Semiconductor Self-Service: The Next Wave

Turning the power of the Internet into an executable quotation for NRE and production unit pricing is long overdue.


The Internet is a marvelous invention. We all know it can bring a universe of human knowledge to our desktop. Thanks to some clever technology produced by some very successful companies, you also can browse all this information in real time, learning and discovering all the way.

This ability to learn and discover is particularly interesting from a business perspective. It has created a truly educated consumer. Most folks who walk into a car dealer these days already know as much, or more, than the dealer about the options available for the car they want. They’re also armed with all kinds of competitive analysis and most know what the dealer invoice cost is for the car they’ve already chosen. Not bad for a first-time visit by a new customer.

Figure 1

As discussed in a previous edition of Semi Thoughts, what is interesting to me is that much of the technology that made this self-service discovery possible came from the semiconductor industry. The cloud-based computers, the network infrastructure, the massive storage — made possible by system-on-chip (SoC) devices. Yet the semiconductor industry itself never really exploited its own technology.

eSilicon began to change all this last year with the introduction of our automated portal for multi-project wafer (MPW) quotes. We’ve covered that in a prior post. As of today, we have 221 registered users of our MPW portal who have generated over 500 quotations.

On June 26, 2014, semiconductor self-service automation achieved a new milestone. It’s the day eSilicon launched its automated GDSII quoting portal. Thanks to collaboration between eSilicon and TSMC, the folks who design SoCs can now browse the technology choices available to them prior to taping out a completed design to TSMC for volume manufacturing. You can browse all the options available, make choices and then generate an executable quotation for NRE and production unit pricing – all in about 10 minutes. Considering another option? Try again – 10 more minutes.

There are interesting questions to be answered in this new world of semiconductor self-service automation. Will new design starts be enabled because of the easier, more transparent business model? Time will tell. One thing seems clear however — when it comes to the complex technology choices available to manufacture a chip, SoC designers can now start to self-select and self-educate. And that’s good for the industry. You can also see what the next wave in semiconductor self-service automation can do for you by requesting a GDSII quoting portal account here.

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