Monthly Archives: November 2016

IoT and Automotive to Drive Semiconductor Market Growth Through 2020

Integrated circuit sales for connections to the Internet of Things are forecast to grow more than three times faster than total IC revenues during the last half of this decade, according to IC Insights’ new 2017 Integrated Circuit Market Drivers report.  ICs used to embed Internet of Things (IoT) functionality into a wide range of systems, sensors, and objects are expected to generate sales of $12.8 billion in 2016, says the new report, which becomes available this week.
Between 2015 and 2020, IoT integrated circuit sales are projected to rise by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.3% compared to 4.3% for the entire IC market, which is projected to reach $354.7 billion in four years versus $287.1 billion last year, based on the forecast in the 492-page report.  As shown in Figure 1, strong five-year IC sales growth rates are also expected in automotive (a CAGR of 10.3%), medical electronics (a CAGR of 7.3%), digital TVs (a CAGR of 5.9%), and server computers (a CAGR of 5.4%).

Cellphone IC sales—the biggest end-use market application for integrated circuits—are expected to grow by a CAGR of 4.8% in the 2015-2020 period.  Saturation in smartphone markets and economic weakness in some developing regions are expected to curb cellphone IC market growth in the next four years after sales increased by a CAGR of 10.8% between 2010 and 2015.  Meanwhile, weak and negative IC sales growth rates are expected to continue in standard personal computers, set-top boxes, touchscreen tablets, and video game consoles.

The new 2017 IC Market Drivers report shows 2016 integrated circuit sales for IoT applications climbing nearly 19% compared to 2015 to an estimated $12.8 billion, followed by the automotive segment increasing about 12% to $22.9 billion, medical electronics rising 9% to $4.9 billion, and digital TV systems growing 4% to $12.9 billion this year.  The report estimates IC sales growth in server computers being about 3% in 2016 to $15.1 billion, cellphones being 2% to $74.2 billion, and set-top boxes being 2% to $5.7 billion.  Meanwhile, standard PC integrated circuit sales are estimated to be down 5% in 2016 to $54.6 billion while video game console IC revenues are expected to finish this year with a 4% drop to $8.9 billion and tablet IC sales are on track to decline 10% to $12.1 billion in 2016, according to IC Insights’ new report.


Figure 1

Report Details:  IC Market Drivers 2017

IC Market Drivers 2017—A Study of Emerging and Major End-Use Applications Fueling Demand for Integrated Circuits examines the largest, existing system opportunities for ICs and evaluates the potential of new applications that are expected to help fuel the market for ICs through 2020.

IC Market Drivers is divided into two parts.  Part 1 provides a detailed forecast of the IC industry by system type, by region, and by IC product type through 2020.  In Part 2, the IC Market Drivers report examines and evaluates key existing and emerging end-use applications that will support and propel the IC industry through 2020.  Some of these applications include the automotive market, smartphones, Internet of Things, personal/mobile computing (including tablets), medical and health systems, and a review of many applications to watch like virtual reality, robotics, and drones that may potentially provide significant opportunity for IC suppliers later this decade.  The 2017 IC Market Drivers report is priced at $3,690 for an individual-user license and $6,790 for a multi-user corporate license.


To review additional information about IC Insights’ new and existing market research reports and services please visit our website:


More Information Contact

For more information regarding this Research Bulletin, please contact Brian Matas, Vice President at IC Insights. Phone: +1-480-348-1133, email:



Top Takeaways from the MEMS and Sensor Executive Congress

The approximately $1.5 billion growth opportunity for sensors in the automotive industry over the next six years brings a rush of contending new technologies and new suppliers. New platforms may make for faster introduction and testing of sensors for autos and phones. And new MEMS sensors hitting the market suggest piezoelectric technology can offer impressive power and performance.


