Those of you following me on Twitter (@warren_savage, and @ipextreme) may have noticed from my tweets in recent weeks that something big is happening.
Today we are introducing Xena, a cloud-based platform that enables semiconductor companies and IP companies to manage their IP and IP business. You can visit our web site (www.ip-extreme.com) for more details about that, but what gets me excited about this is the prospect of enabling the kind of infrastructure the IP industry has lacked for all of its 15 years of existence.
Historically, most IP providers have delivered IP via FTP and supported customers via email and telephone. Most IP creators within semiconductor companies have relied on adhoc techniques for packaging and sharing their internally created IP and controlling access to externally purchased IP. The larger the company, the better and more sophisticated the techniques put in place to manage this. But smaller companies can never really afford to invest in these things.
I find the analogy not dissimilar to the music industry of the past where it was basically impossible for emerging artists to get a foothold in the industry without a record label to provide the funds to subsidize the making of a record and paying for the marketing and concert tour that would sell records. Without that infrastructure the artist was at a significant disadvantage regardless of their talent.
That all changed with the digital age and the invention of MP3’s. But having the music in digital form was only the first step. By having the music in digital format, it allowed the musicians to ride the wave of Moore’s law—increasing capability at reduced cost by making a whole variety of inexpensive digital music equipment available to musicians allowing them to self-produce their work at an affordable cost.
The next step of the evolution of the music industry was enabled by the internet to allow music to be exchanged. In this era, companies like Napster came into being to allow music to be shared (illegally), but that didn’t help the musician because they couldn’t control the access and therefore couldn’t effectively monetize their work.
The final piece of the evolution was the creation of the iPod/iTunes franchise by Apple. At last, there was an infrastructure that took advantage of all the power of technology and put it together in a platform that finally connected IP creators (musicians) to the IP users (listeners). That successful model has changed the world and still offers lessons today for its application in other fields. I think one of those is semiconductor IP.
While it is certainly a stretch that Xena might have an impact on the IP industry the way that iTunes had on the music industry, it’s great to be part of something that can similarly connect IP creators to IP users. With Xena we are able to share the technology we have developed at IPextreme over the last 7+ years in running our global IP business with other companies that can benefit equally from our investment. And with the cloud—it’s extraordinarily cost-efficient and scalable for all companies to now have a professional class infrastructure for running their companies in the age of the cloud.
If you are interested in what a Xena installation looks like, you can easily visit xena.ip-extreme.com and login as a guest user (free—of course!)