What am I talking about? Yesterday's IPextreme Constellations Conference at the TechMart in Santa Clara.
Why was it so cool? For one thing, it was fast-paced, informal, interactive, and fun. Really - and I am talking about a roomful of engineers discussing semiconductor IP - we had a good time.
But most of all it was informative. Representatives from each of the 10 companies in the Constellations program took turns presenting their product offerings - clearly and succinctly. No marketing mumbo-jumbo, no over-the-head obfuscating technical jargon. Each presenter clearly stated in everyday terminology what chip design challenge his company was tasked with solving and how his product(s) solved that problem.
Kudos to all the presenters - you all did a great job!
The result of that will certainly be an even better sharing of resources between the Constellations members - "No, we don't have IP for that problem, but I know who does." I think all member companies left the event with a stronger understanding of each others product offerings and the confidence that behind those products are a bunch of really smart people who know their customers' needs and are committed to their customers' success.
Things really got going at the afternoon technical panel discussion. The theme of the event was Trusting your IP Provider and few provocative questions from moderator Ron Wilson of EDN spurred some highly-charged comments from the IP consumers in the audience - challenging the panel on the topic of trust, from perspectives of both technical competency and ethical behavior. (These IP consumers were either doing really good role-play or did indeed have some truly challenging experiences with purchased IP.)
The panel responded to a series of what-if scenarios smartly and convincingly, clearly demonstrating their preparedness and commitment to supporting their IP users. Stories from both the panel and the audience involving both good and bad behavior on the part of both IP providers and IP consumers demonstrated that building trust is a two-way street requiring openness and honesty on both sides. At the end of the discussion, all agreed that the only way IP integration works is when the provider and integrator are committed to the project's success and, of course, open and honest when it comes to dealing with unexpected challenges.
The day concluded with a demo of technology interoperability involving products from a combination of Constellations companies. All-in-all it was a fun day away from the office and another step forward for the IP industry.