EBN editor-in-chief Hailey Lynne McKeefry has penned a piece pointing to the considerable benefits of open hardware, and in particular the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA), to the procurement process.

“It’s clear that open source hardware will have a ripple effect, not just on design, but also on procurement practices,” Hailey writes, citing industry experts including RISC-V Foundation executive director Rick O’Connor and Wave Computing’s Art Swift. “With so many organisations exploring the potential of the RISC-V ISA, procurement departments will likely be faced with an explosion of new sourcing alternatives. The list of contenders in the marketplace will range from young startup organization to veteran chip providers such as Marvel, Microchip Technology, NXP, Cadence and others.

“While electronics OEMs won’t necessarily upend their approved supplier lists, it’s likely that new products will appear on many bill of materials (BOM). Further, at least for some organisations, designing and implementing specialised chips is possible, with very little capital or operating expense expenditure required. Other organisations can work with IP development companies to get help in creating the chips they want.

“RISC-V, with its low-cost of entry and designing ease,” Hailey concludes, “creates an opportunity for OEMs and component makers to create more products with greater variety.”

Hailey’s full piece is available now on EBN Online.