What will the electronics industry landscape look like in five to 10 years from now? Which products will be dominant, what type of design methodologies will prevail, which technological innovations will consumers prefer over others, and what types of manufacturing systems and processes will triumph as companies seek to differentiate themselves and create winning products?
These were some of the questions EBN and researcher Frost & Sullivan set out to answer in a survey conducted in April, and the initial results indicate a range of diverging thoughts in some areas and also a high level of consensus in several other segments. The pool of respondents included engineers, scientists, product managers, market managers, business development experts, and manufacturers. While respondents may disagree on processes and areas they believe will dominate, there appears to be a level of consensus that technology, and especially electronics, will continue to infiltrate all segments of the economy globally.
Respondents see technology continuing to evolve with the focus being on making products smaller, smarter, faster, and more automated. In response to the question of what factors they see impacting electronics manufacturing and connected devices, 56 percent of respondents chose smart homes and smart buildings. A further 26.1 percent selected smart cars while the remainder mentioned smart factories. What this means, according to Lavanya Rammohan, the Frost & Sullivan analyst who coordinated the survey, is that the concept of "smart" everything "will make significant inroads into design and validation stages."
EBN and Frost & Sullivan divided the research into various segments for easy analysis. In addition to the factors that would impact most on electronics manufacturing and connected devices, respondents were asked to comment on the following: innovative technology of the future, consumer electronics that will influence future demand trends and innovation, trends influencing manufacturing evolution and techniques, innovation in electronic product design impacting factory of the future, key factors for the factory of the future, and vertical markets with the greatest potential for growth in 2020.
A PDF of the preliminary results can be downloaded by clicking here. I will also write more about the various conclusions in future blogs. In the meantime, here is a summary of key findings:
- More powerful products with increased intelligence and disruptive technology. Increasing OEM reliance on contract manufacturers to support product design and design for manufacturability.
- Better gains and ROI for customers by increasing shareholder value and "innovating to Zero" concept.
- Proving better price performance for customers by further penetration into niche markets, emerging economies, and innovative materials.
- Reducing communication gap and facilitating higher levels of synergy and trust in operations between supply chain partners.
- Increased attention on value-creating services such as aftermarket services, as opposed to focus on cost savings.
- Companies will benefit from product trends: increasing virtualization and mobile applications, real-time communication and diagnostics, and monitoring blurring lines between human and machine interface (robotics in medical, etc.).
- Possible convergence of EMS and ODM business models and emergence of new business models.