Digital competency will decide over the success of the enterprise, this is a first common denominator among 42 top executives polled by Kugler Maag. The study, created in the context of the European research project Scalare in cooperation with BMW Car IT, Bosch, Fraunhofer SIT and the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) examined how digital competency at enterprise level can be shaped and how the enterprises can achieve the required degree of digital literacy.
Digitisation will increasingly challenge the business model of the automotive industry that has been established and refined over decades. Likewise, the structure of the value chain in this industry will be replaced by a more network-oriented business model, the study says. These value-creating networks will integrate different sorts of vendors and providers; examples are IT and Internet providers, car rentals and manufacturers. The paradigm shift lies in the fact that no longer will the car be the centre of the activities but a holistic service around mobility. The interface to the customer, for decades the showrooms of the dealership, will move to IT companies or service providers.
One of the most important management competencies in the automotive industry of the future will be the ability to organise open partnerships. The vehicle will transform its role to become an interface of the IoT. Therefore, business models have to be managed that match the digital economy, the study says. The revenue streams will shift from products to services. In addition, service innovations will less often be created in technical departments and more often in partnerships and cooperations.
This shift of the centre of gravity from product to services will have far-reaching consequences. To take this shift into account, dividing the automotive electronics architecture into two layers will be necessary. While currently the car development process is oriented on separate domains such as body, electronics, undercarriage and powertrain, in the future a physical layer will contain all the safety-relevant basic functions of the vehicles. Services related to the economics of the Internet will be implemented in the Connected Layer, the study says. This horizontal architecture affects more than the technology but it also changes the way R&D organisations will be structured.
November 10, 2015 // Christoph Hammerschmidt
Automotive market supports ailing semiconductor industry
In its upcoming IC Market Drivers Report, market research company IC Insights breaks down chip demand by market segments. According to the report, the automotive industry’s demand shows the strongest growth of all industry branches while traditional demand boosters like computer and consumer markets only show anaemic growth. With its disproportionally high growth, Asia / Pacific will surpass Europe as the largest automotive chip market.
For those interested this is the header for a 2 page article on EETimes Europe website
A state-owned Chinese company said Friday it plans to pour nearly $15 billion into a giant memory chip factory, as Beijing seeks to create homegrown semiconductor champions to reduce reliance on foreign technology.
Tongfang Guoxin Electronics Co. aims to invest 93.8 billion yuan ($14.8 billion) in the plant, it said in a filing with the Shenzhen stock exchange.
Tongfang Guoxin is controlled by Tsinghua Holdings Co., the commercial arm of Tsinghua University in Beijing, and ultimately China's education ministry.
China is regularly accused of cyberspying by the West but says it is a victim of hacking, and it has been encouraging research and development of homegrown semiconductor technologies as part of its "national information security strategy".
China needed to overcome "long-time restrictions imposed by the United States, Japan and Europe" over semiconductor materials and equipment, the ministry of industry and information technology said in a statement in June.
In the stock exchange filing, Tongfang Guoxin said: "China will only be able to effectively guarantee its information security by making its own... integrated circuits."
The company will raise up to 80 billion yuan by selling new shares to eight companies and employees, it said, in what could be one of the world's biggest private placement deals.
Six of the eight corporate buyers in the placement are themselves affiliates of Tsinghua Holdings, according to the statement.
Most of the proceeds will go towards the new plant—which will take two years to go into trial operations—while 25 percent will be used to acquire firms in the semiconductor industry, it added.
TORONTO—As cars get smarter and more connected demand is growing for memory and storage to support a wide array of applications, particularly those that require near-instant boot up times as soon as driver turns the key in the ignition.
According to research firm Databeans, the automotive semiconductor market will reach a high of US$28.5 billion this year, and US$40 billion in 2020, thanks to the growing amount of electronic content in today's vehicles such as assisted-driving systems, built-in GPS, satellite radio menus, vehicle-to-vehicle communications and other infotainment systems.
FRAM can be used in automotive event data recorders (EDRs)
Cypress provides another niche, emerging memory for automotive applications: FRAM can be used for nonvolatile data logging in most automotive sub systems such as smart airbags, stability control, power train, dashboard instrumentation, battery management, engine controls and infotainment applications.
