Semiconductor IP Production Slumps with COVID-19 Outbreak

The tech industry has been facing difficulties with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), particularly delayed shipments that are anticipated to slow down the growth for the semiconductor IP market. Daily volatile changes pose unique challenges for semiconductor IP companies. Hence, manufacturers are carefully assessing different sectors of the semiconductor IP field to optimize costs and streamline shipments throughout supply chains. On the other hand, the growing number of unemployed individuals worldwide is another restraining factor directly affecting consumer spending.

Semiconductor IP companies are strategizing on optimizing production activities in the upcoming months. However, the volume of semiconductor IP products is anticipated to fall in the near future, which may affect the revenue generation of companies. As such, companies in the semiconductor IP market are increasing their focus on design activities in order to maintain cash flow in the market landscape.

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Data Converter IPs Gaining Prominence in Wireless & IoT Products

Semiconductor IPs (Intellectual Property) are being used to improve the functionality of IoT (Internet of Things) products. For instance, Palma Ceia SemiDesign-a semiconductor company providing modem chips has joined forces with Agile Analog, a provider of semiconductor analog IP, to acquire proficiency in next-gen Wi-Fi and cellular IoT products. This is being achieved with the help of data converter and power management IP that helps to deploy optimum performance in IoT products, whilst minimizing time and cost to the market.

Companies in the semiconductor IP market are increasing their production capabilities for data convertor IPs, as these IPs connect the real world with the digital world. High performance and low power data conversion in configurable analog-to-digital (ADC) and digital-to-analog (DAC) environments has been made possible with data convertor IPs. As such, companies in the semiconductor IP market are casting their interest in wireless products that are being integrated with power supply management functionalities.

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Companies Focus on On-chip Interconnect IP Sector

Technological innovations and world-class product quality are helping manufacturers in the semiconductor IP market to gain global recognition. For instance, in June 2020, Arteris IP-a leading supplier of silicon-proven network-on-chip (NoC) interconnect IP, announced that the company is gaining world recognition by achieving a significant rank in the 2020 IPnest Semiconductor Design IP Report. Companies are providing the semiconductor industry with technical leadership by offering sophisticated and important systems-on-chip.

Companies in the semiconductor IP market are broadening their revenue streams by tapping into leading applications, such as the automotive, machine learning (ML), and 5G infrastructure. This explains why the market is estimated to expand at a favorable CAGR of ~6% during the assessment period. Manufacturers are acquiring proficiency in the on-chip interconnect IP sector to support the management of on-chip dataflows.

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Open Alliance Programs Give Rise to Comprehensive Design Technology Infrastructures

The semiconductor IP market is witnessing significant changes with a growing number of strategic alliance programs. For instance, Omni Design Technologies-a provider of high-performance, low-power mixed-signal IP solutions, has joined the TSMC’s (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) Open Innovation Alliance program, which involves the participation of leading IP companies. As such, manufacturers are innovating in silicon-verified and foundry-specific IP solutions. Increasing demand for ultra-low power ADC and DAC solutions has catalyzed the demand for semiconductor IPs.

The semiconductor IP market is expected to reach a revenue of US$ 8.3 Bn by 2030. However, challenges in the 5G, automotive, and IoT segments are likely to inhibit the market growth. Hence, companies should introduce alliance programs to give rise to more comprehensive design technology infrastructures that help to reduce design barriers.

MCU Subsystem Platforms Help Overcome Limitations in Edge Computing IoT Applications

Companies in the semiconductor IP market are increasing efforts to address the challenges of data processing for edge computing IoT applications. For instance, in June 2020, Dolphin Design-a provider of semiconductor IP and design platforms unveiled CHAMELEON, an event-based MCU (Microcontroller Unit) subsystem platform, which helps to unlock the limitations associated with edge computing IoT applications. This is due to several limitations of traditional MCU architectures. Thus, in order to keep pace with the rapid growth of edge computing, semiconductor IP companies are innovating in MCU subsystem platforms.

In addition, manufacturers are adopting the CPU-less and event-based data management system approach to overcome limitations in edge computing IoT applications. Companies in the semiconductor IP market are developing MCU subsystem platforms that are compatible with any CPU, DSP (Digital Signal Processor), and NPU (Neural Processing Unit).

Collaborations Lead to Improvement in Quality and Reliability of Microchips

Semiconductor analog IP providers are collaborating with other market players to improve the quality and reliability of microchips. Companies in the semiconductor IP market are teaming up with providers of custom ASIC (Application-specific Integrated Circuit) designs to fabricate and test analog IP products. This helps manufacturers to validate their product delivery processes for end customers. System on a chip (SOC) development holds promising potentials to speed up the process of proving and qualifying analog IPs, which helps to reduce the time-to-market.

The integration of analog IP onto complex silicon chips is a potentially time-consuming process and may be further exacerbated by the variable quality of analog IP products. Hence, companies in the semiconductor IP market are developing in-house systems that automatically generate analog IP product deliverables, while maintaining the highest quality in products.

Analysts’ Viewpoint

Long-term trends such as digitalization across industries, such as healthcare, automotive, and telecom are anticipated to keep companies in business during and post the COVID-19 pandemic. Fast-growing IP vendors in the semiconductor IP market are providing high-quality products that are being used in complex SoC designs. However, limitations in traditional MCU subsystems are restraining manufacturers from advancing in edge computing IoT applications. Hence, companies should develop advanced MCU subsystems with high bandwidth access and data processing capabilities to innovate in the fast-growing edge computing IoT sector. They should introduce alliance programs to increase the availability of foundry-specific IPs.

