enjoy every day.
As mobile connectivity becomes increasingly pervasive in business and society, more industries are leveraging mobile technologies in their designs. These “mobile-influenced” sectors, such as the automotive industry and the burgeoning Internet of Things, are also benefitting from the interface specifications MIPI Alliance provides. MIPI Alliance continues to evolve its technology roadmap to address mobile influenced markets and help drive growth in these exciting, new ecosystems.
Vision and Mission Statement
The vision of MIPI Alliance is to develop the world’s most comprehensive set of interface specifications for mobile and mobile-influenced devices. The mission of MIPI Alliance is to provide the hardware and software interface specifications device vendors need to create state-of-the-art, innovative mobile-connected devices while accelerating time-to-market and reducing costs. The organization actively promotes and encourages the adoption of its specifications throughout mobile and mobile-influenced markets.
MIPI Interfaces in Mobile and Mobile-Influenced Markets
MIPI Alliance offers an ecosystem of interface specifications that efficiently interconnect components in mobile and mobile-influenced markets.
In the mobile industry, companies use MIPI Alliance specifications when developing smartphones, tablets, laptops and hybrid devices. The specifications can be applied to integrate 4G/LTE radios and Wi-Fi modems, the application processor, and peripherals such as high-resolution cameras, 4K ultra-HD displays, high-definition audio components, batteries, microphones, and sensors.
In the mobile-influenced market, MIPI Alliance interfaces are playing important roles in the automotive industry and the Internet of Things (IoT). Car manufacturers are using the interfaces to integrate a wide range of components used for safety and infotainment applications and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). IoT vendors are employing the specifications to build a full range of connected-devices, from single-function products to feature-rich wearables and complex robotics systems.
MIPI Alliance specifications serve six fundamental application areas: physical layer, multimedia, chip-to-chip or interprocessor communications (IPC), control/data, and debug/trace and software. The specifications are available as individual interfaces, enabling companies to adopt those that meet their particular needs.
MIPI Alliance was established to design a core set of standard approaches that would enable mobile device manufacturers to source components from different vendors, better optimize the performance of their designs, and expedite the delivery of their products to end users.
The organization was founded in 2003 at a critical juncture in the evolution of the mobile industry. At the time, vendors foresaw an exciting market for smart, multimedia handsets yet the fragmentation of essential interface technologies hindered product design and development. Four companies—ARM, Nokia, ST, and Texas Instruments—founded the organization to consolidate interfaces, encourage their use, and help fuel mobile device innovation in the industry.
Within a year Intel, Motorola, Samsung and Philips joined, the organization formed its first working groups and introduced specifications facilitating the interconnections of cameras, displays and modems to an application processor. Membership grew rapidly and by 2008 MIPI Alliance had 150 members spanning the mobile ecosystem, from semiconductor firms to OEMs. Celebrating its five-year anniversary that year, MIPI Alliance introduced seven specifications addressing a range of essential needs in a device, providing interfaces for interprocessor communications, audio, RF, power management and other applications.
By 2013, its tenth anniversary, MIPI Alliance had over 260 members and the board of directors had expanded to include a new member: Toshiba. By now the portfolio of specifications offered by MIPI Alliance covered the full range of interface applications needed in a device, including interfaces for the modem, application processor, camera, display, audio, storage, antennas, tuners, power amplifiers, filters, switches, batteries and others.
Today, the impact of MIPI Alliance on the smartphone industry is well established: All major chip vendors use MIPI Alliance specifications and all smartphone use at least one MIPI Alliance specification. MIPI Alliance specifications are in hundreds of millions of smartphones. The organization now numbers more than 300 members. See a sample of currently used specifications.
The ability of MIPI Alliance to introduce so many specifications in little more than decade underscores its importance and effectiveness and the commitment of its members, who have a history of anticipating trends, cultivating relationships and collaborating to deliver interfaces that are needed in the marketplace.