HyperRAM has a low pin count of 12, which means a smaller package of 21x21 BGA
When Cypress acquired Spansion, it also inherited the company’s HyperRAM technology, an alternative to the commonly used options of SRAM or PSRAM. Its fast read time makes it suitable for automotive applications such as such as instrument clusters, infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems. It could be used in combination with HyperFlash, but DDR3 makes more sense for applications that require more high intensity computational usage.
Speed, ease and reliability of the implementation can define the success or failure of a project or product and its viability and traction in the marketplace.
Considering the IoT enabling products on the market, there are two distinct hardware approaches to implement the capability – these are modular and single board. Many of the huge array of products based on these approaches are ably supported by evaluation boards that are designed to speed and simplify implementation.
Software development kits (SDKs) – usually free- provide a set of intuitive development tools that allow the creation, with minimal experience and specialist programming knowledge, of applications.
Watch it grow – the IoT revolution
The IoT is going to be big and impact most people's lives through the connectivity and convenience it brings. The term IoT is already widely known, even if sometimes exactly what it means is not! Recognition and awareness is in the consumer space as well as the technology industry and market. The IoT will not happen overnight, though one day we will all likely wonder how we managed without it – much like the World Wide Web in fact.
Some educated estimates suggest that by 2020 there will be 50 billion IoT nodes worldwide and up to 50 connected devices in a typical home. Where this connectivity and the apps will exist could be in anything from white goods to cars and healthcare equipment to plants and animals. Most of the building blocks to make the IoT a widespread reality already exist, for example: Bluetooth LE, Internet protocols, sensor technologies and advanced electronic components and devices.
The enabler to take the IoT to the predicted levels, is combing the elements in open source hardware and supporting cloud platforms. Tools and starter kits are helping to accelerate and simplify this proliferation.
Basic IOT hardware considerations
In common with many other sectors of the electronics industry, hardware solutions for IoT applications are subject to some familiar criteria. They must utilise state-of-the-art technology to achieve small size in order that they can be easily incorporated into designs without impacting aspects such as aesthetics, portability, weight and indeed space for other functionality.
In addition, they must have low power demands – especially as many are used in portable, battery powered designs where long periods of operation between recharging are essential. The diversity of end applications for the IoT mean that the flexibility of hardware, and indeed software is essential such that performance and functionality can be closely aligned with product needs. Simplicity in terms of design and implementation will help attract systems designers to an IoT approach, as will prove reliability achieved through robust mechanical and electronic design.
From a features point-of-view, a piece of IoT hardware of course needs wireless internet capability, various IO and industry standard interfaces should also be built-in to facilitate communications, configuration and diagnostics.
Modular or single board?
Addressing current applications and in anticipation of the almost limitless future IoT market, there is already a remarkable choice of well-supported hardware solutions to facilitate the design of an ecosystem of objects with embedded technology to enable them to sense, measure and then communicate wirelessly.
Conrad Business Supplies for example currently offers approximately 5000 products that could be categorised as IoT related. All of the big players are active in the market - companies such as Altera, Cypress, Freescale and ON Semiconductor.
In general, single board IoT controllers are best suited to applications where a higher degree of customisation and tailoring is needed. Conversely, designs with a set of very specific and well-defined needs lend themselves to modular solutions.
Example of modular and single board approaches
Modular - WunderBar is a modular IoT starter kit with seven detachable modules. These comprise a Wi-Fi-enabled master module with Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE), plus six detachable smart sensor mini-modules. Each module has BLE, a sensor or actuator, and an on-board battery.
The mini-modules give functionality including light, colour, distance, temperature and humidity sensing, plus an accelerometer, a gyroscope and infra-red (IR) remote control capability. The inclusion of a Grove connector from Seeed Studio on the fifth module enables a wide range of additional sensors and actuators that are Arduino compatible to be interfaced with the platform. Modular starter kits like WunderBar lower the barrier to entry into IoT for developers unfamiliar with hardware and bring software closer to hardware.
Due to the potential of IoT, many major companies are active in offering hardware platforms, free-to-use tools and development aids. For applications with unique needs, single-board controllers are often most appropriate as they can be more readily tailored to requirements. In the case of more generic needs, modular solutions typically work best.
These platforms coupled with readily available SDKs and straightforward programmability, mean developers are spoilt for choice when looking to expedite the design of their products for the IoT. These factors will all combine to help drive the rollout of a remarkable number and diversity of exciting IoT end applications in the coming years.
