Fabless power semiconductor company, Helix Semiconductors, announced that Agility Power Systems (Agility) is using the MxC 200 IC for its innovative, 1kW, high-efficiency 48VDC to 12VDC power converter. Agility designs highly efficient switched capacitor power conversion devices targeted at the data center, solar and electric vehicle markets.
As data storage capacity grows exponentially, as does the need for highly-efficient data center hardware and infrastructure.
Jason Young, president and CEO, Agility Power Systems, said: “Earlier this year, Agility Power Systems used the MuxCapacitor technology to create a 1kW 48V to 12V power converter with 97.6 percent peak efficiency using discrete components. This proof of concept unit was first demonstrated at the Helix Semiconductors booth at APEC in early March.
“Agility is now launching a new smaller, more cost effective and more functional version of that converter by integrating Helix’s MxC200 ASIC into the design in a way that amplifies the benefits of the already industry leading efficiency and power density characteristics of the MxC200.”
How is the MxC 200 DC-DC power IC bringing increased efficiency at data centers?
Bud Courville, VP of Business Development, Helix Semiconductors, said: “Our patented MuxCapacitor technology has a higher peak efficiency and maintains that efficiency across a much greater portion of the load curve when compared to traditional magnetic based power conversion devices used in data centers.
“This feature creates higher operating efficiency and reduced heat generation across a wider range of applications than traditional power converters. Exact sizing of the power conversion device to the application’s specific load becomes less critical when near peak efficiency is maintained through a wider range.
By how much is the financial benefit by reduced cooling costs due to lower heat generation?
To this, he added: “It depends on the Power Utilization Effectiveness (PUE) of the data center and the cost per watt at each facility. Here is a brief definition and description of the PUE.
“Power usage effectiveness (PUE) is a metric used to determine the energy efficiency of a data center. PUE is determined by dividing the amount of power entering a data center by the power used to run the computer infrastructure within it. PUE is, therefore, expressed as a ratio, with overall efficiency improving as the quotient decreases toward 1.”
PUE was created by members of the Green Grid, an industry group focused on data center energy efficiency. Data center infrastructure efficiency (DCIE) is the reciprocal of PUE and is expressed as a percentage that improves as it approaches 100 percent.
He said: “While PUE varies from data center to data center, recent studies indicate that the typical data center has an average PUE of around 1.7. This means that for every 1.7 watts in at the utility meter, only one watt is delivered out to the IT load.
“For every watt saved in operating efficiency at the point of load, 1.7 watts worth of energy costs are saved. In a 1kW power conversion device that would mean that an efficiency improvement of 5 percent would equate to a point of load savings of 50 watts and a total energy savings of 85 watts. The cost savings of this reduction in overall energy usage adds up quickly at data centers consuming large amounts of power 24 hours a day.”
How has the bidirectional nature of Helix MuxCapacitor enabled new design configuration?
Courville said: “MuxCapacitor technology can be configured to operate as either a voltage step down or step up device within the same circuit. This makes it ideal for solar, EV and “Prosumer” renewable energy applications where power can be both drawn from or added to the grid or battery storage.”
Finally, what are the other MxC 200’s game-changing features and benefits in large power applications?
Courville said: “There are many features and benefits of the MxC 200 that improve performance in large power usage applications. The most pronounced benefit by far is the significant cost savings that results from improved efficiency both at peak load conditions and across the broader load curve.
“This cost savings comes both from a reduction in power consumed to operate the load and power consumed to temperature control the environment. For a smaller data center facility with a PUE of 2.0, the cost savings is double that of the savings from the reduction in energy consumed to drive the load.
“The power density of the MxC 200 is another key feature. In addition to reducing heat and cost through higher efficiency, the MxC 200 can also reduce the weight and size required for a power conversion device.
“The MxC 200 also has multiple output voltage settings. For Agility’s 48V input device, this feature would allow for output voltages of 24V or 6V in addition to the primary 12V output. The bidirectional nature of MuxCapacitor technology makes it ideal for certain applications.”
NetApp has introduced the Data Visionary Engineering Center (DVC) in Bangalore. Paul van Linden, manager, EMEA and APAC EBC Program, said that as of now, there are four DVCs: in Sunnyvale and RTP North Carolina, USA, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and now, Bangalore.
Having a DVC does make a difference. Linden said: “Partners are hugely important. In a 2017 APBM survey, 86 percent said their purchase size increased due to visit. 30 percent said that NetApp is a trusted advisor. 42 percent said that their sales cycle had reduced (by up to 9 percent). And, 79 percent said that they discovered additional products (gone up by 15 percent).” He added, “We provide proven business acceleration.”
