Building the future, today: Preparing for the semiconductor decade
Our world is built on the technologies that semiconductors enable. When drilling down into individual segments, about 70% of growth in the next decade is predicted to come from three key industries.
- Computation and data storage
Let’s explore what’s accelerating semiconductor opportunities in each of these, and how businesses can be ready to help these markets reach their potential.
Accelerating automotive demand
The two key factors driving semiconductor demand in the automotive industry are autonomous vehicles and e-mobility.
While many vehicles on the roads today have driver assistance technologies, which help save lives and prevent injuries on our roads, the future is full automation. Autonomous vehicles are expected to account for about 12% of global car registrations by 2030, with the global self-driving industry reported to be expanding by 16% every year.
There are many benefits to autonomous vehicles. From greater road safety - with automation cited as a solution to risky and dangerous driver behaviours such as speeding, impaired driving, or accidents as a result of distractions - to providing more personal freedom for those with a disability or more elderly individuals, enabling them to live the life they want.
Benefits of autonomous vehicles
Automation removes the human driver from the chain of events that can lead to a crash.
For the elderly or people with a disability, autonomous vehicles could help them be more independent.
Motor accidents cost huge sums of money each year - eliminating the majority of crashes would dramatically reduce this cost.
Rather than the ‘stop-and-go’ traffic that humans create, controlling the speed of autonomous vehicles will ease traffic flow.
With the majority of autonomous vehicles being electric or hybrid, plus being driven more efficiently, the outcome should be a significant fall in emissions.
Whether it's partially automated or fully automated vehicles, specialty silicon is in demand. As a recent McKinsey & Company report acknowledged, these chips are more efficient, enable rapid performance increases in vehicle systems, and allow the execution of complex software functionalities and analytics, such as those that enable sensor fusion of cameras, laser, LiDAR, and other devices.
If the demand for self-driving vehicles is one factor speeding up the need for more semiconductor technology, then the electric vehicle market is another. Back in 2012, just 120,000 electric cars were sold worldwide. A decade later, global sales of electric cars have surged to 2 million in just the first quarter of 2022, which is up 75% from the same period in 2021.
Naturally, one of the biggest advantages of driving electric vehicles is the reduced impact on the environment. But they also offer lower running costs, are cheaper to service and maintain, provide a smoother driving experience with responsive acceleration and regenerative braking when easing off the accelerator, and emit less noise than petrol and diesel vehicles.
The pace of electric vehicle sales is showing no signs of slowing down, with one report predicting the number of electric cars, buses, vans and heavy trucks on roads will hit 145 million by 2030. For e-mobility, semiconductors allow vehicles to be efficient, interactive and safe, and demand for semiconductors will undoubtedly grow as manufacturers add more electric vehicles to their fleets.
Enabling the data era
The global cloud services market is expected to garner £1.17 trillion by 2030 - a 398% increase when compared with where the market was a decade before. The ability to deliver computing services - whether it be servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and intelligence - is absolutely critical to the world we live in today. Gartner predicts that more than 85% of organisations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025, and ‘will not be able to fully execute on their digital strategies without the use of cloud-native architectures and technologies’.
85% of organisations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025
Another reason for computation and data storage growth is artificial intelligence (AI). Data is the fuel powering AI. By using real-time updates from a variety of data sources, optimising them, and taking action on these inputs through automated technology, AI will be a key growth driver in the computation and data storage market.
Widely used to optimise and automate processes, as well as data management and to enhance the efficiency of systems, the rise in demand for global AI-powered storage should not be underestimated. With data volumes increasing exponentially, a growing need for advanced storage architecture in large-scale organisation infrastructures, a boost in the adoption of cloud-based services, and the growing requirement for AI in data centres, semiconductor companies will play a critical role in helping this market reach its potential.
The world of wireless
Finally, it’s predicted that smartphones will represent the main reason for expansion in the wireless sector. This will be due to a shift from lower-tier to mid-tier segments in emerging markets and backed by growth in 5G.
This is largely due to consumer demand for entertainment and internet applications, but industries such as automotive, healthcare, manufacturing and retail will all play their part. In automotive, there’s the opportunity for vehicles to connect with infrastructure, other vehicles and networks. In healthcare, patients can be monitored remotely, while AI-powered tools enable more accurate diagnoses. In the manufacturing sector, sites can implement automated operations that are highly precise and efficient. In fact, it’s predicted that manufacturing and industrial firms around the world will have more than 49 million 5G connections inside their facilities. And in retail, connectivity can offer more personalised in-store experiences.
All of these will put further pressures on 5G and wireless devices, creating an opportunity for semiconductor businesses to help fulfil these ambitions.
Tech talent for supporting the next decade’s demands
In order to help these industries meet their potential, one critical element cannot be underestimated: tech talent.
Unfortunately, this could be a difficulty for many businesses. A shortage in tech talent has been proven to be the most significant adoption barrier for emerging technologies. Therefore, it’s essential that semiconductor businesses have the right individuals in place to scale and secure these vital growth opportunities.
Partnering with a talent-as-a-service (TaaS) provider can make sure you’re not exposed to this risk. From enriching teams with experts, allowing companies to scale with additional support, or delegating an entire software development to a trusted partner, TaaS can help make sure semiconductor organisations are prepared for today, tomorrow and the future.
Thanks for reading! We recently published a new e-guide that might be of interest too, and is free to download. Titled Today, tomorrow, the future - connected devices for the semiconductor industry, it can help you to:
- Understand the key questions to ask when planning a project today
- Consider the latest solutions that should be on your radar
- Appreciate how the market is set to evolve, and how you can keep pace with it