Third-party very large-scale integration (VLSI) design service providers continue to experience increased opportunities as original equipment manufacturers streamline their processes to save costs. The low-cost Asia Pacific region accounted for more than 60 percent of design work in 2006 and expects continued growth as service providers in this region offer quality designs at low costs.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (semiconductors.frost.com), World VLSI Design Services Market, reveals that the market earned revenues of $2.19 million in 2006 and estimates this to reach $4.56 million in 2010.
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“Fabless companies are increasingly outsourcing design jobs to service companies due to their reluctance to invest in expensive electronic design automation (EDA) tools, especially for 90 nm and 65 nm process technologies,” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Jagadeesh Sampath. “The evolution of newer technologies in the design services market will likely enhance prospects for third-party design service providers.”
This rising trend compels design service providers to acquire knowledge of the outsourcing business, as larger companies contribute to numerous areas including architecture and design. Overall, they need to demonstrate the immediate and long-term cost benefits of outsourcing design service jobs.
Design service providers should offer greater flexibility in the scope of portfolios and business objectives when entering contract negotiations. They must constantly improve their design flows and methodologies to differentiate themselves in an intensely competitive market. Essentially, they need to monitor the pulse of the market and cater to specific customer requirements.
Since end users show marked preference for smaller geometries and complex designs, providers of VLSI design services need to improve their ability to handle sophisticated designs. Specifically, they need to develop knowledge and skill sets to deal with complex 90 nm, 65 nm, and 45 nm geometries as well as low-power designs. Additionally, design service providers should address signal integrity in high-speed designs and create full chip designs for various EDA flows.
Due to technological innovation, design service providers should be equipped to cope with the design for test (DFT) and mixed signal related issues. Rapid technological changes often compel market participants to assimilate the innovations in their designs to attract a wider customer base.
“To stay competitive, companies need to handle technical issues with ease and complete the design work on time,” notes Sampath.
Design service providers have to find personnel with the right skills given that region-specific talent restricts most digital design services to Asia, with analog and radio frequency (RF) design services carried out largely in Eastern Europe. Due to the lack of a knowledgeable workforce, most major companies outsource their design jobs, boosting the service provider market.
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