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Huawei exec: 'We need to make MEMS suppliers rich'

Posted: 29 Sep 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Huawei Technologies? MEMS? sensor? IoT? wearable?

When Sean Ding, engineer and chief scientific officer at Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, spoke at the European MEMS Summit, organised by industry association SEMI in Milan, Italy, he emphasised wearable equipment and the Internet of Things as driver markets for MEMS sensors although building on the steady demand for smartphones. He called on the MEMS industry to develop process technologies and products faster. In return Huawei would make its MEMS suppliers rich, he said.

Ding responded to talks by executives from European MEMS manufacturers Tronics Microsystems and X-Fab Silicon Foundries who portrayed an industry still snagged on the familiar old hook of one product, one package one process.

Pascal Langlois, CEO of Tronics, said it takes one to three years to develop a MEMS process and it can take between one year and two to develop a product on top of that new process. Peter Merz, MEMS business unit manager at X-Fab, also showed how complex the MEMS design process could be and said it could take from five to 10 years to go from idea to volume production.

Sean Ding

Sean Ding

Huawei's Ding, speaking from the floor of the summit, said: "I want 500, 5,000 different types of sensors in the next five years. I need prototyping in six months, volume in 18 months. Huawei sells 100 million phones each year, there are 13 sensors in each. We're buying $1 billion of sensors each year. I cannot wait."

He told the audience it had to think differently and make things happen in six months not in 5-10 years. "The opportunity in hardware in huge. We need to work together. We need to make you guys rich."

Ding spoke about the wearable equipment as the next big opportunity but one that needed to bridge functionality, fashion and communications. "The next computing platform is my wrist," he said drawing an analogy between computing and telling the time. What started as an expensive item with its own building: the clock tower, moved to the home, into the pocket and eventually on the wrist. This is the same progress made by computing; starting mainframes, moving into the home with desktops then notebook computers and next wrist-born computers, Ding said.

Wearable equipment unit shipments

The base case for wearable equipment unit shipments through 2020. Source: IDC and Morgan Stanley Research

Ding said that by 2017 the cumulative market for wearable equipment would be 495 million units and running at 248 million units per year. "The hockey stick is today. Don't wait; leap forward. Run as fast as you can," he concluded.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times Europe





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