Posted September 25, 2017
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the price of an Alizem IP license ?
It depends on the product you are using:
- For "basic" blocks of IP like Alizem DC Motor Control Software, you can access a Demo License for 100$ or have full design & production license with source code included for under 1k$.
- For "advanced" blocks of IP like Alizem Software for Servo Drives Apps, you can access a demo License for 100$ or have a full design & production license (limited by a fixed number of units per year) for under 1k$.
- For "true innovation" blocks of IP like Alizem Software for Critical Apps, that's on a case by case basis.
In any case, our engagement is to provide you an extraordinary value against your best alternative. For more informations, please contact us.
2. Do you provide software source code ?
Yes. It depends on the product you are using:
- For "basic" blocks of IP like Alizem DC Motor Control Software, you can have full open source code by buying the "Source Code" software version.
- For "advanced" blocks of IP like Alizem Software for Servo Drives Apps, source code is not included with demo and design Licenses. However, source code is offered as an option with Production Licenses.
- For "true innovation" blocks of patented IP like Alizem Software for Critical Apps, full source code is provided once a Licensing Agreement is signed.
In all case where a reference design is provided with Alizem Software, the full source code of the reference design is provided.
3. Our electronic device provider is giving us motor control software source code for free, how Alizem compares to that ?
Alizem embedded software is differing from device provider motor control software source code in multiple manners:
- Non-motor control nor embedded software expertise required: Alizem embedded software comes with an easy-to-use software API with simple built-in functions that doesn't require motor control expertise or advanced embedded software to tune or to configure. Typical code provided by device providers needs advanced motor control AND embedded software expertise for any modification and for configuration and integration. With Alizem embedded software, if you need any special modification on the IP to fit your needs, we will be pleased to do so for you at a minimal fee through our engineering services.
- Electric Motor application-specific: Alizem software is optimally configured in terms of PWM, voltage/current control and fault detection functions for different electric motor control applications. For exemple, a same 500W PMSM motor is going to need different control software requirements whether it is used in a pump application, an automobile power-steering application or a washing machine application. Typical code provided by device providers is most of the time motor-specific, not motor application-specific.
- Easy debugging & safe integration: Alizem software comes with a bundle of functions that help you test all your system components before running the motor control software : power stage debugging function, transducer debugging functions & system protection functions (over voltage, over speed, etc.). Since those functions are not typically bundled with device provider's code, you need to develop and test them by yourself before actually running motor control software algorithms, which can be very long.
- Long-term maintenance: Alizem software is continuously maintained and updated over time with state-of-the art algorithms in the field of motor control and with the latest electronic design automation tools (EDA) on the market so you don't have to worry about motor control and focus on your true product differenciation. Using "free" code source, you need to maintain your own motor control expertise over time with all costs associted to it.
4. We are interested in one Alizem Motor Control embedded software IP product, but our current electronic device doesn't seem to be supported for the moment. Can you port Alizem IP product on any type of electronic device (FPGA, MCU, DSP) ?
- Yes, Alizem is "device-agnostic" and we will be pleased to do so for you at a minimum fee through our engineering services.
5. We currently have our own motor control IP that we have internally developped over the years but we need to port it onto a different device and at the same time, we want to have a couple of new features upgraded / developped. Can we work with you ?
- Yes, you can hire Alizem to maintain your own motor control IP over time to keep it up-to-date on your current device, to port it on one or many other devices and/or to add new motor control features. By leveraging Alizem engineering services, you benefit from a world-class team of motor control experts just for the time you need them: that's a great way to maintain expertise while also reducing costs.
6. We need motor control IP but we also need design services to build a complete solution, can you provide that ?
- Yes, we will be pleased to work with you in providing you a full solution - including Alizem software - but we will do so as-a-service by partnering with an established electronic design firm. This firm can be your preferred/existing electronic design firm or it can be one selected by Alizem that may have the best fit for your needs.
