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SSIA: MEMS to go mainstream this year

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smartphone? tablets? automotive? power management? MEMS?

EE Times Asia reached out to the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association for their take on market trends and notable technologies to watch out for in 2013. SSIA discusses how the current economic environment is affecting its member companies and the steps it is taking to ensure the continued career growth of electronic engineers in the country.

EE Times Asia: What application market segments do you see as the most promising for 2013?

SSIA: Communication and consumer electronics appear globally as the most promising application market segments for 2013. Within that, portability and wireless connectivity are set to be the main growth drivers for the semiconductor industry. Other promising markets for 2013 are automotive and medical.

Portability has brought in an increasing importance of power management. Demand for power efficient and high performance solutions in portable devices will continue to drive the need for power management ICsand these represent a significant part of revenues from analogue IC vendors.

The rapid growth of wireless applications and the incorporation of computing into communications (e.g. smartphones) and vice versa (e.g. media tablets) is likely to continue in 2013.

While smartphones have been the main growth driver in the wireless application, the market also includes all semiconductor content needed for communication infrastructure, equipment etc. The proliferation of 4G, an increasing use of fibre coupled with an increasing data traffic need will catalyse this application market segment. In addition, semiconductors have proliferated beyond the traditional wireless and computing applications, e.g. mobile commerce.

The rise of M2M communications/Internet of things will also provide long term opportunities for wireless communication chip makers. These will span a broad range of applications across automotive, industrial etc. Intelligent, connected, and energy-efficient systems (with sensors and motors being wirelessly connected) will continue leading to higher semiconductor content.

The increasing sophistication of the mobile devices has led to not only increasing semiconductor content but also its varied usage. The traditional content of baseband and RF has morphed into multi-core application processors, connectivity supporting various spectrum bands, sophisticated graphics and video, touchscreen displays etc. And the tidings will cascade across the complete semiconductor supply chain supporting these applications. This includes market for components like sensors, displays, power management, MEMS etc.

2013 will also see MEMS becoming a part of mainstream semiconductor content. From gyroscopes, accelerometers, and microphones, they are finding an increased penetration into devices spanning multiple industries and applications C consumer electronics, mobile devices, medical, automotive, aerospace etc. Its growth will be seen through an increased on board processing and integrated and self-contained sensing units.

On sensors, Internet of things is also likely to drive a huge market for low power, cost sensitive sensors. Innovations here are also reshaping the medical imaging industry. While this market is currently evolving, the emerging technologies and products in this space are likely to go main stream with a high potential.

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