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Driving Growth

The consumer and automobile markets will be key growth sectors for the semiconductor industry, according to speakers at the recent Semico Summitt in Arizona.

The consumer and automobile markets will be key growth sectors for the semiconductor industry, according to speakers at the recent Semico Summitt in Arizona.

More than 170 semiconductor industry executives gathered at the recent Semico Summitt held in Arizona to share their views on the market opportunities taking shape this year. Acknowledging that demand for “bread-and-butter” products like computers and cell phones will continue, but not be the mainstay of the industry, this group of leaders were in agreement that consumers will drive demand for semiconductor chips.

The keynote speaker was LSI Logic chairman and chief executive officer Wilfred Corrigan (one of European Semiconductor Magazines Top Dogs - see March 2005 issue). He cited faster consumer adoption rates of new electronic entertainment devices and noted that consumers took an average of 2,000 photos over the course of their lifetime using old 35mm cameras. With the introduction of digital cameras, that average soared to 50,000 photos over a lifetime.

Corrigan also encouraged attendees to build their markets in geographical regions like Eastern Europe, India and China where the number of consumers is quickly rising, along with the appetite for innovative electronic devices.

Michel Mayer, chairman and CEO of Freescale Semiconductor, gave the second keynote. He said: “While we, along with most forecasters, expect demand and revenues to tick back up next year, it seems likely that the long-term growth rate of our industry will slow somewhat in the years to come.”

He added that the semiconductor industry is maturing, making competitive performance the key to success. As products become more complex and offer more built-in features, Mayer said that the industry would need to cooperate through corporate alliances and through the creation of open standards.

Offering a new look at a market that is often taken for granted, Bosch, Freescale, Infineon and Philips entertained attendees with a vision of the car of the future. Freescales Paul Grimme said cars will become “autonomous vehicles” with five key semiconductor-based features: sensors to absorb their environment; processors that will determine a course of action; networks to link and coordinate functions; smart power to control those functions; and what he termed “total reliability” to create driver trust in the vehicle.

Dr Reinhard Ploss of Infineon Technologies said that consumers seek primarily safety, performance and comfort from their cars. Echoing these sentiments, Bill Galione of Philips Semiconductors said drivers and passengers both want to “feel at home” in their car and “enjoy” their time on the road.

Dr Claus Schmidt of Bosch reminded the audience that while automotive manufacturers were increasingly relying on semiconductors to deliver these comfort features, electronics companies needed to ensure that their devices must achieve “zero defects”.

Summarising the themes highlighted at the conference, Jim Feldhan, president and CEO of Semico Research, said: “Industry leaders are looking to leverage last years solid growth into a sustainable formula thats immune to economic and market shifts”.

He continued: “What we heard over and over this week is that opportunities will come in the form of many markets and that we should not look for one single product to fuel our collective growth.

“I believe well see that companies are targeting their markets with a sharper strategic eye than in the past. This is the advantage and wisdom of a maturing industry.”

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AngelTech Live III will be broadcast on 12 April 2021, 10am BST, rebroadcast on 14 April (10am CTT) and 16 April (10am PST) and will feature online versions of the market-leading physical events: CS International and PIC International PLUS a brand new Silicon Semiconductor International Track!

Thanks to the great diversity of the semiconductor industry, we are always chasing new markets and developing a range of exciting technologies.

2021 is no different. Over the last few months interest in deep-UV LEDs has rocketed, due to its capability to disinfect and sanitise areas and combat Covid-19. We shall consider a roadmap for this device, along with technologies for boosting its output.

We shall also look at microLEDs, a display with many wonderful attributes, identifying processes for handling the mass transfer of tiny emitters that hold the key to commercialisation of this technology.

We shall also discuss electrification of transportation, underpinned by wide bandgap power electronics and supported by blue lasers that are ideal for processing copper.

Additional areas we will cover include the development of GaN ICs, to improve the reach of power electronics; the great strides that have been made with gallium oxide; and a look at new materials, such as cubic GaN and AlScN.

Having attracted 1500 delegates over the last 2 online summits, the 3rd event promises to be even bigger and better – with 3 interactive sessions over 1 day and will once again prove to be a key event across the semiconductor and photonic integrated circuits calendar.

So make sure you sign up today and discover the latest cutting edge developments across the compound semiconductor and integrated photonics value chain.


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