Monday, February 06, 2012: Calixto Systems was established to excel in design, prototyping and the production of energy efficient embedded systems. They aim to help their clients translate their innovative product ideas into reality with the most optimum investment. Dilin Anand, EFY in an exclusive chat with Balamurali Divakaran and Jithu Niruthanbath…


Q. Could you introduce us to Calixto Systems?
A. Calixto Systems was established to provide world class development of hardware, software and firmware. The way we work is that we want to realise customers’ product dreams into reality at the most optimum cost and resources – both of which are important parts of the project. We specialise in System on Module SoM solutions.

Q. Why SoM?
A. What happens in the market is that typically customers spend a lot of time on debugging complicated silicon and related hardware. What we do is that we provide a module based design approach. This ensures that the time is not wasted on basic things like making the silicon work each time we do a product, instead of that the customers can spend time on applications which is key to product success. We don’t believe in charging huge amount for our services. That goes against the principle of getting the product to the market successfully. We want them to go to market and once they start selling in volumes we make our revenue. Our SoM allows us to reduce the time taken to get to the market. This makes us a product-enablement company.

Q. What would be your company’s USP?
A. The main aspects of our uniqueness is being module based (SoM) and having higher efficiency. Another important thing is the capability that the company brings in. Calixto is constituted by 5 very senior people in the industry, each having different experience of product development. So that will also be transferred to the products we design for our customers. The current industry scenario is such that the complexity of the devices are increasing and the newer product designing companies are not getting the right engineers. So here we come in and provide solutions for these companies by integrating all the complex parts into a very small form factor in a ready-to-use way. Therefore, what used to take almost 2 years to do is now being done in 6 months by us. Since we are also SoM vendors we are able to attain a very high volume pricing from the semi-conductor industry. This benefit is then passed onto our customers.

We also have set up an eco-system so that each and every section from industrial design to marketing is taken care of by the experts in that particular field. So, a client can come to us with a product concept and we will get it to reality. System design is our specialty.

Ultimately our clients get an almost ready product at a very competitive price. We also allow them to shorten their time to get to market and bring down their costs. This USP, though pretty common in other countries, is still a new idea in India.

Q. What are you currently working on?
A. We are amongst the first to bring the new AM335x Sitara ARM Cortex-A8 SoM to India. Texas Instruments gave us that opportunity, so you can understand the confidence that TI has placed on us. We will probably be releasing that by the end of the year. The AM335x is unique. This particular MPU is specifically for markets like industrial automation and smart grids. For these markets, the MPUs should have very long life and the right peripherals. So we pick up silicon like that.

According to TI, the AM335x Sitara is a Cortex A8 MPU at ARM9 pricing. That is the particular type of silicon we are looking for. Just using a Cortex A8 is not the answer. For instance, there are Cortex A8 MPUs available for 50$ but those will not work in this market. Pricing is important to hit the high volume market in India in different segments. This silicon also has the right peripherals: CAN, ADC, USB + PHY and two-port Gigabit Ethernet with IEEE1588 — to enable fast network connectivity and rapid data throughput, as well as connection to sensors, actuators and motor control. More importantly, it has PRU (Programmable Real-Time Unit) which allows us to create our own peripherals.

The previous silicon that we had used were ARM 9 based and it is capable of going up to 450MHz. There are 2 families – Sitara and Integra from TI. Sitara represented by AM18x family has around 3 types of silicon, ARM9 and beautiful peripherals. These peripherals are required for industrial segment. The next one which we use is Integra, which is ARM + DSP. The DSP here is a floating point + fixed point DSP which is very useful for many applications like power and audio. This is the type of silicon we pick up for SoM applications.

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