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Accellera Panel: The Internet of Things Will Depend on Standards

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By Jeff Dorsch, Contributing Editor

Standards – the Internet of Things needs them. Most people agree on that. How IoT standards will be developed is up for grabs, according to panelists at a Tuesday morning session at the Design Automation Conference, held by the Accellera Systems Initiative.

The “Design and Verification Standards in the Era of IoT” panel featured Lu Dai of Qualcomm, Wael William Diab of Huawei Technologies, and Chris Rowen of Cadence Design Systems.

Accellera’s Universal Verification Methodology (UVM), which is being developed as an industry standard, is helping to make design verification easier, according to Dai. “That’s a tremendous asset,” he said.

Diab said, “As IoT becomes more pervasive, we have to solve the standards issue.” There won’t be one single standard for all IoT applications, he added.

“Wireless is really hard,” Rowen noted. “Wireless is not like a USB plug.”

Fourth-generation Long-Term Evolution is not the monolithic standard that consumers may presume, Dai observed. “There are a lot of standards around the world” for 4G LTE, he said, estimating that there are 30 to 40 different 4G LTE standards. “We have to make a chip to go across all of these standards,” he added.

Diab said, “Spectrum allocation is not easy in the wireless world.”

Connected devices for the IoT need to address high performance and low power, Dai said. He added later that analog elements in IoT chips need to be addressed in design verification. “In our company, the challenge is on the analog side,” Dai said.

Dennis Brophy of Mentor Graphics asked if software has a role to play in the IoT ecosystem. Rowen responded, “Hell yes!”

Diab spoke more at length, saying, “A lot of the effort will be in the middle – machine-to-machine communication.” IoT is “not just a sensor network and push everything up” to the cloud, he added. Diab concluded, “Absolutely yes!”

Rowen said “the lack of understanding between analog and digital” may become an issue in the IoT.

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