The Road Ahead: How Electronics Is Evolving

The future of the electronics industry involves smart homes, smart factories, green IT, cloud computing, robotics, intuitive consumer products, smart and artificial intelligence-based production, nanomaterials, and flexible electronics, among other emerging business trends, according to a survey recently conducted by Frost & Sullivan and EBN.

The survey strived to understand the evolution of product design and provide some roadmaps for 2020. The survey had 570 respondents, whose responses were interesting, to say the least.

The underlying themes were the development of more powerful and intelligent products with disruptive technology and an increased reliance by OEMs on contract manufacturers to support product design and design for manufacturability. As urbanization increases and we head toward a smart society, 34.4 percent of respondents picked smart homes as the product or trend that will have the greatest impact on electronics manufacturing and connected devices. As the industry transitions toward increasing automation, smart cars and smart homes have also made significant inroads into the design and validation stages.

Electronics product design, functionality, and component sizes are expected to evolve rapidly. These innovations will have a direct impact on manufacturing techniques. A resounding 58.2 percent of respondents agreed that smart and artificial intelligence-based production will be the norm within the next 10 years. Power generation and smart grids will also play a vital role in defining green and energy-efficient manufacturing techniques by 2020.

Companies will benefit from things like increased virtualization, mobile applications, real-time communications, advances in diagnostics and monitoring, and the blurring of the lines between human and machine interfaces (medical robotics, etc.)

The ease of understanding the next big innovation lies in the ability to capture the value and magnitude of the impact on consumers. Additionally, the benefits and effects will vary by industry.

Companies and thought leaders are well aware of the impact of technology innovation and a first-to-market strategy. The ability to spot the fastest-growth products/segments and allocate the right resources (talent and capital) will have a great impact on success. And cross-pollination — the ability to transfer best-practices from one industry to another — will play a vital role in the bid for competitive positioning.

It is important to note that, with economic uncertainty ahead, product roadmap development requires a different level of commitment. We would like to hear from you. How do you think the current economic trends will shape R&D and innovation across different industries? How will this impact the electronics supply chain?

If you would like more information about the survey, please contact Jeannette Garcia at or at 210-477-8427.

8 comments on “The Road Ahead: How Electronics Is Evolving

  1. prabhakar_deosthali
    June 7, 2012

    A thought just crossed my mind.

    The current supply chain is all one way – The components are manufactured -distributed- retailed and finally bought by the product designers and manufacturers in their products.

    In the new scenario of improved manufacturing techniques, short turn-around cycles  – is it possible to reverse this process?

    For example the product designers define the kind of components -passive or active, analog or digital , displays or touchscreens that they want . This information flows back through distributors to the component manufacturers and they build and supply those components, modules.


    It is like , somewhere I read that in some car manufacturing plant, a customer can design his own car ( The color, the dashboard, the style, the engine etc) and the order is automatically executed on the assembly line to produce that car.


    Is the evolution going into this direction?



  2. Daniel
    June 7, 2012

    “The future of the electronics industry involves smart homes, smart factories, green IT, cloud computing, robotics, intuitive consumer products, smart and artificial intelligence-based production”

    Lavanya, yes the future of electronics is linked with the word “Smart”. What does mean by this smart. Manufactures are building up something over the existing models with a tag smart. It can be an additional functionality or automation etc. But without electronic there won't be any IT or any other services.

    June 7, 2012

    I really worry for the older generation when technology is concerned.  Have you ever seen an old age pensioner trying to program their HDD sat system?  There are 15 million barely legible buttons.  I would like smart technology to have much simpler user interfaces.

  4. Daniel
    June 7, 2012

    “In the new scenario of improved manufacturing techniques, short turn-around cycles – is it possible to reverse this process?”

    Prabhakar, I think practically it's very difficult. Since the designer going to give specification and manufacture has to arrange separate facilities (die, package and other parameters) for the particular production, this can cause an extra investment. Moreover the requirement is very less and hence the per piece cost at a high level. What I mean is not economical. Most of the devices/components are available at a reasonable price because of mass production.

  5. Ariella
    June 7, 2012

    @Jacob “smart” in these instances usually signifies energy effiency. However, I'm not certain that the product has to meet certain standards to apply the term. It may be one of those rather nebulous words with respect to product desciptions like “natural.” 

  6. Adeniji Kayode
    June 8, 2012

    @Jacob, I certainly agree with you on that. If its not smart, it can,t be electronic is the motto of today and it keeps getting smart day by day. Smart is what makes the difference between electronics of today even though they are practically the same and perform the same function

  7. t.alex
    June 9, 2012

    Typically technology is developed out of needs or for certain market segments. I think once there is a market big enough for 'old folks', there will be lots of products in this category. 

  8. Daniel
    June 13, 2012

    “smart” in these instances usually signifies energy effiency”

    Ariella, I don't think smart means only energy efficient. Smart devices has some other definitions like detect the inputs and act accordingly, self working with intelligent decisions etc. Ofcource such devices are more energy efficient.

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