As I said when I first wrote about Lattice Semiconductor and its new management team at its May 2019 Financial Investor Day here, one of CEO Jim Anderson’s many goals was to increase velocity of new products, provide more of a solution, and leverage key market trends like the need more increased security and improved machine vision. I have closely tracked the company’s new products and you can here. We have seen a flurry of new hardware, software, and services that make it look like a new company.
This month, Lattice launched a couple of new additions to its solutions stacks, mVision 2.0 and Sentry 2.0. Lattice’s solutions stacks can address an extensive scope ranging from cyber resilience in servers to embedded safety and automation ISP solutions. Both updated stacks are follow on’s to mVision 1.0 and Sentry 1.0 (here) that launched in 2020. These new products are designed to offer enhanced cyber resilience, support for new image sensors, and other expanded capabilities vs. first-generation mVision and Sentry products. I believe the new additions meet the dynamic needs of customers as security and ISP applications change.
With that preamble, let’s dig into the announcements.
Expanding mVision Solutions Stack 2.0
Lattice’s first announcement was its new mVision Solutions Stack 2.0. I’m not thinking of the mVision 2.0 as a brand new solutions stack but rather an updated version with support for new embedded vision applications. The solutions stack touches many embedded vision applications and expands Lattices’ presence in automotive, medical, industrial, and smart consumer systems. With mVision 2.0, it expands support for new image sensor modules and Image Signal Processing (ISP) Solutions. These new Lattice ISP solutions will be a broad range of image applications ranging from robotics to endoscopy cameras and others in between.
With mVision 2.0, the main upgrades that users can expect are new and enhanced Image Signal Processing (ISP) Solutions, more support for automotive, industrial, and medical apps, support for Lattice Propel Design Environment (PDE), and RISC-V Co-processing. For those that aren’t familiar with Lattice PDE, in short, it is a hardware design environment meant to speed up embedded processor development on Lattice FPGAs. The PDE tool includes sets for graphical and command-line tools as well.
The solutions stack parts can consist of custom design services, reference designs/demos, software tools, IP cores, and hardware platforms. In my opinion, the mVision Solutions Stack 2.0 includes the right mix of software, hardware, and services from Lattice. One thing I admire about this approach is the ability for customers to receive fully customized solutions. Lattice isn’t taking a one size fits all approach to mVision 2.0, which is excellent as the needs are all over the map.
Sentry Solutions Stack 2.0
The second product launch for Lattice was the updated Sentry 2.0 Solutions Stack. Like the previously launched Sentry 1.0, Sentry 2.0 will secure and protect server solutions against cybersecurity threats. The markets for this product’s firmware security solutions are vast and include communications, computing, industrial, automotive, and intelligent consumer markets. From talking with my server motherboard contacts in the ecosystem, I believe the company has been very successful with Sentry 1.0, affixing itself to most modern Intel-based Xeon designs.
As we know, firmware is a critical area of software to secure because of the growing frequency of firmware attacks by bad actors. Not only is the number of attacks increasing, but the attack vectors are continually changing and evolving as well. This uptick beckons the need for dynamic firmware security solutions that are updated often and pack in new security features with each new generation.
The new Sentry 2.0 Solutions Stack utilizes next-generation hardware Root-Of-Trust solutions. Sentry 2.0 also checks a couple of critical security boxes with compliance for NIST Platform Firmware Resiliency (PFR) Guidelines and support for 384-bit encryption, up from ECC-256 bit encryption from Sentry 1.0. With Sentry 2.0, developers can deploy the new system and cryptographic applications securely.
We have addressed what Sentry 2.0 is, but it worth touching on how it operates and secure server solutions from firmware attacks. Several new key features will make a Lattice customer’s system more cyber resilient. Lattice is doing this through 384-bit cryptography and support for Lattice Mach- NX FPGAs solutions. The 384-bit cryptography provides some serious firmware security, and it will likely be a prerequisite for many new server platforms. Another critical feature for Sentry 2.0 is 4x faster pre-boot authentication time. Fast boot times are crucial because the longer a system takes to boot and authenticate, the longer a system is exposed to firmware attacks. The faster a system can securely boot, the better. The Sentry 2.0 Solutions Stack’s last key feature is monitoring up to five firmware images in real-time. This firmware monitoring exists both at boot and during operation.
Just as important as these launches, are what it represents for Lattice Semiconductor. Cybersecurity threats, attack vectors, and Image Signal Processing are continually changing and evolving, and Lattice looks pretty committed to adapting and designing agile enough to deal with those changes. With Lattice designing fully customizable security and ISP solutions like mVision 2.0 and Sentry 2.0, the company’s customers are sure to reap the benefit if they buy-in.
From my vantage point, I see Lattice Semiconductor executing its product promises consistently, and the company’s focus on low-power programmable leadership looks more mature with every product generation. Great job, Lattice. If you doubt this analysis, look at the promises it made in its 2019 investor presentation and compare where the company is now. And, if you’re interested, tune into its 2021 investor conference here. I’ll “see” you there on May 11.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.