New crowd of suppliers scrambles after emerging ~$1.5 billion growth opportunity in automotive sensors


Auto makers will buy more than $6 billion sensors by 2022, putting ~200 sensors on a high-end car, for an average sensor value of $61 per vehicle, up 45 percent from 2010, reported Jérémie Bouchaud, IHS director and senior analyst, at the recent MSIG Executive Congress (November 9-11 in Scottsdale, Arizona).  While the majority of the total will continue to be familiar MEMS devices, most of the growth will come from other types of sensors, from LIDAR and radar to ultrasonic and optical, with the optimal technologies for most still up for grabs, and the market for each type still limited. Consumer and military sensor suppliers, OEMs and startups, chip makers and Tier 1s are all scrambling for a part of this roughly $1.5 billion opportunity.


The average chip value of the MEMS and sensors in a car will grow from $42 in 2010 to $61 in 2022, with much of the growth going forward to come from non-MEMS sensors. Source: IHS Technology, 2016.

Automotive OEMs want to control the sensor fusion themselves, so they may skip the Tier 1s to work directly with chip companies, with SoC suppliers like NVIDIA, NXP and Intel entering the market, along with startups with innovative technologies. A variety of smaller, cheaper LIDAR solutions are vying to replace the current mechanical systems, and flash laser and phase array approaches are closer to the market than MEMS, which still has issues with resolution, vibration and range. LIDAR will require more accurate navigation, creating a need for higher performance inertial sensors, bringing competitors in from the military side.  Adaptive lighting, to continually adjust the full-beam headlights, will see fast growth, with MEMS mirrors one possible solution. High-end cars are also starting to add remote diagnostics for brake pad wear or tire grip, and even microphones for noise cancellation. Electric cars would need significantly fewer sensors, with $8-$12 worth of sensors for an electric engine compared to $50 for a gasoline engine, but IHS forecasts that electric cars will come to only 3 percent of the market by 2028. Traditional MEMS devices for safety and power train will also see healthy growth as India and China add mandates for airbags, ABS, emissions control, and tire pressure monitoring systems, so IHS is currently revising its forecast upward.


Emerging platforms speed field testing and introduction of sensors on phones and autos


It’s not an easy process to get a new sensor designed into a mobile phone or auto, but new options for field testing and introducing new or niche sensors could make it easier.


I-BLADES offers sensor makers an easy way to integrate their sensors into an Android or iOS phone by a hard-wire connection from a PCB in a smart case or a snap-on module. The cases and modules are marketed to consumers for adding batteries or memory cards, but sensor makers can also use them to offer new applications directly to the consumer, or for testing or specialty niche markets.  First add-on hardware was for fast testing and shortened time-to-market for a system to allow buying and streaming video even when offline.  Bosch Sensortec also used the system for introduction of its environmental sensor, which i-BLADES embedded in the case in six weeks, compared to the much longer road for design-in from phone makers. The company was the MSIG event’s Technology Showcase winner.


i-BLADE case and snap on module with battery make direct hard-wired connections to iPhones or Android models, for easy integration of new sensors. Source: i-BLADE

Local Motors is similarly offering its autonomous electric minibus as a platform for fast iterations for testing automotive sensors. “This platform can get the sensors on the vehicle for testing in four months instead of years,” said GM Philip Rayer at the MSIG event, noting that the company aims to turn out new models of its co-created and largely 3D-printed vehicles every few months, and solicits help from many partners, including sensor makers. “What we really need is to have all these sensor sets blended into one system for simplicity, like LIDAR and vision, since they are all looking at the same thing in different ways,” he noted. “No one wants a Google car with that big ugly sensor array.”


