3 Promising Technologies Relying on Semiconductors

By CIOReview | Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Semiconductors are the master component of electronic devices, giving rise to new technologies that transform the society for a better cause.

FREMONT, CA: Semiconductors industry, being the backbone of the electronic devices, is at the top of the list in the present technology-dominated market place. Semiconductors are the source of innovation in the fields of healthcare, military, computing, communication, transportation, and other countless applications. Utilization of semiconductors across industries has given rise to new technologies which can transform society better, such as wireless communications, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI). In the upcoming years, connected technologies gain more significance, and semiconductors make this connectivity possible.

Here's a look at three vital areas where semiconductors play a significant role.

Wireless communication

The wireless communication market is one of the fastest-growing segments in the semiconductor industry. Technology has undergone a paradigm shift from wired to wireless communication, driven by semiconductor technology. As communication grows faster and secure, new semiconductor materials are in the rise to reshape the way communication takes place. Semiconductors for wireless communications enable consistent and reliable communication with other wireless devices. System-on-Chip (SoC) and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) devices are increasingly used in the development of wireless communication systems such as 5G, thus establishing the importance of semiconductors across the wireless communication market.

The wireless sensor networks are used for applications such as asset tracking, environmental monitoring, and infrastructural monitoring of bridges and buildings. The semiconductors for wireless communication can be segmented into mobile Wi-Fi chips, cellular baseband processors, Bluetooth transceivers, near-field communication chips, global positioning system (GPS) receivers, and others. Researchers are working to advance the offerings of the semiconductor technology and make it affordable by integrating Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on the same silicon. In addition to this, some of the prominent drivers for semiconductors for wireless communications market are factors such as increasing trends of IoT, benefits provided over cost, and rigid nature of traditional semiconductors, and growing adoption of portable consumer electronic devices among others.

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT is going to be everywhere, from tube lights and fans to toys and vehicles. With these IoT devices, it is feasible to achieve a high degree of convenience, comfort, and energy-efficiency. In these devices, a small microchip is necessary to make a high level of rapid data exchange, and each chip has a unique design to serve its purpose. With the emergence of smart appliances, wearables, and smart homes, there is a huge demand for IoT sensors in the market. While IoT is being applied in many industries, a few industries are making remarkable progress with the application of semiconductors. Automotive cars employ sensors while driving, and even insurance companies collect data on safe driving using sensors. Semiconductors power these sensors. Drones primarily used in monitoring, delivery, surveillance, mapping, and emergency are built with integrated circuits (ICs).

Check out: Top Semiconductor Technology Companies

The medical devices used in hospitals, including blood pressure cuffs, ECG machines, communication devices, and more employ the semiconductor technology in their respective sensing devices. Further, the semiconductor industry has immensely benefited from the IoT’s development in building cutting-edge devices such as mobiles, tablets, electric cars, and wearable devices. Thus, the extensive usage of sensors and integrated circuits benefit the semiconductor companies. However, the traditional focus on silicon used in the construction of ICs may not be optimal for IoT because chips represent only a small portion of the value chain. Therefore, the companies should also provide comprehensive solutions, including software, security, or systems-integration, in addition to the hardware. This will allow the semiconductor companies to acquire maximum advantage from IoT through the shift from component suppliers to solution providers.

Artificial Intelligence                  

Sprouting of AI is one of the market drivers in the semiconductor industry. AI functionalities will be integrated into the silicon hardware, thus semiconductor powers the next generation of AI applications. Many AI applications, including facial-recognition programs that track criminals, smart home devices, automated customer support, and more depend on the semiconductor hardware for logic and memory functions. AI opens the gate for semiconductor companies to acquire 40 to 50 percent of the total value from the technology stack. Although storage will experience a growth at the peak, these companies derive value in compute, memory, and networking. In this regard, semiconductor companies can create a winning roadmap in AI. Also, AI applications have high memory requirements, and technologies like high-bandwidth memory and on-chip memory can address this challenge.

Today, tech giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft are exploring different ranges of chip advancements to accelerate the growth of AI. To achieve a prominent place, the semiconductor companies should focus on end-to-end solutions for specific industries, otherwise called micro-vertical solutions, and innovation that goes far beyond improving compute, memory, and networking technologies. In short, AI influences the growth of the semiconductor industry by demanding innovative technologies while enhancing the fabrication process. AI-specific chips will continue to cause impact through advances in semiconductor processing technology, SoC design, and computer architecture to increase processing power to enable the future generation AI algorithms.

Rapid advancements in wireless communication networks, IoT and AI are increasing the demand for semiconductors. The top semiconductor companies will understand the role of semiconductors in deriving the maximum advantage to stay abreast with the growing industrial trends while meeting the demands of the industries utilizing them.