A View from the Top: A Virtual Prototyping Blog


Collaborating to get beyond the chip!

I am at the Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) here in Orlando this week, where we are demonstrating our virtual platform of Freescale’s i.MX31 application processor. Freescale’s CEO Rich Beyer kicked off the conference with a quite impressive display of demos and partnerships with the three themes “Going Green”, “Health and Safety” and “The Net Effect”. It was very clear how system-level aspects are crucial to Freescale’s success and in many instances that knowledge is shared between Freescale and key partners. Rich Beyer made it clear that software is just as important to their success as is the chip itself.

The first demo showed the adoption of wireless technologies in industrial automation. Wireless technology is mostly used for data transmission here – including video. My respect to the demonstrator, on whom the demo setup played a trick and caused him to have to re-synchronize his setup in what Rich called a diving catch in front of an audience of 100’s. Well done. In the area of health Freescale called a partner on stage, who demonstrated a belt for mobile EKG analysis using embedded processing based on the Coldfire technology.

My personal highlight was a demonstration of HDTV transmission using Long Term Evolution (LTE) next generation wireless by Tom Deitrich. He showed nicely how mobile communication evolves beyond voice services and how the 50x faster transmission rates of LTE can be used to carry video. The technology from Freescale will be ready in 2009 for field trials with deployment shortly thereafter. Tom cited power consumption and integration as the key differentiators.

Rich Beyer and Sue Bostrom using TelePresenceTogether with Sue Bostrom of Cisco, Rich Beyer then demonstrated (at 6:55am her time in California) the Cisco TelePresence system. This fit both the green and connected themes and Sue Bostrom mentioned how they have already saved $150M in travel cost and with that reduced Cisco’s carbon footprint with the equivalent of taking 8000 cars off the streets for a year.

Finally Lynelle McKay introduced with great fanfare as “path to multicore” Freescale’s QorIQ communication platform. The software aspects were crucial in this context and Lynelle especially pointed out how virtualization technology enabled their partners to do early software development.

In summary a quite impressive display of technology! The key take away for me was again that traditional chip providers like Freescale are going well beyond the chip now and need the software and system to work right for them to be successful. Collaboration with system partners is crucial and the technology to efficiently interact – for example by way of virtual platforms – is a key enabler of such collaboration.

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