Local Motors is looking for co-creation partners to figure out how to consolidate and simplify the sensors and wiring on its autonomous minibuses, planned to go through fast iterations. Source: Local Motors

The Arizona company has demonstrated quick design and production of products ranging from a custom cargo drone for Airbus to a specialty vehicle for the Marines. But its autonomous electric minibus Olli, initially aimed at low speed, private roads such as corporate campuses or retirement communities, is currently its main sensor test vehicle. The current version has some 25 sensors, including some being tested by NXP. The vehicles come with an Uber-like consumer app, and a fleet management system for a human monitor who takes over if the sensor information shows any unexpected behavior. (See


Piezoelectric MEMS hold low-power promise


Piezoelectrics look promising for new types of low power MEMS, with startups demonstrating very tiny and low power piezoelectric microphones and ultrasound sensors. Although neither is yet proven in volume production, both these startups have gotten these piezo devices out at conventional foundries faster than the typical disruptive new MEMS product, suggesting the piezo technology could be relatively less persnickety than some MEMS approaches.


Vesper says its piezoelectric microphone draws only 6µA when off, and wakes on sound in a µs, greatly extending the standby time and reducing power usage of a voice recognition device.  Unlike traditional capacitive MEMS mics, the piezoelectric device also works in dust and in water. The company is sampling now and aims at production in 1Q 2017.


Piezoelectric MEMS mic from Vesper reduces power usage and works in dusty and wet environments. Source: Vesper

Chirp Microsystems demonstrated a display that reacted to hand gestures, based on distance-sensing by tiny MEMS ultrasound sensors in its corners, made by sputtered piezoelectric thin film in a foundry.  The always-on unit draws less than 15µW, and wakes the processor only when needed.  CTO and founder David Horsley says ultrasound works better than optical or IR in sunlight, and has a wider field of view. First target market is consumer controls and augmented or virtual reality, though eventually the small devices could potentially replace the larger ones now on cars’ backup and parking sensors.


chip microsystems

Piezoelectric MEMS ultrasound reduces size and power use. Source: Chirp


This is a guest article by Paula Doe, SEMI

Thermal Issues Associated with Modern ASICs – How Hot is Hot?

This is an interview with Moortec CTO, Oliver King about the thermal issues associated with modern ASICs and ponders the question How Hot is Hot? Oliver has been leading the development of compelling in-chip monitoring solutions to address problems associated with ever-shrinking System-on-Chip (SoC) process geometries. An analogue and mixed signal design engineer with over a decade of experience in low power design, Oliver is now heading up the expansion of Moortec’s IP portfolio into new products on advanced nodes.



1. What are the thermal issues of modern ASICs?
Gate density has been increasing with each node and that pushes up power per unit area. This has become an even more significant issue with FinFET processes, where the channels are more thermally isolated than planar processes before them.

Then there is leakage, which in the last few planar nodes was an issue that led to significant power consumption. That has been pegged back somewhat with the latest FinFET nodes but it will continue to be an issue going forward as we look toward the next generation FinFET nodes and beyond.

In addition to these issues, if you are developing for consumer products, smartphones, tablets, that kind of thing then you are always limited in terms of how much heat you can dissipate because you don’t have active cooling systems such as fans, and obviously the upper temperature limit of the product is quite low. In addition, the hotter things get the bigger the issue of reliability and lifetime of device parts which is perhaps the biggest issue going forward, as we are then talking about electro-migration, hot carriers, and BTI effects which we have discussed in the past.

2. How hot is hot?

That all depends on the application! That said, one thing that is interesting now with the growth in automotive applications, such as ADAS and infotainment is we are starting to see that even 125°C is not high enough as those markets demand higher temperature operation.
So for those applications hot is hotter than it may be for say a consumer device where 40°C for the product might be your limit. Then there will be a thermal mass to factor in so you will have devices within that product which are much hotter.

But the key thing for our customers is knowing device temperature accurately. The more accurately they know the temperature the closer to the limit they can operate. That is really what it is all about for modern SoCs; being as close as you can to the limit without stepping over it. And because temperature has an exponential effect in terms of ageing, the accuracy of temperature sensors is correspondingly important.


