Secret Sauce To Make Design Reuse A Reality

Making IP data and knowledge available throughout a company.

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In a globally competitive landscape, IP reuse and effective team collaboration play a crucial role in product success. But if one considers the complex dynamics of all the recent advances in technology, the insatiable appetite for consumer electronics coupled with the design cost and time-to-market pressures on designers, one would not be unjustified in assuming that the problem of design reuse within an enterprise would have been solved a long ago. It certainly has remained a pain point for semiconductor design companies who have been struggling to leverage existing design collateral to better manage design schedules and cost.

Why hasn’t this problem been solved? Take into account the complexity of developing an IC – the data, intellectual property, multiple design teams, different remote locations… It’s a miracle these complex chips come together at all. Now consider the design knowledge and the IPs that gets trapped into silos created by business groups, physical locations, etc. But you want to reuse all or some of that effort and data without reinventing the wheel, so to speak. It works well in theory, and the concept of design reuse can certainly pave an easier path to sign off, but how realistic is it today considering these challenges?

Despite the naysayers, design reuse is possible.  There is a paradigm shift occurring within the IP ecosystem regarding IP usage, development and data sharing. The industry has been thinking about the problem one way for a long time, but ClioSoft has been approaching the challenge differently. In fact, we just might have found the secret sauce to make design reuse a reality.

Current products in the market address IP reuse by web-based cataloging which does little beyond listing the IPs available within a company. There are limited means to how a designer can qualify whether the IP meets their requirements. Most of the issues with an IP come into the forefront during the integration. But without an infrastructure to leverage prior experiences of designers going through the same issue or a channel to communicate with the IP developer, the motivation to reuse an existing design diminishes.

ClioSoft’s approach on the other hand uses the concept of crowdsourcing. The company has developed the new designHUB platform on the concept that untapped ideas, design expertise or any intellectual property can be shared seamlessly across the company and leveraged to produce remarkable results. The designHUB platform bridges the gap between the IP developer and the IP user all within a single platform and extends the definition of IP to include SoC sub-subsystems, documents, ideas, scripts, flows, etc. If a designer wants to use an internally developed IP, the design information is spread across issue tracking systems, emails, meeting minutes, notes, DM systems. Tracking the information becomes another project by itself! The designHUB platform on the other hand funnels design activity from various sources and ensures all the IP related information is at one location accessible for authorized users from anywhere in the company.

Using designHUB, designers can search and compare IPs across geographical or business silos of a company, track their usage and review their quality before selecting the design module that best meets their design requirements. It provides checks and balances to inhibit unauthorized usage by providing access controls, customizable workflows for download/upload IPs, and managing the third party licensing, among other things. It provides a platform for designers to communicate with IP/SoC developers for any queries related to the IP, enabling quick resolution of any issues. In addition to sharing IPs, designHUB also enables users to seamlessly share and track documents, flows, scripts, libraries, etc. across the enterprise. To enable designers to be more productive, designHUB tracks and collates all activities for design projects an engineer may be working on or has been involved in and displays the notifications and tasks assigned in a dashboard for easy review. Project teams within a company can also set up their project dashboards to document all project specifications, documents, IPs, and provide a forum for team members to have discussions and capture the resolutions regardless of their location and remain in sync. They can track the progress of the project and review open issues through built-in integrations to commonly used issue tracking systems.

designHUB is easily customizable and can be integrated with other tools through a powerful REST API. It provides a rich set of reports to provide the relevant information to the designer and management community. Design reuse can now be a reality within a company.