On the question of why have a DVC in Bangalore, he said: “Global customers have some very unique requirements. Eg., they would like to have detailed conversations with coders. This (DVC) is a fantastic opportunity.”
Anil Valluri, president, Sales, India and SAARC, said: “It is a recognition of two things – one, the vibrancy of the market, and two, the huge amount of engineering talent in India. There are a lot of services being launched by the government. There is a growing market, with a lot of cutting-edge technology. We can tell people how to embrace digital transformation.
“The global SIs architecture centers are here. They can come here, and use technologies. It is a recognition of the potential of the Indian market. We can also serve as the knowledge center.”
Deepak Vishweswaraiah, MD and SVP, Data Fabric and Manageability Group, noted: “The whole digital transformation is not unique to NetApp. We are helping customers to progress on their data journey visions. Customers need to find new ways to do business. They have to find newer customers and newer ways to do business.
“We are also introducing the NetApp Cloud Volumes for Google Cloud Platform (GCP). We are now delivering data services with all the world’s largest hyper-scalers, such as Azure, AWS and Google Cloud Platform.
“We have modernized the IT architecture with Cloud Connected Flash. Powerful AI and high-performance applications with the world’s fastest enterprise all-flash array, the AFF A800 end-to-end NVMe.
“The NetApp ONTAP 9.4 storage OS improves performance, efficiency and data protection, also providing the industry’s first enterprise 30TB SSDs. It enables GDPR compliance and secures the data. New, intelligent cloud services further reduce TCO. The Active IQ provides insights for higher operational efficiency.
“We have also announced the NetApp Cloud Insights – Hybrid Cloud ITIM, delivered via SaaS. It improves customer satisfaction, pro-actively prevents failures, and optimizes to reduce cost. We have automated the tamper-proof retention of critical financial data.
“We are now accelerating our data visionary footprint in India. We have the largest R&D teams for NetApp in India.”
Victor Peng, president and CEO of Xilinx Inc. unveiled his vision and strategy to enable the “adaptable, intelligent world.” Xilinx moves beyond the FPGA to deliver a completely new category of highly flexible and adaptive processors and platforms that will allow for rapid innovation across a wide array of technologies.
Peng’s strategy involves three key points:
* Emphasis on data center acceleration.
* Accelerating growth in core markets.
* Introducing the Adaptive Compute Acceleration Platform (ACAP).
Let’s find out what’s the new innovation around data center acceleration.
Peng said: ” In a data center, there are three areas that need to be in acceleration — compute, storage, and network. Xilinx already provides FPGA-based acceleration solutions for storage and network. A recent major trend is compute. Many data center users would like to use compute resource for a broad set of applications in the emerging era of Big Data and artificial intelligence, like video transcoding, database, data compression, search, AI inference, genomics, machine vision, etc.
“These applications are not fit for the CPU architecture. So, markets need to have an application-specific acceleration solution.”
Next, how is Xilinx looking to accelerating growth in core markets? Peng added: “In the core market, it is not direct-related acceleration. All Core markets that Xilinx has highlighted are important for our current and future businesses. Xilinx keeps investing in these areas as well. Of course, these applications will use cloud/data center for their businesses. Xilinx Acceleration solution also helps them to provide adaptable compute acceleration platform.
Lastly, what is the Adaptive Compute Acceleration Platform (ACAP), and the range of applications and workloads for ACAP!
Peng noted, “ACAP will cover a broad set of applications in the emerging era of big data and artificial intelligence, like video transcoding, database, data compression, search, AI inference, genomics, machine vision, etc.”
As for the outlook for the global semiconductor industry in 2018, Xilinx declined to comment. However, some analysts would have an opinion.
According to Malcolm Penn, CEO, Future Horizons, UK, the global semiconductor industry will see 21.1 percent growth and is likely to reach $499.973 billion in 2018! “Year 2018 will see a continuation of the growth with our official forecast at 21 percent,” said Penn. There will be further double digit growth, barring economic collapse. This recovery has nowhere near yet run its course.
In 2017, the global semiconductor industry grew 22 percent hitting $413 billion ($415 billion upside).
The 2018 capex drivers include node migration from 16nm/14nm To 10nm/7nm logic nodes, 3D NAND, where Samsung alone will spend a staggering $14 billion, following $26 billion total In 2017, including 3D NAND, DRAM ($7 billion) and foundry ($5 billion).