Semiconductor IP Market: Overview

  • The semiconductor IP market is expected to register a CAGR of ~6% between 2020 and 2030. The market is projected to be driven by advancements in multicore technology in the consumer electronics sector across the globe.
  • The global semiconductor IP market is expected to reach US$ 8.3 Bn by 2030 from US$ 4.8 Bn in 2020. Increasing adoption of digitized technology and IoT connected devices is expected to drive the growth of the semiconductor IP market.
  • The semiconductor IP market in Asia Pacific and Europe is anticipated to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period, followed by South America, North America, and Middle East & Africa
  • Asia Pacific remained the dominant leader in the global semiconductor IP market in year 2019, primarily due to mass manufacturing of semiconductor devices and products in South Korea, China, and Japan
  • North America is projected to witness significant growth in the global semiconductor IP market during the forecast period. Increasing adoption of connected and IoT devices is expected to drive the consistent growth of the North America semiconductor IP market.

Semiconductor IP Market: Definition

  • The semiconductor IP market report provides analysis of the global semiconductor IP market for the period 2018 – 2030, wherein 2020 is the base year and 2020 to 2030 is the forecast period. Data for 2018 has been included as historical information.
  • The report studies the semiconductor IP market from the perspective of different components and industry verticals

Semiconductor IP Market Snapshot

  • Asia Pacific is expected to witness the highest opportunity addition in the semiconductor IP market globally, with Europe being the next closest region

Key Growth Drivers of Semiconductor IP Market

  • Growing Adoption of Modern System on Chip (SOC) Designs: Semiconductor IP is a key component in platform-based design, which enables incremental improvements and differentiation in a variety of products. The platform allows designers to reuse pre-qualified IP-based, foundational SoC, which helps in reducing time to market. SoCs allow cost efficient manufacturing of devices due to which, the demand for SoCs is increasing rapidly. SoC IP cores provide base platforms to be optimized differently according to required designs. Some of the recent developments in system-on-chip (SoC) by prominent players are as follows:
    • In June 2020, Qualcomm Incorporated launched its new product “Snapdragon 690 System-on-chip,” to support its Snapdragon 6-series processors. The Snapdragon 690 is specifically designed for 5G connectivity and supports both standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) modes.
    • In February 2019, Intel Corporation declared that “Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson” is focusing on deploying its 10nm system-on-chip (SoC) product, specifically for 5G and edge computing

Proprietary IP blocks can be security practices, wireless designs, alternatives on USB modules, and re-spins on memory controllers. These are used in consumer electronics prominently where primary components are SoC designs and can be availed by procuring a license. Thus, increasing need for SoC designs in consumer electronics is expected to drive the semiconductor IP market during the forecast period.

  • Increasing Adoption of Multi-core Technologies in Connecting Devices: Multicore technologies enable integration of more than one processor embedded in a single physical package. An increase in the use of multicore processors such as quad cores and octa cores in desktops, mobile PCs, smartphones, and servers are being witnessed, besides a shift toward the use of heterogeneous multicore system-on-chips (SoCs), which features a range of processor cores with various architectures and instruction-sets. These are optimized for various applications or application-specific instruction-set processors (ASIPs) for connecting devices. For instance, the radio base-band in smartphones is based on ASICs. The focus has shifted to embedded multicore processors in mobile, automotive, and communication markets to perform intensive computations. For instance, Recore Systems’ multi-core processor subsystem IP has been licensed to develop Europe’s multi-core DSP payload processor for future space missions.

Moreover, processor IP core reduces power consumption and optimizes hardware performance. Hardware performance increases as the space captured by a single processor is reduced due to use of multicore processors. In line with the same, Synopsys Inc. is in partnership with Broadcom to deliver ARC processor IP Cores which enable them to provide advanced video compression capabilities in SoCs for high-volume consumer devices. Thus, multicore processor IPs are being adopted rapidly to improve the efficiency of hardware and to optimize performance of end-products. Hence, various processor IP cores are needed to develop embedded multiprocessor core technologies, which are used in a wide range of applications such as connected devices that include smartphones, wearable devices, and desktops.

Key Challenges Faced by Semiconductor IP Market Players

  • Detection of patented technology is facing ever-increasing challenges as the device is composed of integrated patented components. It is difficult to disintegrate components and detect which patent belongs to whom. The shrinking feature sizes of present semiconductor fabrication processes require more advanced analysis tools for circuit detection and extraction. This has a direct impact on licensing activities and on the value of patent portfolio of various companies. Along with these, various infringement encounters in patenting particular technology is expected to restrain the market growth.

Semiconductor IP Market: Company Profile Snapshot

  • The research study includes profiles of leading companies operating in the global semiconductor IP market. Key players profiled in the report include
    • Avery Design Systems
    • Altera (Intel Corporation)
    • Arm Limited
    • Cadence Design Systems, Inc.
    • CAST, Inc.
    • CEVA, Inc.
    • eSilicon Corporation (an Inphi Corporation Company)
    • Imagination Technologies Limited Mentor (a Siemens Business)
    • Kilopass Technology Inc. (a Synopsys Inc. Company)
    • Open-Silicon, Inc.
    • Rambus Inc.
    • Silabtech
    • Synopsys, Inc.
  • Companies are shifting toward advanced technology to gain a competitive advantage in the semiconductor IP market apart from maintaining their position in the market.

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