During the recent Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) 2008 India, in Bangalore, Rich Beyer, CEO, Freescale indicated that the company will continue to leverage its leadership in embedded processing in the high-growth industrial, consumer, networking and automotive markets.
He said: "We are the number one supplier of automotive semiconductors, and this has been built on a leadership position in automotive microcontrollers and with technology leadership in telematics, sensors, analog and power management for safety and infotainment. We are the leader in communications processors for networking, and we are number one in RF power amplifiers for wireless infrastructure. We will extend this leadership to address the growing demand for broadband and Internet access, both wired and wireless.
"We also offer technology leadership in our i.MX multimedia processors, sensors, analog and power management for embedded solutions used in personal mobile internet devices, personal navigation, gaming and other consumer applications." Beyer's vision is that Freescale will help redefine best-in-class customer support.
Beyer touched upon the three three major trends impacting the world, the markets, and its customers. These are The Net Effect: this is the emergence of user-created content and the insatiable demand for bandwidth to fuel the multimedia experience. Health and Safety: the need for improved healthcare monitoring and the opportunity for electronics to keep us out of harm's way. And, Going Green: the need for energy.
The Net Effect
According to Beyer, Freescale is the only semiconductor company to publicly demonstrate working LTE technology in both handset and network platforms. We expect to be in field trials with cellular infrastructure providers in early 2009, and field deployment shortly thereafter in selected markets.
Freescale's QorIQ (Core-IQ) multicore platform will address the new era in networking. The QorIQ communications platform brings to market multicore technology that takes system performance, power efficiency and programmability to a new level. "As we enter this new era of networking, we will continue to leverage our long heritage in embedded processing," he added. "We are leveraging many of our existing as well as new innovations in our QorIQ communications platforms."
He also touched upon the acquisition of Intoto, a leading provider of software platform products for multicore networking and communications applications. According to Beyer, "Multicore implementation is not just about great hardware, it has to focus on the software and the developer's experience."
Health and Safety
Beyer talked about the need to find new solutions, and that those solutions will be based on semiconductor technology, as the current methods of housing and caring for the senior members of our society will not scale.
With over 2 billion cell phones in use worldwide, the estimated market for wireless remote monitoring systems to help care for the sick is projected to increase to a $345 billion market by 2010. "The proliferation of personal medical devices connecting patient and doctor will redefine the way we conduct regular check-ups, help detect diseases early, dramatically decrease complications, and simplify care," he added.
He also highlighted the Monebo and Freescale partnership to deliver an ECG-on-a-Chip platforms for OEMs to integrate into a variety of other implementations.
Freescale envision applications in the medical market like hospital bedside monitors, telemedicine and portable ambulatory monitors. It also sees possibilities on the consumer side with products for fitness and personal health.
"Perhaps, the most significant challenge facing the engineering community is the need to increase energy efficiency in everything we create," said Beyer. He touched upon emerging standards like Wireless Highway Addressable Remote Transducer, or WirelessHART, which are helping deliver affordable and efficient industrial-strength wireless networking solutions.
According to him, major industrial automation vendors believe that wireless sensors will make up 60 percent of the instrumentation in a future green field plant and in existing plants; many believe that wireless technology will result in a 30-40 percent increase in instrumentation.
Beyer touched upom how Freescale drove the effort to form the Wireless Industrial Technology Konsortium, or WiTECK, and its first project is to develop a fully certified WirelessHART stack by December of this year.
Given the rising demand for more fuel efficient vehicles, in the mid-term, Freescale believes that the more likely candidate is the plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle.
Beyer also touched upon smart meters. He said: "One of our North American customers, Trilliant a leading provider of advanced metering network solutions uses our 802.15.4 solution in their smart meters to help deliver demand response and grid management programs to more than 100 utility companies. Major utility companies across Europe are also planning to deploy smart meter networks in the coming years. Italy has already deployed 25 million connected meters, and France and Spain are running pilot projects for the planned deployment of their automated meter network in 2011."
Solar lanterns in India
Turning towards India, Beyer mentioned that 26 million Indian households are without an electrical connection, and that the Indian government provides a subsidy on kerosene oil for lamps to help provide lighting for these homes.
With the rising price of oil and the carbon emissions associated with burning kerosene, the Prime Minister's Energy Coordination Committee is considering a proposal to shift part of this subsidy to fund solar lanterns in India's rural areas. If implemented on a large scale, replacing at least one kerosene lantern with a solar-powered LED lantern in each of these homes could eliminate 1.9 million metric tones of carbon dioxide per year.
In this context, Beyer highlighted Freescale's work with InnovLite, a Bangalore-based provider of new generation lighting technology, to help create clean and energy-efficient lighting solutions.