I can’t sleep at night.
This Idea has been bouncing around in my head for the past few months. I can’t shake it. If you know me, then you’ve probably heard me talk about the Idea or ask your opinion about the Idea or whether I’m crazy. I’ve been itching to blog about this Idea, but haven’t been able to figure out the right way to approach it.
Then, the other day, Ron Ploof gave me a way to approach the Idea in my blog. Please read Ron’s post on the Birth of a New Media Revolution first before continuing. It’s damn good, you’ll get something out of it, and it gives context to this post.
OK … done? Good.
Ron’s main point is that a revolution can’t happen until all the enabling pieces are in place. New media required easy-to-use publishing tools, simple syndication (i.e. media distribution), and low-cost bandwidth. Once those were in place, new media hit the tipping point.
Well, I’m going to go out on a limb today with a prediction:
The pieces are coming together for a revolution in EDA. Like most revolutions, it is starting small, hardly noticed by the big guys on the block. In the next 5 years, it will change our industry forever by leveling the playing field, allowing smaller EDA companies to compete with larger ones, giving customers greater flexibility on how and when they access tools and which vendor’s tools they use.
It’s going to happen. And just as with new media, there are three barriers that will need to come down before we hit that tipping point. They are:
- The high cost of sales, marketing, and support.
- Licensing models that lock-in customers.
- Lack of comprehensive standards for tool interoperability.
If you’ve been staring at the EDA horizon like I have, you’ve already seen that all of these barriers are starting to come down:
- A week ago, a company called Xuropa launched an online tradeshow platform that could greatly reduce the cost of sales for EDA companies and enable greater access to designers to evaluate tools.
- For several years now, Cadence has provided access to short-term licenses through their eDACard model and Synopsys will introduce a similar offering before the end of the year. Cadence also provides a service through their consulting organization called “hosted VCAD” whereby customers can access software and hardware on a Software-as-a-Service basis. How long before the other vendors follow?
- As Karen Bartleson noted on her blog yesterday, the EDA industry has moved into an “Age of Responsiveness” with regards to tool interoperability where tools are expected to be open and inclusive. As witnessed in the latest OVM / VMM standards war, open standards are required as the price of admission and “woe be to those” that do not heed this call.
I’m a realist. This EDA revolution is just beginning and will take some time. It won’t happen without a fight from those who stand to lose out. But I believe that the revolution is inexorable. And the sooner the EDA companies learn to swim with the tide, the better off they will be after the revolution.
There’s a lot more that I need to say before I can sleep at night, but too much for one post. Stay tuned.
harry the ASIC guy