By Christian Heidarson, Gartner Group March 13, 2006 (12:11 PM), EE Times
Design houses specializing in analog and mixed-signal design are experiencing a strong demand for their services. The reasons are twofold.
Firstly, there is a worldwide shortage of analog designers. Secondly, integration of high-performance analog functions onto SoC devices is creating a strong demand for analog design skills within organizations that were previously focused on digital design. Design houses will be tempted to expand their workforce in order to grow their business in response to these good times. However, the design industry is characterized by booms and busts, with very little work outsourced when design activity is low. Design houses must plan ahead to keep their engineers busy during periods of low demand. Design houses in the digital realm can build up a supporting business in licensing out reusable IP. But this is far more difficult for analog designs, which are process-specific and difficult to modify. Building in reusability into analog designs is much more expensive and time consuming than for digital designs. The larger investments needed make analog IP a high-risk business. If design houses want to move into analog IP, it is therefore critical that they have good visibility into design trends.
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