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Speed IoT ASIC design using platforms

Posted: 18 Jan 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Internet of Things? IoT? ASIC? ASSPs? FPGA?

Creation of IoT ASIC platforms for the industrial use case, for example, requires a two-phase approach. The first phase is to create an end-to-end IoT setup with gateway and cloud back-end, using standard ICs/ASSPs to design the edge device hardware. This approach enables creating demo scenarios quickly, putting hardware and software pieces at the edge, gateway, and cloud together as shown in the figure 3.

The second phase calls for replacing the ASSP-based edge device hardware with FPGA-based platforms, creating reference SoC designs, along with complete software stacks and peripheral devices, to address different use-case scenarios. The figure below shows an FPGA platform for use in developing reference designs.

In parallel, to address the low power requirement, the platform needs an ASIC RTL design database (from the same SoC specification used for an FPGA platform). The idea is to create a power benchmarking setup to evaluate different power management schemes, such as power domains, always-on sub-system, custom ultra-low power memory, cells and more.

Figure 3: Phase 1 IoT System Demonstration Setup .

Figure 4: FPGA Platform for IoT Edge ASIC Designs .

Implementing reference designs on the FPGA platform requires an ecosystem around hardware IP vendors, including partnerships, such as the one shown in figure 5. The software side includes leveraging from the open-source community.

Figure 5: IoT Edge Device ASIC Ecosystem .

Such platforms will help IoT edge device design teams to quickly create differentiated designs targeting a custom silicon implementation, while fostering knowledge re-use in future designs. For an ASIC design house, such as Open Silicon, a platform has additional benefits. It allows for demonstrations at conferences and trade shows, and allows sales and technical solution teams to go out and have meaningful conversations with potential customers. The platform also serves as a learning tool for engineering teams to quickly ramp up on the new technologies related to security and communication protocols.

About the author
Pradeep Sukumaran, is a Senior Solutions Architect at Open-Silicon. He has over 15 years of experience in the embedded domain and works on the pre-sales team interacting with customers on ASIC based solutions. He is also responsible for the IoT program at Open-Silicon.

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