It’s easy to attribute rapid technological progress and developments to semiconductors. For instance, the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) reported a 21.6% growth in the global semiconductor market, reaching USD 419 billion in 2017.

But the reported growth was, in fact, to accommodate increasing demand for semiconductor materials in AI-driven electronics and programs such as autonomous vehicles, and the Internet of Things. Furthermore, there is also expectation for a 9.5% growth by 2018, marking the global market for semiconductors at USD 451 billion.

Opportunities & Drivers for Growth

By 2025, the industry is set to experience massive benefits from ongoing development and innovation in connectivity, communications, advanced software, the automotive industry, and data centers. At the same time, an increase in the consumption of electronic components used in the navigation of automobiles, safety, and infotainment stands to contribute to the growth of the semiconductor industry all the more.

Presently, semiconductors are used extensively across electronic devices such as LED TVs, smartphones, flat-screen monitors, and in civil aerospace and military systems. The industry is also set to benefit from growing progress in biometrics and AI capabilities.

Impediments to the Semiconductor Industry

Security concerns around connected devices, with the Internet of Things being one of the biggest growth drivers of the industry, is a significant threat to the semiconductor ecosystem. This could include anything between wearable devices and automation products – home or industrial. The threat is more severe with medical electronics, meaning that semiconductor companies will now need to tighten focus around the development of secure chips.

Innovation is a mandate to meet the growing technology demands, as is the case with any industry in the technology value chain. In 2018 and beyond, expect a significant focus on smaller chips better suited for wireless connectivity and lower power consumption.

Hot Trends to Focus On

There are several buzzwords in the modern, digital era. But a few of them impact the semiconductor industry more than the rest. Here’s a quick look:

  1. Artificial Intelligence
    AI is expected to improve semiconductor manufacturing with faster completion cycles, improved chip performance, increased output, and lowered production costs. Demand for AI-based applications, across all industries, is also expected to create new growth opportunities for the semiconductor industry. This will be in the wake of a new category of digital AI processors.
  1. Autonomous Vehicles
    As the world moves toward connected and electric cars, the rapidly-progressing automotive market is set to augment the semiconductor ecosystem with demands around improved battery performance in EVs, a variety of connectivity options, state-of-the-art sensors, and other related technologies.
  1. 10nm Node
    Smaller nodes are set to offer semiconductor companies increased performance and power, but the move presents significant challenge in the form of resources required and costs. For instance, several companies have delayed plans to switch to the newer 10nm ecosystem due to a lack of volume-based visibility. While larger companies are likely to push into this bleeding-edge technology, a majority of players in the market are expected to stay grounded with the tried and tested processes for cost and TTM (Time-to-Market) advantages.
  1. Augmented Reality. Virtual Reality. 5G.
    An increase in the adoption of VR and AR in the gaming industry, retail and other relevant industries, along with the deployment of the 5G technology, is bound to impact the growth of the semiconductor industry in a positive manner.And there you have it, an update on an industry that looks set to remain everlasting and eternal. The only question is if semiconductor companies will manage to keep up with the rising demand brought about by the increased need for wireless connectivity in licensed or unlicensed bands, sensors and microcontrollers for IoT expansion into agriculture, remote sensing, environment management, smart cities, and more.

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About the Author

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Ian Carvalho is the Chief Technology Officer at Global Edge Software. He can be reached at