Lattice Semiconductor Corporation offers a broad range of programmable logic devices (PLDs), including field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), complex programmable logic devices (CPLDs), etc. Its products are sold in India through an extensive network of sales representatives and distributors, primarily to OEM customers in communications, computing, and industrial, consumer, automotive, medical and military end markets. In an interaction with Srabani Sen of Electronics Bazaar, Siddhartha Mohanty, general manager, Lattice Semiconductor Corporation, India, highlighted the company’s India specific marketing strategies, besides discussing how its products are optimised to help designers and OEMs to develop products for the local market.
EB: How important is the Indian market for Lattice?
We attach a lot of importance to India’s growing programmable logic market, and over the years, we have invested heavily in building and expanding our presence in India. For example, we have dedicated teams for sales, applications engineering and development, in India. The programmable market is one of the fastest growing semiconductor market in India. The increase in OEM activity, as well as the growing trend of outsourcing hardware and systems designs to India, have led to a leap in programmable logic design in India. Lattice can directly address the requirements of the market with its strong array of programmable and mixed signal devices. Hence, the Indian market is very important for us. India has responded enthusiastically to our products, and we are rapidly expanding our organisation here to meet very strong customer demand. However, rapid expansion will not compromise Lattice’s long established emphasis on high quality and impeccable customer service.
EB: What are your views on the programmable logic device (PLD) market in India and its growth? What are the factors that drive the growth in this market?
The PLD market is one of the fastest growing semiconductor market segments in India. The growth of this market is driven by increasing OEM activity here. This, in turn, is driven by the rapid growth of the Indian economy, which has led to increased consumption in all areas like telecom, industrial electronics, automation, medical electronics, computing, consumer durables, government, etc.
EB: Are you adopting any unique market strategies to capture the Indian PLD market?
Lattice has been a leader in providing low cost, low power programmable logic and mixed signal products to its customers. Lattice’s devices also have a higher level of integration, which provides our customers with very high value. For example, the new MachXO2 PLD family has a built-in voltage regulator, on-chip oscillator, high end features like PLLs, embedded and Flash memory, and it integrates additional functions by using hardened I2C, SPI and a timer/counter. We also provide our customers with a fully integrated development software platform, development kits, and a host of reference designs to help accelerate their evaluation and development, reducing their time to market.
Lattice is focused on winning customers in key focus markets like telecom infrastructure, industrial engineering, computing, medical electronics and consumer durables. These are also key markets for programmable devices in India. Lattice’s products are designed from the ground up, to address customer requirements for these specific markets. We work closely with key PLD customers in India to gather their product design requirements and we incorporate their feedback when we design our PLD devices. We provide our customers in India with differentiated high value programmable and mixed signal solutions to meet their logic and board design requirements.
EB: The Indian PLD market is different from the global market in terms of its unique needs. How are your products customised for the needs of local customers?
Lattice PLDs are designed from the ground up to provide customers low cost, low power, easy to use devices with a high level of systems integration. These attributes address the requirements of the Indian customers. Lattice also provides customers free, easy to use, fully integrated design software to enable them to design with Lattice PLDs. In order to accelerate time to market, Lattice provides customers with low cost hardware development platforms and a wide variety of free reference designs and demos. These are all meant to address the important requirements of our Indian customers.
EB: Recently, you have launched the XO2 PLD family. How will it benefit designers?
The MachXO2 family has been developed with two main markets in mind — the systems market and the consumer market. The systems market comprises telecom infrastructure, computing, high end industrial and high end medical applications. The key requirements here include a large number of low cost IO, a robust design, and reduction of board area through functional integration. For the consumer market, which includes applications such as smartphones, GPS devices, mobile computing, digital cameras, games and toys, the key requirements include low cost per LUT, low power, smaller footprints and a rapid and reliable supply chain. The MachXO2 family has been designed to address these key design requirements.
MachXO2 devices use a cost optimised 65-nm Flash process that enables you to integrate more functionality in a smaller die. By using lowest cost BGA packages such as 8×8 csBGA, 4×4 ucBGA and 2.5×2.5 WLCSP packages, we were able to drive down the costs further, while offering customers small sized packages, thus reducing board space requirements. It also offers key features typically found in high end FPGAs, like PLLs, embedded and Flash memory, and a flexible IO banking structure that provides a large number of low cost IOs. Thus, the MachXO2 will be able to address applications previously addressed by low-end FPGA families.
Another key requirement for programmable users, especially in consumer applications, is low power. With the silicon process and design optimisation, we have reduced the power on MachXO2 devices by more than 100X compared to our earlier generation MachXO. Utilising a low power 65 nm process, variable channel lengths, optimised transistors, selection and power management features, MachXO2 devices deliver power as low as 19uW for 256 LUTs. In order to maximise design flexibility and to meet the varied requirements of our customers, MachXO2 devices are offered in three versions—a low power ZE option and high performance HC or HE options.
EB: How is the Mach XO2 family of products optimised to help designers and OEMs to develop products for the Indian market?
The telecom infrastructure, industrial electronics/automation, and the medical, computing, and consumer verticals are the key markets in India. As described earlier, the MachXO2 family is designed to address key requirements for these markets and hence is optimised to help designers and OEMs to develop products for the Indian market.
EB: What are the USPs of this technology?
Low costs, low power and a high level of integration provided by the MachXO2 are key parameters required by programmable users in the India market.
EB: How much of Lattice’s revenue is spent on R&D every year? Is there a specific focus for the company’s R&D spends?
We spend approximately 20 per cent of our revenue each year on R&D. Our focus is on low density PLDs, mid-range FPGAs and mixed signal products such as our platform manager, power manager and clock manager devices.
EB: What efforts do you make to understand your clients’ requirements?
We continuously collect customer feedback on our customers’ programmable logic design requirements. This is done through our sales and distribution teams worldwide. Our marketing teams also visit customers regularly to understand their requirements and collect feedback.
EB: How many sales offices do you have in India and where are they located? What percentage of Lattice’s sales go through the distribution channel?
We have sales offices in Bengaluru and the NCR. We have a strong distribution channel in India with sales offices in all the key cities in India.