It’s time for companies to build their own microprocessors


Miao Luo

Miao Luo works at The Qt Company where he serves as Director of Product Management, overseeing automotive businesses and managing product strategies across HMI design tools, graphics, and functional safety product lines. Prior to the Qt company, he held various positions ranging from product management and sales to software engineering for over 15 years, and he was also the co-founder of a successful startup in the simulation market. flight.

It’s a “FAB” period to be a developer. Two years later, the shortage of semiconductors continues to weigh on companies that manufacture connected objects. The production plants are springing across the worldand governments across Europe and the United States are implement initiatives aimed at stimulating the production of semiconductor chips.

Getting out of the semiconductor crisis is a long-term strategy for companies. The enormous complexities that come with building a semiconductor fabrication plant (FAB), as well as the huge monetary investment, were highlighted by the consulting firm Deloittewhich predicts that chip shortages are going to be with us for quite some time to come – and impact businesses well into 2023.

However, there are immediate strategies that companies can implement to alleviate semiconductor supply chain pressures and business processes that can be adopted to help expedite the delivery of on-demand connected products and circumvent the need for those coveted chips.

Software development is your ally

As the demand for connected devices grows, so does the pressure to build and launch them quickly. Traditional processes are no longer fit for purpose in today’s connected world, developers and designers are faced with unnecessary procedures, working on a multitude of different software and hardware. As such, smarter development is needed. By bridging the gap between developers and designers, companies can experience a more efficient journey to their finished product.

Two teams that have historically had a siled approach to their work are developers and designers. They both typically use different toolsets, causing design iterations to become interruptions. By unifying these teams and thinking of development and design as a combined “DevDes” function – the same way we think of software development with DevOps – silos are broken down, workloads are lightened, and delivery is simplified. Companies maximize efficiency during the development and design phase of product development, ensuring they are in the best possible position to bring their products to market when semiconductor chips become more readily available.

Companies making small changes to design and development processes and using cross-platform frameworks that promote and enable cooperation between designers and developers, eliminate unnecessary feedback loops, through a more joint and collaborative approach, and can provide solid results. Developers and designers working together can reduce unnecessary business expenses and improve operational efficiency. Giving both teams access to the same workspace eliminates the extra effort that must be made when communicating across multiple work platforms.

Adopt new business processes

Companies need to look at their work practices to determine where to save time during the production process. One way to achieve this is to introduce cross-platform frameworks. Using a single codebase to build native apps for multiple devices can help organizations use a wider variety of silicon and choose the most widely available semiconductor chips at any given time for use in their products.

A good example of this approach working well is how Tesla responded during the height of the semiconductor crisis. By adopting a software-first approach, the automaker was able to mitigate the impact of the chip shortage better than many automakers. Tesla owns the source code, so they not only have the ability to quickly rewrite their firmware to support alternative chips, but they can also swap out components very efficiently, maintaining high production levels and continuing to meet the consumer demand. By owning their own software infrastructure while operating in a cross-platform environment, companies can better adapt to ever-changing market dynamics and mitigate the impact of component shortages.

Cross-platform frameworks and tools are essential to mitigate the effects of current market challenges. Digital product makers will need to be flexible and shift to using materials that can be obtained more easily rather than waiting for previously supplied components.

By taking this approach, companies will also gain additional benefits, by having the ability to design and deploy products on multiple devices. Android and iOS devices, for example, can be built using the same cross-platform framework, even though they are inherently different, which means developers and companies building apps for multiple platforms can still provide a seamless customer experience.

And let’s not forget future-proofing – focusing on a software-first approach gives companies the ability to upgrade rather than replace, work across multiple devices, and change components without having to wait for a chipset semi -specific driver is available. The less the hardware of the connected devices has to be replaced, the more the longevity of the connected devices will be increased considerably.

Breaking down silos and enabling collaboration between developers and designers is an effective way to alleviate semiconductor shortages, save money for businesses, and provide a better overall experience for manufacturers and consumers. By streamlining the product development process, companies put less pressure on developers and designers as individuals. Using cross-platform frameworks to promote DevDes collaboration fosters a new way of working that is long overdue in the industry.

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