How Sensing Technologies Will Impact our Future


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Consumer applications, especially smartphones and tablets, have been the main driver of the MEMS & Sensors industry for some time now. Today, a general slowdown has been clearly identified by the players and confirmed by the Yole Développement (Yole) report, Status of the MEMS Industry (Yole Développement, May 2016). The future of MEMS & Sensors is still bright. Some applications, including IoT , drones, autonomous driving and AR/VR , are showing promising business opportunities and could be part of our future.

How will the sensor industry evolve? To respond to such opportunities, what technical choices will MEMS & Sensors companies make and what marketing strategies will they establish? 

Technology & Market Analyst, Guillaume Girardin, explores the future with you and suggests Yole’s vision, with its presentation entitled “What does the MEMS Industry have in Store for the Future?” at the InvenSense Developers Conference (IDC 2016). IDC 2016, powered by InvenSense, will take place on Oct. 20th and 21st at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Make sure to be there to discover your future. Full agenda & registration are now available on “Sensing the Future.” 

Even if, within the smartphone market, the golden era seems to be over, our forecast is rather optimistic where sensors are concerned. Driven by the expansion of the smartphone category over other phones and new applications, the sensor industry for cellphones and tablets is expected to increase at a 9.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2015 to 2021. The market was worth US$12 billion in 2015 and will reach US$21 billion by 2021 . The woes of Samsung with the Galaxy Note 7 and the lukewarm reception of the new iPhone 7 paint a good picture of the current status of the smartphone market; catching its breath and waiting for a true innovation. In a previous announcement, Guillaume Girardin, Yole Technology & Market Analyst, commented: “Apple is under pressure. Its sales are showing a drastic decrease, from 108.7 million units in the first half of 2015 to 91.6 million units one year after. There has never been a situation like this since the launch of the first iPhone.” See (Apple is facing cathartic moment for innovation). We are at this cathartic moment when we should see the full innovation potential of those so-called technology companies. 

And the “More than Moore” market research and strategy consulting company moves the analysis further: among the 3 main hubs that best characterize the evolution of the MEMS & sensors industry today, the optical hub is probably the most promising and could become a means for success. Indeed, the optical hub represented a US$9.5 billion market value in 2015. In 2020, it will reach US$17.6 billion with an impressive 10.9% CAGR. Therefore, many innovations, new products, company’s creation, mergers and acquisitions have occurred in recent years. “At Yole, we believe 3D cameras will be a game-changer in the smartphone industry in coming months and years,” explains Guillaume Girardin from Yole. “3D cameras are low-cost sensors that can enable the growth of a long list of applications." 

However, the consumer industry is not the only market that benefits from the optical hub. Accordingly, the ADAS is also a promising application. MEMS & Sensors technologies have a powerful impact on making fully autonomous vehicles a reality. Ultrasonic sensors, radars and multiple camera systems are already embedded in high-end vehicles. Within ten years, maybe less, sensor technologies could also include long-range cameras, LIDAR, micro-bolometers and accurate dead reckoning. Yole expects US$ 2.6 billion market value in 2015 for sensors in autonomous cars, reaching US$36 billion by 2030, at a 19% CAGR for this period.

Today, the most advanced car with ADAS functions has about 17 embedded sensors. Yole’s analysts anticipate more than 29 sensors by 2030. This is clearly a huge growth and is especially supported by imaging technologies. In its latest report focused on the automotive sector, Imaging Technologies for Automotive 2016 (Yole Développement, October 2016), the market research company Yole is highlighting numerous innovative technologies coming from the imaging world: “Imaging technology, which is currently mainly cameras, is exploding into the automotive space, and is set to grow at 20% CAGR to reach US$7.3 billion in 2021,” asserts Pierre Cambou, Activity Leader at Yole and author of this new analysis. 

This story is really exciting and the future will probably show us many unexpected applications that will make our lives easier and safer. In the meantime, Yole invites you to attend Guillaume Girardin’s presentation at IDC 2016. As a keynote speaker, Yole’s expert will invite you to discover the extraordinary world of sensing & imaging and the wide range of benefits such technologies will bring us.

“The Industry has been targeting the Internet of Things (IoT). At InvenSense, we believe that the IoT is primarily about sensing, so it is really the Internet of Sensors. We believe that every device out there is going to have a multitude of sensors,” says Eitan Medina, Vice President of product management and marketing at InvenSense. “We’re excited to have Yole come and speak about the future of sensing to our developers, ecosystem partners and customers at our 5th annual InvenSense Developer Conference.”

At IDC 2016, system OEM's, ecosystem partners, application developers and industry analysts will share their visions of the industry. The list of participants is impressive: Sonos, Amkor Technology, Analog Devices, Razer, GoPro, Qualcomm, Intel, ARM, Murata, Microsoft, Google, Broadcom, Marvell, ALPS, Frontier Semiconductor, Synaptics, Amazon Lab 126, Sharp, Mitsumi, AKM, QuickLogic, Novariant, AMD, MicroChip, SMK, TSMC, Panasonic, Huawei, NXP and many more will attend.

As a comprehensive educational event covering AR/VR, health and sports for wearables, connected homes, audio, drones and robotics and much more, IDC offers a 2-day agenda including tutorials for software and hardware layout using SensorStudio, InvenSense’s sensor development platform. Discover the full agenda and register today at IDC.

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