Insight Bite: Siemens Buys UltraSoC as Chip Firms Adopt Product Lifecycle Management

From its office in Cambridge, semiconductor firm UltraSoC has been pushing the envelope of system-on-chip (SoC) technology for the last few years – embedding analytics, cybersecurity and safety hardware into revolutionary chips to be used in the automotive, storage, and high-performance computing industries.

UltraSoC’s efforts in the field of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) have caught the attention of German industrial powerhouse Siemens, which snapped up the firm in late June to bolster its Tessent software suite.

The innovation of UltraSoC lies in monitoring hardware that is embedded directly into SoC designs. This can accelerate silicon bring-up, optimise performance, and ensure devices are operating as intended for security purposes. These benefits will complement Siemens’ Tessent product suite, which addresses test and yield analysis in the system-on-chip (SoC) product lifecycle.

“Siemens’ acquisition of UltraSoC means that for the first time our customers can access not just design-for-test, but a comprehensive ‘Design for Lifecycle Management’ solution for system-on-chips, including functional safety, security and optimisation”, said Brady Benware, Tessent Vice-President at Siemens. “By utilising design augmentation to detect, mitigate and eliminate risks throughout the SoC lifecycle, customers can radically improve time-to-revenue, product quality & safety, and profitability.”

Limited understanding of the PLM value proposition has led to slow adoption among semiconductor firms. But as the industry becomes more competitive, the benefits, which include reduced design costs, improved quality, and better manufacturability, are becoming too big to ignore. As such, PLM is now finding a stronger foothold, aided by the efforts of Siemens and its rivals to provide tailor-made applications.

The acquisition of UltraSoC is one of several aimed at extending Siemens’ leadership in industrial software to the emerging semiconductor PLM market. The German engineering giant made its first move on the market in 2017 with the purchase of embedded software company Mentor Graphics, and then strengthened its expertise in integrated circuit (IC) design in 2018 with the acquisition of software startup Austemper.

Mathew Byatt, Managing Partner at Acuity Advisors comments:

“We are seeing the role of data becoming increasingly important throughout the entire semiconductor ecosystem. There is an emerging need to understand and monitor in-chip performance and, in the case of UltraSOC, understand the flow of data at a very granular level. This insight aids the effective implementation of both sophisticated and mission-critical applications in an array of end-markets. Siemens’ acquisition is a clear statement that they are backing this trend and stresses the importance of data monitoring.”

Matthew Byatt, Partner

Matthew Byatt, Managing Partner

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