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MIPI Alliance Meeting Reflects the Rapid Growth of the Mobile Market

Comments(1)Filed under: Design IP, SoC Realization, controller IP, IP, SoC, PCI-SIG, PCI Express, future of IP, IP integration, CSI, D-PHY, SLIMbus, DSI, Jacek Duda, MIPI, Warsaw, MIPI Alliance, BIF, M-PHY, USB-IF, Broadcom, Rick Wietfeldt, Qualcomm, Evatronix

Let me start this entry on a bit of a personal note. As a Pole, I was very happy to learn some time ago that the 2013 European meeting of the MIPI Alliance would take place in my home country. Later, it turned out that Cadence was to acquire the IP business of Evatronix, the company I worked at. These events ended up taking place one right after another—on Thursday, June 13, Cadence completed its acquisition of the Evatronix IP business, and the following Monday, the MIPI Alliance meeting started in Sheraton, Warsaw—isn’t that a nice coincidence? That’s why I’m very happy to report from this event, which is also my first Cadence blog entry.

MIPI Alliance is a non-profit organization that focuses solely on low-power interfaces developed with the mobile market in mind. Since it was set up in 2003, it has already developed over 30 different specifications, and most of them are now standard in the application processors that we carry with us in our smartphones.

Personally, I am amazed how smart MIPI is. Instead of focusing on technology, they focused on the vertical market and now they have a standard for pretty much every connection there is within a mobile device. This includes DSI (Display Serial Interface), CSI (Camera Serial Interface), and BIF (Battery Interface), and the list goes on. Look at the diagram below—is there anything that you’re missing?

Diagram of the MIPI Ecosystem
The current portfolio of MIPI interfaces. Source: MIPI Alliance.

I think the reason that MIPI is so strong, and able to meet mobile market demands "on the spot," is that they are extremely productive during their meetings, and they have market-leading companies driving the development. Rick Wietfeldt, the head of the Technical Steering Group within MIPI, is from Qualcomm, so what company would be better positioned for technical development if not the market leader for mobile application processors itself?

"MIPI continues to develop optimized interfaces to meet the key mobile terminal careabouts of performance, cost, and power consumption, while minimizing EMI from both fast- and slow-speed interfaces," said Rick in his presentation. "MIPI also continues expansion and exploration with industry organizations to seed its technology into new mobile and mobile-influenced opportunities."

Another big factor behind MIPI’s power is their never-ending, aggressive development. Some will say that at MIPI, there are currently so many acronyms that you can easily get lost, and new ones are coming at a very fast rate, but that it is because MIPI aims far beyond what we currently need for mobile device development. For the majority of companies that are MIPI adopters, this means the specs they have access to have already been tested, and when ratified, they are very safe to use.

Last, but not least, are the partnerships. MIPI was smart enough to engage with both USB-IF and PCI-SIG to develop some standards together—SuperSpeed InterChip (SSIC) and Mobile PCI Express (M-PCIe), respectively—and now have powerful allies instead of potential enemies. Amazing.

During the MIPI Alliance meeting, there were numerous sessions focused on different specifications that are in development now. Depending on membership status, companies were allowed to take part in various sessions. The plenary session outlined the direction MIPI is heading in the future, as well as provided feedback from marketing and technical working groups.

A nice touch at all MIPI meetings is Demo Day. Cadence was represented at three tables thanks to acquisitions of both Cosmic Circuits and Evatronix, both of which applied for a table before the deals were closed. It was a good opportunity to network a bit among fellow MIPI partners.

The conclusion I drew from the meeting is that MIPI is stronger than ever because the mobile market is stronger than ever, and it won’t change in the near future—MIPI is here to stay. I cannot recommend strongly enough for any company that could benefit from MIPI membership to join immediately—it will be definitely money well spent.

Jacek Duda




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