MIPI Alliance Works on New Specs for Audio and Sensors

In a conversation with Peter Lefkin and Michael Krell of the MIPI Alliance at MWC 2014 we discussed how this ten-year-old alliance was started to help camera chips in cell phones have a common standard and has subsequently evolved to over 45 published specifications for things like display, audio and yes cameras.

Formally, the areas of focus are Multimedia, Control/Data (RF/envelope tracking – many analog technologies), Chip-to-Chip (connecting the application processor to other systems) and Debug and Trace.

New for this show is SoundWire which is an interface for dealing with audio and microphones – this interface is better than their existing SlimBus which wasn’t designed for a digital, off-platform world (external speakers, etc). The new spec is lower cost, power and EMI. According to Krell, the 285 members of the alliance are the who’s who in the industry from handset and chip companies to IP. He continued to say that one of the company’s members had invented this spec and was shopping it around. Other companies suggested they bring it to MIPI so it would be non-proprietary and more importantly something with input from others – enabling it to have greater value to the industry as a whole.

This made it royalty-free, just like all the MIPI specs to the members of the association.

In other news – the company is focusing on sensors, they want to make them more power-friendly, in other words allowing them to be powered down when not in use, etc. There is now a working group focusing on this spec which is expected to be out by the end of the year. They think it will be evolutionary on top of the commonly used I2C. Krell discussed how Apple has fundamentally addressed the issue with a sensor hub and he said this may or may not be how the industry addresses the challenge.

From there he discussed the IoT market and how the sensor space is beginning to take interest in what the organization is doing. Obviously the wearable tech market is ripe for this organization as well.

To learn more about the Wearable Tech space, be at Wearable Tech Expo this July 23-24 in NYC and for IoT be at M2M Evolution this August in Las Vegas..


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