MEMS Executive Congress US 2013


MEMS & Wireless Sensor Networks: Enabling a Smarter World

The electronic world is bursting with data. The challenge lies in accessing, interpreting and, if necessary, acting upon this data, through the most efficient and reliable mechanisms possible.

Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) fit the bill. They deliver reliable, resilient and scalable wireless embedded products with advanced network management and comprehensive security features. Though WSNs are best known for their role in conveying ‘Big Data,’ it is some of the smallest components—MEMS and sensors—that provide the real-time information and data required for their operation.

WSNs are found in a multitude of applications today. They monitor tire pressure in cars; control traffic flow through wireless sensor-embedded stop lights; support industrial, environmental and structural health monitoring; as well as facilitate the operation of smart homes and buildings. In the near future, we will find WSNs in lighting control, HVAC control, security monitoring and seismic monitoring. Health care is also highly promising, with WSNs already in use for the remote monitoring of vital signs.

Harnessing the power of Big Data coming through WSNs brings great opportunity, as well as some challenges. How can we manage the complex data sets coming through WSNs? How can we assure the accuracy, privacy and the security of results—and what role will MEMS play in the mix?

MEMS... Enabling a Mobile World

The world has gone mobile.  The commercial proliferation of smart mobile devices is boosting consumer demand for content and data available to them anytime and anywhere.  These devices, with their always-on Internet access and growing complement of sensor technologies, are quickly becoming the planet’s foremost wireless sensor network.  As individuals increasingly expect to lead untethered lives, diversity and differentiation of these mobile products is at a premium - and MEMS is providing solutions.  MEMS device manufacturers are looking for ways to differentiate by offering devices with new and innovative functionalities through the use of inertial sensors, gyroscopes, digital compasses, and improved video and audio components.  Incorporating MEMS into these mobile devices is appealing because it enables innovative new functionalities and a more interactive user experience. 

The mobile MEMS market is poised to grow at nearly 20% annually over the next five years.  A myriad of different industries, such as mobile health, telecommunications, social networking, gaming and entertainment are leveraging the enabling power of MEMS to enhance their services for smart devices. In short, MEMS is enabling a mobile world.  

MEMS Market Session

Representatives from the two leading MEMS analyst firms - IHS Inc and Yole Développement - will present their unique forecasts for the MEMS market, followed by an interactive session of Q&A with the audience.

Laurent Robin - Status of the MEMS Industry: How consumer applications are transforming the MEMS industry

Today MEMS industry is facing a complex situation: more business is coming every year (almost $1B every year in additional business over the Mems devices and applications), but the growth is mainly supported by 4 devices (accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer and microphone). New products are also emerging, either totally new MEMS devices (like micro-speakers) but also “old MEMS” devices like pressure sensors and infrared imagers that are finding new applications in consumer products and mobile phones but needs a complete different design and manufacturing approach.

In addition, the impact of the consumer business on MEMS manufacturing and competitiveness of the MEMS companies is becoming very heavy, impacting the financial margins of many players and driving important changes in the competitive environment.

The presentation will highlight the main drivers enabling the growth of the MEMS industry and how the business situation and new applications are pushing the MEMS companies to re-invent their technology (especially for sensing elements) and manufacturing approach in order to protect their existing business and get full benefit of the new market and applications opportunities.

Jeremie Bouchaud - The MEMS & Sensor Market Crystal Ball

Market estimates and predictions for MEMS vary drastically from one analyst firm to another. Why is that so? How reliable are market forecasts? Is it at all possible to produce robust forecasts for MEMS, whose growth is driven by emerging sensors and actuators, and which did not exist 5 years ago?

IHS examines its crystal ball and divines the possibilities using numerous real examples. Looking back, which predictions materialized and which not? There were market inflexions we did not see coming—indeed, how many of us could have really predicted the transforming impact of Apple’s iPhone or imagine the great success of a completely new product market like the iPad? Further, what can be learnt from the predictions we made that went astray? Surely these retrospections will refine our process, but which aspects will always be challenging to forecast?

Finally, looking at our current predictions, what are our key assumptions? Based on the above considerations applied here, what can be classified as risky predictions and what could we miss?