Socionext Case Study: How Did The Company Benefit From Joining The HD-PLC Alliance?

Logo of Socionext
By joining the HD-PLC Alliance, Socionext got the opportunity to connect and collaborate with other designers and manufacturers of HD-PLC technology

The global System-On-Chip (SoC) market is expected to reach $205.4 billion by 2023.

In this growing and increasingly competitive market, companies are continuously looking for ways to elevate their products and rise above their rivals.

Socionext, a leading provider of industrial and consumer SoC solutions, chose to do this by joining the HD-PLC Alliance  and implementing HD-PLC technology in their products.

In this blog post, we will explore the company’s:

  • Profile and mission
  • Products and applications of HD-PLC technology
  • Motivations for joining the HD-PLC Alliance
  • Benefits of the Alliance membership

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Socionext: Company Background & Overview

Socionext was founded in 2015 through the merger of SoC divisions of Fujitsu Limited and Panasonic Corporation.

Socionext, although a newly formed SoC company, has over 40 years of experience in product development, providing countless high-end and state-of-the art solutions to different market segments and applications.

The company specializes in designing SoC solutions for a variety of industries and applications, including:

  • The automotive industry
  • Industrial automation
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Radar sensing
  • Data centers & networking
  • Smart devices

The key strengths of the company’s SoC business are concentrated in the following focus areas:

  • Innovating SoC design: Engineers make up almost 80% of the company’s global workforce. This important factor results in one of the company’s main priorities: to advance the design of SoC systems. The innovation areas that the Socionext engineers focus on include optimizing the power consumption and the size of chipsets, and continuously improving performance and cost-effectiveness.
  • Improving SoC integration capabilities: The company has extensive experience in developing system equipment for SoC integration. Drawing from that experience, the company offers SoC architectures and designs that are optimized for specific products or applications, such as data center servers or CCTV systems.
  • Advancing the standards of SoC connectivity: SoC solutions developed by the company offer performance that can satisfy even the most demanding applications, providing world-leading technology solutions in the Automotive, Industrial and Networking domain, giving a better quality experience to the customer.

How Does Socionext Apply The HD-PLC Technology?

HD-PLC has many use cases across various industries.

Industrial facilities such factories, stores and even hospitals can implement HD-PLC to satisfy their high security and reliability requirements.

Additionally, HD-PLC is suitable for commercial or household applications: residential equipment, HVAC, household appliances, cameras, presence sensors and more.

Socionext first encountered HD-PLC technology while exploring a new business strategy when it was founded.

Since the company recognized the potential of HD-PLC technology and joined the HD-PLC Alliance, it has entered a close collaboration with other Alliance members to research and develop potential new applications of HD-PLC technology.

One such target is to facilitate the application of long distance communication, with the latest generation of HD-PLC technology. This standard-complied solution is currently being developed by Socionext. To verify the field applicability, Socionext has conducted a test verification with the developed Proof-of-Concept (PoC) system; this test was also done with two Alliance members: MIRAIT Corporation and NURI Telecom, as well as with MMD inc.

The goal of the project is to create a networking solution that will help accelerate the digital transformation of the telecommunication industry and foster a wider adoption of technologies, such as automation, IoT and AI.

Within the scope of the project, the company is developing an LSI to be implemented in the next generation of HD-PLC networks.

Socionext is relying on its advanced SoC expertise and technology know-how to develop a solution that will offer unparalleled capabilities for long-distance communication and network performance, while minimizing power consumption and enhancing the competitive advantages for customers.
The prospective applications of the technology can be traced back to the core focus areas of each participating company — MIRAIT’s communication infrastructure solutions, MMD’s expertise in community development projects such energy management systems and NURI Telecom’s smart grid solutions.

Industrial automation and IoT solutions
Socionext’s SoC solutions are implemented in a variety of industries, such as industrial automation and IoT

 

Why Did Socionext Join The HD-PLC Alliance?

So, what motivated Socionext to join the HD-PLC Alliance?

The company began to notice a trend shortly after it was founded — that establishing an effective and seamless communication network is essential for facilitating the digital transformation (DX).

Digital Transformation is where various information devices using technologies such as IoT and IIoT are be adopted in order to improve the work efficiency and reduce more human efforts.

In 2019, the number of IoT-connected devices reached 5.7 billion. By 2030, this number is expected to reach a whopping 24.1 billion.

Despite this impressive growth, most IoT devices and infrastructures, such as smart home and building automation systems, are still powered by two dominant communication technologies — Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

When the company considered the possibilities for further expanding its presence in the IoT market, they realized that there must be another communication technology that could support such applications.

This technology turned out to be HD-PLC.

HD-PLC alleviates multiple drawbacks of wireless networking standards, such as limited range, security, unstable signal strength and excessive cost.

After evaluating the advantages and potential of HD-PLC technology in the IoT market, the company joined the HD-PLC Alliance with the goal of adopting the technology and implementing it in the company’s product range.

IoT-connected devices using HD-PLC technology
A wider adoption of the HD-PLC technology may help boost the global number of IoT-connected devices over the next several years

 

How Did Socionext Benefit From Joining The Alliance?

The company has been able to gain deeper insight not only into HD-PLC technology, but also into the entire HD-PLC industry after joining the HD-PLC alliance.

Being a part of the Alliance gave the company the opportunity to communicate more closely with manufacturers and adopters of HD-PLC at all levels of the supply chain.

These companies include not only the other Alliance members, but also their clients as well as their competitors — anyone who shares an interest in the technology.

Stakeholders of the HD-PLC technology from all over the world provided the company with a valuable connection and strategic insights needed to successfully develop and market HD-PLC-powered solutions to international clients.

The company benefited from learning about the different applications of HD-PLC through online and real-life seminars, conferences and social events organized by the Alliance.

As a company that is positioned at the very top of the HD-PLC supply chain, Socionext aims to collaborate as closely as possible with other Alliance members, HD-PLC vendors, and manufacturers.

The goal of the company’s alliance membership is being able to develop universal HD-PLC-powered solutions, with best performance and feature sets, that can be applied in as many use cases as possible across various markets and industries.

Wrapping Up On Socionext’s HD-PLC Alliance Journey

The IoT market is growing rapidly and with it more and more devices, applications or networks need to be connected, controlled or monitored.

Socionext — a company with a rich background in SoC designs — set out to empower and support this new technology with its various applications with best matching and highly competitive next generation SoC solutions.

HD-PLC turned out to be a perfect fit to enable and support IoT solutions and prompted the company to join the HD-PLC Alliance with the goal of gaining a deeper insight into the technology.

By joining the Alliance, the company gained access to unique industry insights and got to closely collaborate and interact with other HD-PLC manufacturers, vendors, and stakeholders.

The networking opportunities and insights that the company received after joining the Alliance are now materializing in the form of the solution that is now developing by Socionext. It is embedded with the next-generation long-distance PLC standard, and Socionext is in the phase of verifying the applicability, together with other Alliance members.

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