We’ve heard other EDA vendors talk about providing broadly published roadmaps and future direction transparency. When I have seen these, they have appeared to be manifesto statements of everything that everyone could ever want in a tool. Which brings me to question how soon vendors can realistically deliver these solutions.
I’m sure all vendors have similar goals, strategies, and roadmaps. However, achieving them is where the true challenge lies. When you scan the various markets that we, the EDA vendors, need to serve, selecting important features to focus on can become daunting.
It is no secret that the main focus in the market today is IoT. In the marketing world, we always talk about “verticals”, like consumer, automotive, etc. However, IoT is really horizontal. In other words, IoT crosses a wide spectrum of markets and is in pretty much everything being designed and built today. In fact, we see that many of our PADS customers work in a broad and vast set of technologies and industries, from individuals to large teams, and at small to large companies.
So, what features do we work on? To decide, we need to truly understand both the overarching technology trends and, more importantly, the users we serve.
Horizontal technology markets, as stated above, crosses nearly all vertical market segments. This means that end users require capabilities in many disciplines, including RF, analog, mixed signal, and high-speed.
Take high-speed, for example. It used to be that only high-speed systems (computing, networking, mil/aero) required detailed analysis and simulation. Well, the fact is that today, there is high-speed in nearly everything we design. In some cases, the components that are being used can only be acquired with faster operating speeds, even if not required for the system.
This brings the topic, and importance, of high-speed to a far greater audience than ever before. While users may not be high-speed experts nor want to be, they are pushed to either simulate and validate their design or risk having it not work…something that can make or break time-to-market goals.
The PADS Roadmap
How does this all relate to the PADS roadmap? We are analyzing how we can bring robust, highly capable, high-speed tools such as Hyperlynx to a community of designers in a manner that is non-obtrusive, easy to setup, and simple to use. Furthermore, we know these tools must provide accurate results that can be validated in the lab.
This may also sound pie-in-the-sky like every other roadmap, but, Mentor has the ability to deliver such a solution. Hyperlynx is already known in the high-speed world as the simplest, most powerful environment for the design engineer and is already part of PADS (Standard Plus and Professional). Our roadmap takes this same technology and extends capabilities even further to deliver capabilities in power aware SI, IR Drop, and comprehensive SI analysis…all within your PADS environment.
Mentor has the ability to anticipate future needs and deliver powerful technology to meet those needs. Users may not have had to deal with these in the past but should anticipate that, as complexity increases and their needs expand, they will need a tool that can grow with them.
Another example is thermal. In cases such as miniaturization and wearables, thermal has become a larger concern.
PADS solutions contain Hyperlynx Thermal for quick “what-if” trade-offs. However, Mentor also has, as part of its broad technology portfolio, FloTHERM which has set the industry standard for systems level thermal analysis. In the past, this tool was primarily used by thermal experts. Later this year, it will be available in a PADS package! Right from within your PADS cockpit, you will be able to extract a design into FloTHERM, analyze, and quickly get results that will enable real-time design decisions.
Other examples of upcoming technology include FPGA synthesis and optimization, system-level analog and mixed-signal analysis, industry-leading manufacturing analysis through Valor, and even mainstream IC design capabilities with our recently acquired Tanner EDA technology.
Most designers start with the standard capabilities of design entry and PCB layout and we know that PADS must provide the best solution possible for those challenges as well.
Later this year, we will introduce a leap frog 3D/2D co-design capability along with new capabilities that improve user productivity. Still to come? A steady stream set of enhancements in six month intervals to address all the needs of designers working on rigid-flex, micro-via, mixed signal, and high-speed PCB designs.
Pulling this all back to the topic of roadmaps, we need to take a holistic view of our industry and end users, understand the changing world in which they are designing, and anticipate new challenges that will arise in getting their product successfully designed, simulated, validated, and to manufacturing in the fastest means possible.
When we analyze what that means to PADS, we are confident that we are in a position to deliver the industry best solution. Anyone can tell you what the world needs but who can really deliver? And do it in a way that delivers best-in-class technology that’s highly-integrated and easy to use? Even if they can, the world doesn’t need a solution years from now…we need one today.