China remains a hotbed of activity in fab equipment spending, with multinational and domestic chipmakers building new fabs. EUV lithography is moving closer to production. Traditional lithography with multiple patterning will dominate front-end equipment makers demand. 200mm fab capacity will remain tight in 2018, prompting the need for 200mm equipment, but 200mm tools will be hard to find.
Entering 2018, a global financial crisis is unlikely. However, China debt and new borrowing is worryingly high. Any slowdown in China growth likely to impact elsewhere.
There is also a potential risk of 2007-09 Eurozone crisis. Big economy with slow growth/high public debt loses market confidence and/or needs bail out too big for Germany to stomach. Middle East conflicts could easily cause oil prices to soar, leading to recession in developed economies.
Further, central banks could trigger downturn. There can also be UK/EU/Global Brexit peripheral economic damage and fallout. No deal is better than a bad deal political brinkmanship. Forecast rests on assumption that major policy mishaps are avoided, and there are positive ongoing economic relationship between UK/EU. There is no significant increase/change in global economic barriers.
As for technology trends, Moore’s Law is still shrinking, and the hype’s exploding. There is still more hype than substance even in technical conferences. In logic devices, silicon area is ceasing to be the prime cost setter. Advances in design (using variance tools) and production (using metrology) mean that yields now so good that it can be worth using a larger die to remove a few process steps.
The ‘X nm’ or ‘node Y’ designations are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Many IC designs are so interconnect limited that smallest transistors are only needed in critical areas of speed or power. Intel pulled away a little due to better metallisation process. Samsung and TSMC are fast followers, but definitely need some divergence in processes again – so they are no longer clones of each other.
The exception is GlobalFoundries. As the smallest company, they need to focus on a single process. Others, including China, don’t spend enough on process R&D. Intel’s 10nm node is the first logic process to exceed the 100 million transistors per sq mm mark. There is still a 12-layer metallisation process, plus Fin and contacted gate. The industry seems to have stalled at 12-layers of metal. Is it impossible to reach layers higher than this, without actually reducing density?
Intel used cobalt for the first two layers of metallisation where all the short inter-gate connections are made. Cobalt provides a more reliable and repeatable conductivity in short interconnects where resistance of the contact dominates, not interconnect length. Another cobalt advantage is that it reduces electromigration. Instead of FEOL (front end of line), BEOL (back end of line) expertise will be the future semiconductor company key differentiator.
EUV (extreme ultraviolet lithography) is now cost effective. There will be new techniques with immersion being used at 10/12nm and beyond. Most layers will stay with 193nm immersion lithography, wherever possible.
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SAP announced the creation of a digital ecosystem with the SAP Leonardo portfolio, exclusively for India. SAP Leonardo is a digital innovation system for rapid, scalable transformation. It includes analytics, blockchain, machine learning, IoT, Big Data, data intelligence and SAP cloud platform using design thinking services. Bill McDermott, CEO, SAP, says, “SAP Leonardo will unlock the full potential of the intelligent enterprise.”
Deb Deep Sengupta, President and MD, SAP India Subcontinent, said, there are four traits that set the top 100 global companies from the rest, and have a digital mindset. These traits are:
* The companies are focused on true transformation.
* The companies invest in bimodal architecture.
* The companies transform customers facing function first.
* The companies are talent driven.
The mantra for achieving digitization is by intelligently connecting people, things and businesses to drive the outcome. Sengupta cited examples of Jio, Tata Group and Trenitalia, Italy. He added: “IoT sensors report issues in real-time for Trenitalia. The maintenance costs are down 8-10 percent using this process. SAP is also driving the IoT revolution. We plan to invest Euro 2 billion in IoT till 2020.”
Sengupta outlined the the architecture for doing digital today, from S/4 HANA to SAP Leonardo, on to SAP IoT Connect 365, and on to the Intelligent Edge.
SAP Leonardo delivers new capabilities
Neeraj Athalye, Head – S/4HANA I GST Adoption I Leonardo, SAP Indian Subcontinent, said: “Leonardo is a digital innovation system. The innovation needs to result in tangible benefits. A company also needs to integrate.”
SAP Leonardo delivers new capabilities in machine learning, IoT, Big Data, and analytics. It is open, extendable and ready to be woven into every facet of your business. SAP Leonardo also allows for rapid implementation and seamless scaling the existing SAP platform and application portfolio.
