Compiled By Deborah Austin System-on-a-chip (SOC) technology is growing explosively -- but manufacturers must overcome design, process, and testing challenges to reap competitive success. So says Frost & Sullivan in its new research report, "World Consumer System-on-a-Chip Markets." SOC involves putting the technologies and functions of an entire system on a single chip. The industry generated year-2000 revenues of nearly $2 billion -- a 153% increase over 1999 -- says the report, which projects $7.5-billion-plus in SOC revenues by 2003. However, shrinking time-to-market and spiraling non-recurring engineering costs demand design productivity be improved. Many firms now are targeting a three-month design cycle. Some effective improvement tools include intellectual property reuse and codesign practices, says Frost & Sullivan. The move to platform development -- building customized SOC devices using a semifinished customer-non-specific platform -- also helps boost productivity. Manufacturers can maximize return-on-investment by selling similar chips across products and applications, says Frost & Sullivan industry expert Veerender Kaul. Strategic market consulting/training firm Frost & Sullivan is headquartered in San Jose.