Imagination and TSMC collaborate on IoT IP platforms

09 June 2015

Imagination Technologies and TSMC collaborate to develop advanced IP subsystems for IoT to accelerate time to market and simplify the design process. 

These IP platforms, complemented by highly optimised reference design flows, bring together the breadth of Imagination’s IP with TSMC’s advanced process technologies from 55 down to 10nm.

The IoT IP subsystems in development include small, highly-integrated connected solutions for simple sensors which combine an entry-level M-class MIPS CPU with an ultra-low power Ensigma Whisper RPU for low-power Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart and 6LowPan, as well as OmniShield multi-domain hardware enforced security, and on-chip RAM and flash. The advanced RF and embedded flash capabilities from TSMC enable Imagination to push the boundaries of IoT integration.

At the higher end, highly-integrated and sophisticated audio and vision sensors will be a key component of future mutual customers’ SoCs for a wide range of IoT applications such as smart surveillance, retail analytics and autonomous vehicles. As part of the collaboration, Imagination and TSMC are working together to realise reference IP subsystems that bring together Imagination’s PowerVR multimedia IP, MIPS CPUs, Ensigma RPUs and OmniShield technology to create highly-integrated, highly-intelligent connected audio and vision sensor IP platforms. These IP subsystems will leverage advanced features such as GPU compute, power-managed CPU clusters and on-chip high-bandwidth communications, demonstrating that high-performance local processing and connectivity can be integrated efficiently and cost-effectively.

Tony King-Smith, EVP marketing, Imagination, says they have been working with TSMC for more than two years on advanced IP subsystems for IoT and other connected products. Many of their licensees rely on TSMC to provide them with leading-edge, low-power, high-performance silicon foundry capabilities. Through their ongoing collaboration with TSMC, they are focused on creating meaningful solutions that will help mutual customers quickly create differentiated, secure and highly integrated products.

Suk Lee, TSMC senior director, Design Infrastructure Marketing Division, says in order to simplify customers’ designs and shorten their time-to-market, TSMC and their ecosystem partners are transitioning from chip-design enablers to subsystem enablers. They are working closely with Imagination as part of their new IoT Subsystem Enablement initiative to help companies get their IoT and connected products to market more quickly and easily.

Imagination’s IP families include:

• OmniShield-enabled PowerVR multimedia IP, which continues to extend its leadership in both GPU and video decode/encode, complemented by innovative camera imaging processors. 
• OmniShield-enabled MIPS CPUs, which power billions of products around the globe from 32-bit microcontrollers for wearables and IoT to high-end 64-bit networking systems.
• Ensigma RPUs (radio connectivity processors), including high-performance Explorer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on-chip IP and Whisper ultra-low power sensor IP to enable the IoT era.
• Other technologies, including FlowCloud device-to-cloud connectivity solutions, Caskeid multiroom streaming audio platform, and extensive FlowTalk and ClearCall VoIP technologies.

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