There are all the ingredients to make an innovative business process. Customers solve all common problems. All of the components have been added to the accelerator. An accelerator can be used to redirect maintenance needs, optimizing inventory levels, and ensure consistent temperatures with pre-set tolerances.
SAP IoT Connect 365
SAP IoT Connect 365 is a managed, cloud-based service that simplifies IoT connectivity for enterprises, government and people. The solution makes it easy for enterprises to connect their IoT devices and gateways over cellular networks, through a web GUI or a web service API. A part of the Leonardo technical services, this solution was first launched at SAPPHIRE, and represents tremendous opportunity for mobile operators.
Through SAP IoT Connect 365, SAP provides full connectivity management ranging from provisioning and activating SIM cards to defining usage thresholds for devices or groups of devices to streamline their data consumption. By using a neutral SIM card, enterprises will be able to forego lock-ins to a single mobile operator and benefit from the use of the radio network of operators that will be capable of giving the best price/performance for their needs.
What sets this solution apart is the simple business model, ease of integration, better management of connection costs and a mobile data service that leverages technologies to their best possible use. The solution has a number of customers in trial and one of the first ones to use it is a global automotive customer that is utilizing the SAP IoT Connect 365 to connect their test fleets.
SAP IoT Connect 365, delivers choice and flexibility to enterprises, laying the foundation for a well-connected, cost-efficient, and secure environment.
Athalye added: “We make the enterprises connect their devices over the cellular network. Data must be encrypted and secure. We follow all of the global norms of data security. Data does not understand boundaries and should be governed. SAP has stringent norms for data center approvals.
“Our core is also GST compliant. Customers are filing their GST returns as per the Indian norms. On-premise ERP, digital compliance and GSTN are integrated. In fact, every SAP customer is GST compliant.”
Standard Chartered Bank is developing the power of the interconnected strategy. StanChart is also redefining banking with connected thinking. Digital is combining with technology to trigger different touch points. Standard Chartered Bank also opened its new Global Business Services (GBC) center in Bangalore, early this month.
Kwan Chee Sun, Head, Standard Chartered Global Services, India, said that the fourth industrial revolution — the digital age — blurs the lines between digital, biological, etc. The bulk of the increase will happen in the technology space. He referred to Smile To Pay, a service offered by KFC and AliPay started in China.
Dr. Michael Gorriz, Group CIO, said that Standard Chartered had been discussing the future of banking for ages. How will StanChart look like 10 years down the road?
He said: “Five years ago, smartphones became pervasive and changed the face of banking. Banking is about basic services — store, lend and borrow money. We are now experiencing a world of digitised money. Technology has broken down the barriers. In future, digital will be dominant in bank-customer relations. Data and analytics will help banks to serve customers better in the future. We are now investing US$ 3 billion in improving our global footprint.
“We partner with fintech companies and incorporate them into our atmosphere. We have also built up an accelerator lab. Currently, we have a challenge with legacy systems. In the future, we would like an adaptive landscape. Investment in APIs is critical.”
Trends in banking
Designed for SMEs, Standard Chartered’s Straight2Bank (S2B) is a fully-integrated Internet banking platform that allows you to perform all your transaction and information.
Talking about technology trends in banking, he said: “The Straight2Bank app has an interface for commercial and corporate customers. Digital payments are engrained into the interface. There will be data-driven business models. Big Data can help us gaining insights into the real needs of customers. Next, fraud detection is important for us. Also, blockchain is helpful in bringing transparency into banking.”
Gorriz noted that StanChart currently operates in 68 countries. The learnings among the different markets are exchanged quickly. StanChart supports over 9 million customers today in retail banking.
James Dolphin, CIO, Retail, Private Banking and Wealth Management, said that banks create and convey trust, adding: “Cavalier people generally write the best software. We are now competing for software engineering talent.” He added that banks had been mistrustful to open source for a very long time. That scenario was changing.
Dolphin noted that the current scenario of software development resembled the waterfall vs. agile development of software. Digital product owners tell the team what needs to be done. The team of engineers have two weeks to change their minds, if needed. “We are now looking at areas where the engineers and software developers can run speed, or, be on a run-on condition. Our engineers should have the ability to create something very quickly.”
In a presentation made via video, Tom Siebel, CEO, C3 IoT, said that IoT is about the sensoring of value chains. Smart, connected products are today transforming companies. The C3 IoT platform allows the company to collect and analyze data.
Focus on data
Shameek Kundu, chief data officer, Standard Chartered Bank, during a chat, said: “Data will be very important. We are working on expanding the credit transaction data. We are also working toward building a safer infrastructure for the bank. In Singapore, we have combined geospatial infrastructure with real-time offers. This exercise is building on the data asset.”