MIPI Alliance also has a strong heritage of collaborating with external industries to anticipate and prepare for cross-industry opportunities. As mobile connectivity has found its way into other markets, MIPI Alliance specifications have gained additional influence and helped drive growth in these ecosystems. Organizations from the PC industry for example, such as the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, USB Implementers Forum and PCI SIG, have all leveraged MIPI Alliance technologies to deploy their protocols in mobile devices.
The proliferation of sensors in mobile applications and mobile-influenced markets has created another significant opportunity for cross-industry collaboration. For example, MIPI Alliance worked with the MEMS & Sensors Industry Group and stakeholders from across the sensor industry to address sensor integration challenges. A new, unified sensor interface developed by MIPI Alliance, introduced in 2016, is expected to have broad market adoption in the smartphone market and beyond, including the mobile-influenced sectors such as automotive, wearables, IoT, augmented/virtual reality and robotics.
MIPI Alliance has a bright future. It looks forward to continuing its work to address increasing technology convergence and the evolution to 5G and to enable the growth of mobile-influenced markets.
MIPI Alliance Working Groups
MIPI Alliance working groups are created and structured to define common mobile-interface specifications. The organization currently has more than 15 working groups, spanning mobile device design. Each working group progresses along a standard path – from investigation group to specification. Led by a technical chair, group members define the requirements for the specification, solicit input and proposals, discuss, and create a draft specification. From there, the specification is vetted and reviewed by the board of directors. After a final vote, the draft becomes a specification which is made available to all member companies. Only MIPI members have access to the complete published specification. Working Group participation is open to board, promoter, and contributor member companies. While adopter members do not participate in working groups, they do have access to the published specifications.
Current working groups include:
- Analog Control Interface
- Battery Interface (MIPI BIF; a kind of smart battery interface)
- Camera: camera Serial Interface
- Display (Display Serial Interface)
- High Speed Synchronous Interface
- Low Latency Interface
- Low Speed Multipoint Link (SLIMbus)
- Reduced Input/Output Working Group (RIO)
- RF Front-End Working Group (RFFE)
- Sensor Work Group (I3C)
- Software Investigation Group
- Technical Steering Group
- Test Working Group
- UniPro, including M-PHY, used by Mobile PCIe
MIPI Alliance Specifications
MIPI Alliance offers a comprehensive portfolio of specifications to interface chipsets and peripherals in mobile-connected devices. The specifications can be applied to interconnect a full range of components—from the modem, antenna and application processor to the camera, display, sensors and other peripherals. Manufacturers use the specifications to optimize performance, simplify the design process, reduce development costs, create economies of scale for their designs, and shorten time-to-market for their products.
Companies from across the mobile industry have adopted MIPI Alliance specifications. Every smartphone uses at least one MIPI Alliance interface and the solutions are commonly used in tablets and laptops. Companies in many vertical markets are also adopting MIPI Alliance specifications for current and future designs. Connected cars developed by automotive firms and wearables offered by sports and healthcare companies illustrate the range of devices and business ecosystems that benefit from MIPI Alliance specifications.
MIPI Alliance specifications serve six types of interface needs in a device: physical layer, multimedia, chip-to-chip/interprocessor communications (IPC), device control and data management, system debugging, and software integration.
Each specification is optimized to address three fundamental performance characteristics:
- low power to preserve battery life,
- high-bandwidth to enable feature-rich, data-intensive applications, and
- low electromagnetic interference (EMI) to minimize interference between radios and device subsystems.
MIPI Alliance offers its specifications as individual interfaces, enabling companies to use those that suit their own particular needs. Vendors can apply the interfaces with their own high-level features to provide added value or differentiate their products.
- Physical layer—A family of high-speed physical layers to serve essential interconnection needs in a device
- Multimedia—Protocols for camera and imaging, display and touch, and a complete interface for audio
- Chip-to-chip/IPC—Protocol layers for chip-to-chip or interprocessor communications
- Control and data—Interfaces to manage lower-speed components
- Debug and trace—Tools for debugging embedded systems throughout the development lifecycle
- Software integration—Tools that streamline software integration of components in mobile-connected products