The electronics domain encompasses a wide range of devices and equipment that permeate every aspect of human life. In fact, the electronics industry touches various other industry segments like transportation, consumer electronics, home appliance, healthcare, telecommunications, banking, and energy.
A report submitted by The Business Research Company (TBRC) revealed that the global electronics market is expected to reach $3 trillion by the year 2020.
The electronics industry is rife with cut-throat competition and largely driven by consumer’s desire for using devices with improved and innovative capabilities. As a result, this sector is constantly looking for technologies that can not only meet the market demand, but also offer products and services at an affordable cost.
Here are four top technology trends in the electronics domain that promise to open up new pathways for this industry in the coming years.
Table of Contents
1. Virtual Reality Technology Will Meet Electronics Manufacturing
Until recently, virtual reality (VR) or immersive computer technology (ICT) has been largely used as a consumer gimmick in shopping malls and the entertainment industry. However, in the coming years, this technology will be increasingly used as a functional industrial tool and is expected to mature with noteworthy prowess, especially in the electronics domain.
Electronics manufacturers and engineers are gradually using VR to conduct design review and create real-world products in a virtual space, thereby enabling them to test the model before expending resources to create a physical product.
Design review is an important milestone in the electronics product development, where the requirements of the project are evaluated with respect to the product design even before the prototype is created. VR technology allows the design team to review the design and anticipate future problems, thereby reducing product development costs.
Moreover, in cases of complex electronic products, it is not always possible to present a prototype to the customers. In such cases, VR allows engineers to create an effective presentation of the product, both prototype and the finished gadget, by recreating the internal parts and the mechanism in a virtual environment. Thus, electronics manufacturers can make a product presentation by dismantling and reassembling the parts to demonstrate how the electrical components work.
2. Increased Dependence on Robotics and Automation
The electronics sector is one of the most rapidly changing branches of the manufacturing industry, driven by innovative technology. Consequently, several electronics manufacturers are using robotics and automation in their manufacturing processes in order to improve shop floor efficiency, offer consistent product quality, and minimize human errors.
In fact, according to a report published by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), by the year 2025, 1.2 million industrial robots will be deployed in the electronics sector in order to improve productivity, reduce production costs, and gain competitive advantage.
Robotics and automation are enabling two changes in the electronics manufacturing domain:
- Miniaturization: Several tasks, especially the ones involving assembly of small electronic components cannot be done by humans. Product engineers are realizing the importance of deploying robotics and automation in such complex tasks to achieve precision.
- Reshoring: As manufacturers experience the benefits of disruptive technologies, businesses around the world are switching away from manual processes and investing in robotics and automation to reduce the downtime, lower the unit cost, improve the yield, and optimize the supply chain.
Small electronic parts, high precision, increased speed of operation, and low manufacturing costs are typical of the electronics industry. Since robotics and automation offer solutions to these requirements, its application in the electronics domain is expected to increase in the coming years.
3. The Growth of Interconnected Devices Will Make Sensor Technology Indispensable
The increasing demand for smart and connected devices is making sensor technology an integral part of the digital ecosystem. The internet of things (IoT) is a network that can connect billions of data points to the cloud, thereby enabling innovative applications such as wearable technologies, intelligent devices, smart homes, and self-regulating buildings.
For instance, Amazon was among the first to incorporate audio beam sensors in Amazon Echo. This Alexa-enabled smart speaker uses an array of microphones to gather 3D orientation information about the source of a sound.
Likewise, in the smart household devices domain, LG and Samsung have created applications that enable homeowners to monitor their smart electronic appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, and others using their smartphones.
Also, sensors that measure the heart rate and blood pressure are being incorporated in electronic wearable devices. Levl, a ketone meter, measures the acetone levels in an individual’s breath to figure out how much fat versus carbohydrate his/her body is burning during a workout session.
With IoT gaining momentum and the demand for intelligent devices going up, devices powered by the sensor technology are poised to pop up in the electronics domain.
4. Flexible Electronic Devices Will Gain Significance
Though flexible electronic gadgets are still in the development stage, electronics firms are investing in this field to introduce applications that will transform the way in which we make or use electronic devices.
In the coming years, flexible electronics are expected to be in vogue because they promise an innovative design tool at a reduced cost. For instance, smartphones that can be wrapped around the wrist or worn as a part of your clothing are being introduced by electronics manufacturers to gain an edge over the competition.
Electronics manufacturers like Samsung are already taking advantage of this technology. This electronics giant is hoping to unveil a bendable Galaxy Note with a voice-controlled speaker this year. Similarly, Lenovo is working on a bendable smartphone that can be worn around the user’s wrist and tablets that fold into half their size. Recently, Motorola has been granted patent in the United States to manufacture and market flexible and foldable smartphones that open up into a tablet.
Thus, flexible electronics are all set to impact other technologies, thereby enabling new paradigms in the way we interact with sensors and smart systems. Thanks to this technology, electronic devices and display will no longer have to be constrained to rectangular shapes and rigid surfaces.
Technology, as it does in every industry, is bringing about a huge shift in the way we live our lives. This is more prevalent in the electronics domain, which is at the hub of all technological innovations.
The above-mentioned technology trends will throw some light on the upcoming disruptions and the innovations in the electronics sector.
Rachel Oliver is a freelancer who has a way with words. She likes to share her insights, perspectives and thoughts on electronic component construction & functionality, manufacturing industries, engineering, processing, machine and product designing. You can get in touch with her on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.