7. Your Alizem IP seems to fit our needs: what are the next steps ?
Great ! Here are the next step to evaluate and buy an Alizem IP license :
- Download a demo for evaluation: By following instructions in the provided user manual, you will be able to test the IP on your device's development platform or on your own electronic circuit. Since this is a demo version, the IP will work only for a limited time won't be suitable for production purposes. Upon satisfaction, you may now decide to buy a full license.
- Getting a full license: Simply get in touch with us and ask for a quote. If any engineering and integration support is needed to fully satisfy your needs, we will be pleased to do so for a minimal fee through our engineering services. Upon licensing agreement, we will provide you a full IP license via our secure servers.
8. Our application is not for motor control, can we do business with you ?
- Alizem is focused on power electronics applications: so if your application needs to control at least one power electronics device, Yes we will be pleased to work with you. On a larger extent, we will be interested to work with you if you need software to control any type of actuator (hydraulics / pneumatics valves, power cylinder, etc.) or if it is related to industrial electronics. In case of doubt, please contact us.
9. We have found some great motor control algorithm from at power electronics conference and we would like to integrate it in our product, how can we work with Alizem to do this ?
- A great amount of research is being made worldwide on power electronics applications and many of them are presented in international conference (e.g. IECON) or journal papers (e.g. IEEE Trans. on Industrial Electronics). If some of them may be beneficial to you, this is not a simple thing to take a new algorithm from a "paper" concept to a real system integration. Many practical aspects (context in which the algorithm as been design vs your own system context), legal aspects (IP licensing) and long term support aspects (you don't want to be supported by a Ph.D. student who won't be there in 5 years) needs to be considered. As your IP provider, Alizem can handle this job for you in getting those innovative algorithms in a format that is going to be easily handled by your engineering team for quick and easy integration.
10. We have never licensed IP, how does it work? What are the benefits for my company?
Read this excellent paper written by the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Office, a specialized agency of the United Nations). You can also read this other paper written by the Licensing Executive Society (LES).
11. What's the difference between Alizem (IP house) and an electronic product design house ?
Those are two types of business specialized in different aspects of electronic products design. While a design house will typically handle all aspects of the product (mechanical, electric, electronics and general embedded software), an IP house such as Alizem will handle only one specific part of the embedded software (power module / motor control drivers). The design of such drivers is so complex that a typical design house don't have such expertise in-house.
12. How does Alizem compare to other IP houses ?
There is two types of IP available for embedded system designers: (1) components IP and (2) system IP. Components IP are standard algorithms that may be use in a large range of different applications for various purposes (USB IP drivers, Ethernet IP drivers, FFT IP, etc.). They are very "horizontal" and have no "application-specific" requirements. On the other hand, system IP are focused on a particular vertical application (in Alizem's case power electronics apps) and encapsulate in one solution a great amount of "expert knowledge" that is not connected to the software side of the solution.
Ken Tallo, director of Technology Licensing Group at Intel Capital, did a great analogy on this by comparing IP offer to Home-Depot product offer: components IP being "lumber and nails" and system IP being "prefab kitchens".
13. I am a University professor and I am doing research in the field on power electronics. Over the years, we have developped many advanced power electronics systems and we would be interested in licensing those IPs. Can we work with Alizem to get those IPs on the market ?
Absolutely and we would be pleased to speak with you. Please contact us .
14. I would like to download an Alizem IP demo but it is restricted to qualified buyers only. What does it mean ?
It means that this particular Alizem IP demo is exclusively offered to established companies involved in the design of power electronics products that are seriously meant to be commercialized. Hence, some Alizem IP demo are not offered to: students, researchers, hobbyists, universities, semiconductor companies or companies that are not easily identifiable, etc. If you are not sure you are a qualified buyer, please contact us and we will be pleased to answer your question.
15. Is Alizem software can be qualified as "middleware" ?
Yes, being located between the hardware layer and the application layer, Alizem embedded software IP is actually middleware for power electronics applications.