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Change is in the air!

by Eric Higham | 5月 30, 2014

I think we can all agree that change is often necessary, even if it is sometimes painful. Some of these changes proceed at a glacial pace with differences being hard to discern and some hit like lightning, with immediate results. Those of us who have been involved with things for a while know that often times the cliché of “good things come to he who waits” is very true. I’ve got a few of these changes to discuss in this blog.

First and foremost is that Strategy Analytics is hosting a luncheon at the upcoming IMS2014  conference in Tampa. In addition to an overview of some interesting military and commercial opportunities, I’ll be taking the opportunity to introduce the Advanced Semiconductor Applications (ASA) service. This new service is the logical evolution of the GaAs & Compound Semiconductor Technologies service. To existing and prospective clients, there is no need to worry; the new service is not abandoning GaAs or compound semiconductors. Rather, the name change reflects the growing importance of other semiconductors in RF and microelectronics markets and applications that have previously been the domain of compound semiconductors. The service will focus on developments in materials, process technologies, components and markets. My experience these past several years has been that companies at all points of the semiconductor supply chain are influenced by and very interested in the developments in the broader market. ASA will address the trends and drivers in a wide variety of electronics applications, with a focus on how these developments affect products, processes, technologies and materials in the semiconductor supply chain. I trust current clients will find this to be a case of “the more things change, the more they stay the same” and prospective clients will find some useful, actionable information contained in the new service.

While I would not put the new service into the “lightning change” category, the announcement of the merger between RFMD and TriQuint certainly fits. IMS will be a great opportunity to hear about how the integration process is going. I’ll be attending the RFMD Analyst event, so keep an eye on this blog and the website for updates. This merger has the potential to create a very formidable company that can influence the entire industry, so it will be crucial to stay abreast of developments and their effects.

In the “glacial pace” category, but potentially very significant is “5G”. The term, which is as of yet is not completely defined, aims at the next generation of data networks. Development activity to understand the challenges and solutions is gaining substantial traction as companies start to devote significant resources to defining the schedules and necessary technologies. If you are in Tampa, be sure to stop by the MicroApps area on Wednesday at noon for IMS 2014 Panel Session: Path to 5G – Design and Test Challenges for the Future, sponsored by Microwave Journal. I’ll be giving a quick overview of my thoughts on the need for 5G and some of the activities that are starting. I called this a glacial change, but that’s only because of the magnitude of the change and the time it will take to develop and implement. With data consumption still growing explosively and things like 4K video on the near horizon, an upgrade to existing networks and devices is in order. This is potentially a huge opportunity, with many of the solutions involving higher frequency networks, multiple transceivers and multiple antennas. These and other implementations will be very attractive for future semiconductor growth. So, even though definition and implementation will take some time, I am confident that when we all look back, the amount of change to the industry and the opportunity for semiconductor manufacturers will be impressive.

If you are at IMS2014, make sure to say hello to me and keep an eye on the blog and website to monitor what is happening in the semiconductor industry.

-Eric

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