Semico is a semiconductor marketing & consulting research company located in Phoenix, Arizona. We offer custom consulting, portfolio packages, individual market research studies and premier industry conferences.
What a show! Not sure if it’s the weekend attraction of Las Vegas, but CES managed to retain the crowds through Saturday. Most booths were bustling with curious attendees trying to get a better understanding of the new products and underlying technologies. Once again, the automotive section was quite busy with autonomous driving and electrification of vehicles front and center. While Level 5 autonomous driving is still several years away from reality, all manufacturers are equipping cars with some type of enhanced driving autonomy or assisted driving. In the Ford booth we saw the Ford Lincoln (pictured below) equipped as an autonomous driving car.
The first thing one might notice is that the radar, lidar, and other electronics are nicely incorporated into the body, unlike what you would see in the Google car. The current generation of autonomous driving electronics is quite bulky. It’s somewhat analogous to the mainframes from the ‘70s, when one computer required a large dedicated room. Clearly, miniaturization needs to happen on the automotive side as the picture below shows the trunk completely packed with electronics. It looks like we could barely fit one bag of groceries into the trunk.
The Wafer Demand Summary and Assumptions is a quarterly publication. It includes an excel spreadsheet with annual wafer demand by product by technology from 2010-2020. Product categories include DRAM, SRAM, NAND, NOR, Other Non-volatile, MPU, MCU, DSP, Computing Micro Logic, Communications, Other Micro Logic, Programmable Logic, Standard Cell, Gate Array, Analog, Discrete, Optoelectronics, Digital Bipolar. In addition, there is a summary write-up providing the major assumptions behind the forecast and changes from the previous quarter.
As the world’s devices get smaller and lighter with increasing power requirements, we need batteries that can provide more power for more time. Modern lithium ion batteries are reaching incredible energy densities enabling devices and vehicles to be more efficient than ever before. All energy storage devices have some risk, however these high energy densities come with increased danger. The dangers of lithium ion batteries have garnered national media attention with the explosions of Samsung smartphones, “hoverboards”, e-cigarettes, and other consumer electronic devices. While manufacturing error contributes to battery failure, many cases of battery explosions are the result of insufficient battery management technology built into the device.
Previous generations of portable devices and vehicles have used nickel cadmium, nickel hydride, or lead acid batteries. These chemistries are inherently less volatile than lithium chemistry packs and do not require constant monitoring. Lithium battery packs are much more finicky, requiring protection from overcharge, over-discharge, temperature, and physical shock. While all batteries can be damaged by these factors, lithium ion batteries become volatile and will overheat, catch fire, and explode.
The MEMS and sensor market continues to be a hotbed for innovation, new opportunities and, as with most new frontiers, there are also some disparate views on market dynamics and strategies. All this was evident at the 2016 MSIG Executive Congress last week in Scottsdale, Arizona.
First, I’ll cover the pioneering and fun subjects. In addition to the Technology Showcase demos and member presentations there were a couple of “outside-the-box” topics such as 3D-printed cars. Co-create was the buzzword on Day 2 and was used by Local Motors General Manager, Philip Rayer, as he showed off several 3D-printed vehicle designs which reduce manufacturing time while integrating a totally digital process and open sourcing options such as an OS battery management system. The company is co-creating an autonomous, electric car with partners such as IBM Watson, Siemens, NXP and Meridian. Rayer challenged the audience to consolidate the MEMS and sensors into a simplified suite of assemblies and reduce the wiring necessary.
One of the mainstays of the System-on-a-Chip (SoC) market is the continued growth of the 3rd Party Semiconductor Intellectual Property (SIP) market. The products developed and marketed by the SIP market enable SoC designers to create amazing cutting-edge silicon solutions employed in every niche of today’s semiconductor market.
The 3rd Party Semiconductor Intellectual Property (SIP) market has seen great innovation in the products it offers to System-on-a-Chip (SoC) designers over the last ten years. If any market segment in the semiconductor industry typifies the intense evolutionary pressures that the entire electronics market has undergone, it is the 3rd Party SIP market.
Total wafer demand is expected to return to historical growth rates over the next five years. However, what is uncharacteristic of the past is the wide range of decline and growth that will be logged by specific product categories and technologies.
Sonics, Inc. and Semico Research Corporation have launched the “On-Chip Power Management Best Practices” survey. The purpose of this industry survey is to understand how chip designers are managing power consumption and contrast that with expected future best practices. The companies will publish results of the survey on their web sites in the fall of 2016.