MEMS Executive Congress 2011 round-up

November 22, 2011

Presenting the round-up or closing remarks from Ms. Karen Lightman, MD, MEMS Industry Group, at the recently held MEMS Executive Congress 2011 on Nov. 2-3, in Monterey, USA.

Market analyst panel
* Intelligence added to location will dictate consumer experiences on mobile, (Forrester).
* MEMS market growth at 10 percent in 2011. Nearly $12 billion market by 2015, says IHS iSuppli. Yole predicts $20 billion by 2015.
* Consumer MEMS growing at much faster pace, at 20 percent year-over-year – but look out for price erosion (iSuppli)!
* Be more like semiconductor manufacturing. Leverage standard processes and tools to get to volume production. Reduces cost and TTM (Semico).

Accelerating innovation through systems engineering best practices
* We are ushering in a “new wave” of innovation fueled by “building blocks” of the connected world.
* Software is the Iifeblood of today’s innovation and is changing design paradigm within many markets.
* Connect multiple products and services into a “system of systems” to deliver unique value.
* Leverage systems engineering and develop core competency in software delivery. Speeds time-to-market and enables differentiated products.
* IBM Rational implemented “system of systems” with GM to produce new drive system for Chevy Volt in just 29 months!

Panel on MEMS foundry models – in-house, fab-lite, fabless
* Time-to-market (TTM) is a key challenge. It’s still 2x slower than in the semiconductor business.
* MEMS is coming to attention of global semiconductor industry, which can address high- and low-volume apps. Barriers to entry are lower than ever.
* A difference of opinion: Reusing tools from CMOS fabs can lower costs for IDMs and large IC foundries. Pure-play foundries compete via engineering know-how and “ecosystem” approach.
* There will be more fabless companies in top 30 MEMS companies within next few years.
* “Remember that products pay the bills, not technology.”

Panel on MEMS sensor fusion/sensor networks
* MEMS sensors have potential to give us real-time situational analysis.
* We’re using cell phones to communicate with one another. Now, we need to communicate with the environment.
* HP’s Central Nervous System of the Earth (CENSE), used for oil and gas exploration, is ramping 1 million high-performance sensor nodes.
* But sensor companies have failed us (at least in part)! We need low-cost, lower-power MEMS devices that can withstand on-again, off-again demand.
* In the future, it won’t be about pushing data to someone else’s cloud. We’re going to have our own personal networks through which we manage secure communities of interest.

Panel on MEMS in consumer products
* Smartphones don’t just make computation mobile; they personalize it.
* Personal health management used to be the exclusive domain of men and women in white coats. Now it’s moving to consumer population at large.
* There are 24+ devices in consumer homes that produce data.
* “Ive seen  espresso machines running Android!”
* In past, MEMS was obscure and invisible to the end user. In future, consumers will want to interact with many of these sensing technologies.
* The future  of MEMS in consumer products is health/medical, LARGE, and ubiquitous.

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