When you think of the electronics industry, it’s an ecosystem that continuously undergoes rapid and rampant changes. Changes that alter the status of the entire ecosystem and affect associated ones. These changes are driven by trends in the direction in which something is developing.
As an entity involved in the electronics sector, it’s essential to identify these trends early and act upon them accordingly. This will not only strengthen your position but widen your horizons as well.
With this in mind, let’s explore the top trends in the electronics industry:
Internet of Things (IoT)
Think of the Internet of Things as a system where every electronic device of your home is connected to a central computer system via the internet. This way, all these devices can communicate with each other and transfer information.
A few years ago, IoT was a far-fetched dream for many equipment manufacturers. But with a market size expected to grow to $212 billion, it’s at the center of focus. The devices you might be familiar with, like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, are just the tip of the iceberg in the consumer IoT market.
The growth in IoT is driven by three pre-existing technologies – the internet, cloud computing, and sensors. Currently, the capability of each of these technologies is at a level where they can work together and create an ecosystem. The main benefit of IoT-enabled devices is that they help in data-driven decision making in real-time. This is crucial for industries where efficiency is low, and prices, subsequently, are higher.
AR and VR
Unless you are living under the rock, chances are that you’ve heard of augmented reality and virtual reality, AR and VR, for short, respectively. If you rewind a few years, these technologies were a mere consumer gimmick used by only a handful of niche gamers. But now these serve as functional industrial tools in many sectors, including gaming, aerospace, design, manufacturing, among others. It is estimated that the market will touch $53.6 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 37.6%.
Besides gaming, one of its real-world applications can be seen in data centers. Site engineers equipped with headsets can explore their simulation and interact with it, which is impossible with the naked eye. They can visualize heat-flow simulations among other 3D structures that will aid them in managing an enormous datacenter. These headsets are also used for training employees.
From DAQRI’s smartglasses to Facebook’s Oculus, wearables are being introduced at a rapid pace. This hardware makes use of specialized sensors, processors, and batteries, which many electronics manufacturers are looking forward to investing in.
It’s not just hardware, either. The software landscape is witnessing similar growth trajectories. For VR, in particular, the software sector is expected to witness a higher CAGR than the hardware sector.
Automation is a trend that’s been driving change for decades now. With a promise of high speed, better performance, lower cost, and precision, automation has already disrupted assembly lines. But now others are witnessing a similar fate.
Amazon is already automating its warehouses with industrial robots. These robots are equipped with sensors and mechanical parts, which allow them to move around the facility and carry out tasks just like a regular employee.
Inspection and functional testing divisions are also making similar use of robots. Siemens Amberg is utilizing robots to automate almost 75% of its tasks, which has increased productivity by over 800%. All of this development is driving a 30% increase in the sales of industrial robots. The supporting sectors are witnessing similar increases in sales.
Automation is seen as a threat to jobs and overall workforce, but adopters argue that machines merely automate repetitive tasks, which will generate even more jobs. So, automation technologies will only keep trending in the future.
Hands-free mobility isn’t just limited to smartphones or wireless headsets. Innovation in electronics, software, and cloud computing are penetrating the hands-free mobility sector. The use of VR headsets in datacenters and industrial manufacturing is one such example.
On the consumer side, smart watches, smart glasses, smart dresses, and even smart jewelry are driving the need for specialized electronics relevant to the devices and their components. This is set to become a multi-billion dollar niche market of its own.
Besides providing limitless computing opportunities to consumers, it is giving way for brands to derive meaningful insights that can be used for product development. Primary industries implementing these technologies are healthcare, consumer electronics, and manufacturing.
Product Design Outsourcing
The burden of handling the rapid introduction of technology is starting to show on OEMs. Instead of conducting their own product designs, they are increasingly looking for partners to help them design new products.
Companies that specialize in electronic manufacturing services are banking on this $157 billion specialized design services market. This collaboration is giving rise to joint design manufacturing (JDM) and outsourced design manufacturing (ODM). The main benefit for OEMs is they’re able to turn their fixed costs into variable cost and have more control over the entire process, thus increasing their bottom line.
The development in the electronics industry and the associated ones are so unfathomable that we are starting to see shifts in business operation, not only in consumer demand. Many corporations previously operated in a traditional B2B model are adopting the B2B2C approach, where they are directly connected to the consumer but via a business.
Many electronic manufacturers and innovators can take advantage of this model and form everlasting relationships with the end-consumer. It’s all about identifying the trends, creating your own strategy, and banking on the opportunity that the market offers. This intrinsically translates into more sales and revenue for your business.