About the author:
Wolfgang Lex is Senior Area Manager at Conrad Business Supplies
Creation of a Direct Financial Obligation or an Obligation under an Off-Balance Sheet Arrangement of a Registrant.
On September 30, 2015, Medical Properties Trust, Inc., a Maryland corporation (the "Company"), and MPT Operating Partnership, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership and the Company's operating partnership (the "Borrower"), entered into an amendment (the "Amendment") to the existing amended and restated revolving credit and term loan agreement (the "Credit Agreement"), dated as of June 19, 2014, with Bank of America, N.A., as Syndication Agent, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., as Administrative Agent, and the several lenders from time to time parties thereto.
The Amendment, among other things, increases the aggregate commitment to $1.95 billion (including a new additional $400 million accordion feature) . The foregoing description of the Amendment is qualified in its entirety by the full terms and conditions of the Amendment, a copy of which will be filed as an exhibit to the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2015.
PARIS — With an eye toward becoming the world’s third largest automotive MCU supplier by the end of the decade, STMicroelectronics is staking its automotive future on ARM’s new 32-bit ARMv8-R technology.
Partners with Freescale since 2006 to design high-performance, cost-effective 32-bit microcontrollers based on Power architecture for automotive applications, ST is now switching gears to go all in with ARM for the automotive market.
ST announced Tuesday (Sept. 29) that it has licensed the ARMv8-R processor technology, ARM’s first full-blown automotive MCU core. ST said it will deploy the technology in 32-bit microcontrollers targeting real-time safety-related smart driving applications and in industrial applications.
ST will continue to support its current Power Architecture-based MCUs, but transition to the ARM architecture has already begun. Martin Duncan, business unit director responsible for ADAS and microcontrollers at STMicroelectronics, told EE Times that ST will sample in mid-2017 its first product based on the ARMv8-R, which is expected to be fully qualified by mid-2019. ST’s ARMv8-R-based MCUs will be designed into cars to be launched in 2020-2021, he added.
According to ARM, ST is the first publicly announced licensee of the v8-R. ARM noted that there are other licensees, but they are not public at this time.
Asked what drove ST to go with ARMv8-R, Duncan cited the sky-rocketing “cost of development cores.”
“At ST, we’ve always looked for partners, and our collaboration with Freescale established in 2006 was very successful.” But looking at the automotive business in the next 15 years, ST needed a good, long, stable core. “I have a suspicion that proprietary cores will have a tough time to go forward.”
Duncan said, “Before, people used to say that no engineers got fired by going with Motorola’s MCU core. Now that’s being replaced by ARM. It’s ubiquitous.”
What did ST like about ARMv8-R?
Duncan said, “ARM has a lean architecture. Its throughput is very high. The benchmark has shown an extremely high performance level that I haven’t seen anywhere else.”
Further, ST liked ARMv8-R’s roadmap. Asked what’s in the roadmap, Duncan said, “I can’t say. But we’ve found other cores in that roadmap which look interesting.”
Among features being added to new cars, Duncan worries most about security in connected cars. As ST tends to do security in hardware, Duncan said it will be adding its own security firmware onto ARM core.
ST has high hopes to expand its automotive MCU market share in the next several years. Duncan, during the interview, explained that ST has sockets with a number of auto customers. “We think we are a major contender to become the number three automotive MCU vendor by the end of this decade.”
According to automotive MCU rankings taken from IHS’ Automotive Competitive Landscaping Analysis, ST was ranked at the 6th in the third quarter, 2014, after Renesas, Freescale, Infineon, Texas Instruments and Spansion.
In Duncan’s view, the higher cost of development is building a bigger barrier for newcomers to the automotive MCU market. In parallel, the rising cost of development is also triggering a shakeout among established players, who can no longer afford to keep developing so many MCU variants for automotive.
Freescale, in contrast, maintains a broad portfolio of automotive microcontrollers. The company's automotive MCU product line includes everything from 32-bit MCUs based on Power Architecture to “S32V (designed for ADAS) and S32K MCUs (designed for general-purpose auto), based around ARM ‘A’ and ‘M’ type cores, respectively,” said a Freescale spokesman.
Asked about ARMv8-R processor, he cautiously noted, “We have not realized an intersection point where the ‘R’ capability matches or out-performs our current proprietary architecture (PPC) for safety or powertrain applications.”
Nonetheless, he added, “We do see longer-term opportunities as the future ‘R’ CPUs move up the performance and capability curve.”
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times