Regarding the smaller traders, he said: “We can bring small manufacturers into our stream. Having access to good data will help us in expanding credit. Technology can play a big role in all of this. Our strengths are the advantage of investing in technology and improving on our footprint.”
As for blockchain, he noted: “Blockchain is a way to build trust. We have invested in Ripple, and worked with AIG. Our priority remains to upgrading on services and technology to serve customers.” Standard Chartered Bank made a strategic investment in Ripple, a leading distributed ledger company, last September. The investment will accelerate the Bank’s digitisation agenda in distributed ledger technology as it explores new ways of adding value to its clients and the industry.
He continued: “We actually went open source in banking. As the customers’ needs evolve, there will be a need to invest in technology. We recognize that we have to work at the customers’ requirements and then, meeting them. Technology companies are also building specific solutions to support for our services.”
SAP India recently collaborated with ITC and L&T Public Charitable Trust to launch ‘code unnati’ a multi-year, collaborative, digital literacy and software skills development initiative in India.
code unnati has six partners – NASSCOM Foundation, HOPE Foundation, Pratham InfoTech Foundation, Agasatya International Foundation, Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, and UNDP India.The initiative aims to achieve the UN’s sustainable goals of: no poverty, quality education, decent work and economic growth, and partnerships for the goals.
In the pilot phase till next year, the initiative will focus on the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, as well as the urban disadvantaged demographies in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Vizag and Hyderabad.
Innovations through collaboration – Making of a digital literate society
There was a panel discussion, titled ‘Innovations through collaboration – Making of a digital literate society’. Shrikant Sinha, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation, said that the collaborations themselves need to be scaled up.
Dr. Madhav Chavan, founder, Pratham Foundation, said that optimum results have to be defined. He urged for digital literacy to go mobile.
Clement Chauvet, chief-skills and business development, UNDP India, noted that by using Project Disha, UNDP has managed to put 1 million girls/women to have some opportunity in life. He added that there is a need to bridge the information gap. There is also a need to ensure that the recepients were digitally literate as well. There should be a practical, blended element to spread literacy.
Ms Gayatri Mishra Oleti, senior deputy GM and head Operations, L&T Public Charitable Trust, said there are many ITC applications and all had benefitted. The question is: how do we reach out to the last mile people?There is a need to partner with the local governments.
Dr. Asheesh Ambasta, exective VP and head of Social Investments, ITC Ltd, said that multi-stakeholder partnerships are of importance. According to him, the learning with multiple partners is how do you align them with the set of project priorities? There is a need to identify roles for each partner, and set up a mechanism to review the program regularly.
Krishnan Chatterjee, head of marketing, SAP Indian Sub-continent, added that there is something empowering about technology. It can reduce inefficiencies and waste. He cited the example of Kolkata’s Maatir Manush, a program where they photograph 3-5 million farmers regarding crop queries.
Deb Deep Dasgupta, president and MD, SAP Indian Sub-continent, said that digital India promises that India will go on to become the world’s third-largest digital economy by 2025-30. However, lot of work needs to be done as only 10 percent of the Indian population is digitally literate.
He said that code unnati is India’s first-ever corporate-citizen initiative. These are:
a) Provide employable software IT skills for youth and women
b) Digital literacy for all
c) Provide employment to at least 50 percent of the youth trained
d) Digtal enablement of the Gram Panchayats.
How digital empowerment will make India more inclusive
There was a second panel discussion on ‘How digital empowerment will make India more inclusive.’
CT Sadanandan, VP Corporate Services & CSR, Tata Communications, said that awareness and the availability of an infrastructure should be present. Stakeholders at corporate India can make a difference.
Ms Kabi Sharman, India head, Pyxera Global, said corporate skills and knowledge are not being shared by the NGOs. There is also a need to understand people’s lives better by interacting with the local population.
Ajith Basu, Agasathya International Foundation, pointed out two key questions, namely, who are we going to teach, and how can we enable a child to learn! The idea is to inspire learning. There must be more collaborative learning.
Ian Correa, board member, HOPE Foundation, said there is a need to focus on the journey itself. And, if possible, to acquire special skills. The poor people of India require opportunities. Together, we can plug the gaps.
Mahantesh GK, CEO, Samarthanam Trust for Disabled, said the acceptance of being disabled is itself key. Technology and opportunity go together. Digital revolution has already brought massive progress. More needs to be done.