3. Trend in use
Certainly a number of years ago when we started developing temperature sensors, they were being used generally just for device characterisation, HTOL, burn in tests and those kind of things. Then they started to be used for high temperature alarms, either to switch off the device or turn on a fan. But we have seen over the last couple of years more applications which rely on these monitors. Applications like Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS), Adaptive Voltage Scaling (AVS) and lifetime reliability. These applications make use of the sensor data in a feedback control loop. So certainly the use cases now are much more varied.

The trend for the recent past has been driven by consumer electronics and in those cases you are really trying to get a lot out of a device whilst not making it too hot, because it’s in your pocket, or its on your lap or whatever, so this has driven the use cases. I believe that we are moving into a space where just the cost of the advanced node technologies mean you want to get everything out of a device , and all of the different levels of over design that are added to the process, the design flow, take away performance. As a result, having sensors on chip, whether they are temperature sensors, or process or voltage allow you to get that little more performance out of your device and, or improve reliability.


4. What requirements does that place on temperature sensors?
The most important thing from where we sit is accuracy. The greater the uncertainty in the measured result, the less you can do with it. So for us the key motivation is accuracy. But beyond that the next thing is robustness and testability, because you are now using these sensors in application areas where their failure can cause system failure. This means you need to be able to test them, you need to be able to rely on them. So we are doing a lot in that sense to ensure that there is testability and there is robustness in our products.


5. How does Moortec address those requirements?
The first thing is that we meet the accuracy requirements and we aim to exceed them. In terms of testability and robustness we have done a lot of work to be able to provide online fault detection and diagnosis of our sensors.

This means you can interrogate them and understand if there is a fault. Firstly, it will tell you if there is a fault, and secondly you can then ask it what is wrong and it can give you certain amount of health diagnosis. In addition, we support scan chains to increase overall test coverage.

Then on top of that we believe ease of integration is an important factor. Not because it gives you a more accurate temperature sensor, but to make it easier for the customer to implement and use the product.


About the interviewee
Oliver King is the Chief Technology Officer of Moortec Semiconductor. Before joining Moortec in 2012, Oliver was part of the analogue design methodology team at Dialog Semiconductor and prior to that was a senior design engineer at Toumaz Technology. Oliver graduated from The University of Surrey in 2003 with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Moortec CTO, Oliver King


Silab Tech Ranked Number 21st Fastest Growing Technology Company

Bengaluru(India)- 25th November 2016- Silab Tech today announced that it ranked Number 21st on the Deloitte Technology Fast50 India 2016, a ranking of the 50 fastest growing technology companies in India. Rankings are based on percentage revenue growth over three years. SilabTech grew 236% percent during this period.
Silab Tech’s CEO, Sujoy Chakravarty, credits the company engineering team work and trusted customers with the company’s 236% revenue growth over the past three years. He said, “Our track record in delivering high end SERDES IP cores is well appreciated by leading semiconductors companies.”


“Attracting enough customers to attain such fast growth over three years makes a strong statement about the quality of a company’s product and its leadership,” said Rajiv Sundar, Partner, Deloitte in India “Silab Tech has shown the right caliber for growth.”


About Deloitte Technology Fast50 India Program
The Technology Fast50 India program, which was launched in 2005, is conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP (DTTILLP), and is part of a truly integrated Asia Pacific program recognizing the India’s fastest growing and most dynamic technology businesses (public and private) and includes all areas of technology – from internet to biotechnology, from medical and scientific to computers/hardware. The program recognizes the fastest growing technology companies in India based on their percentage revenue growth over the past three financial years.

About SilabTech
SilabTech is a semiconductor IP provider that aims to bring innovative design approaches to the ever increasing challenge of chip-to-chip and backplane high speed connectivity. The company has a track record of building high speed SERDES IP cores and in integrating them at chip top level. SilabTech specializes in low power processes and advance nodes such as 28 & 40 nm. Among the company customers are top multinational semiconductors and fabless IC companies, system companies and ASIC design houses.
For more details on Silab Tech please visit


Media Contact:
Name: Payal Chakraborty, Manager-Marketing Communications
Email Id:
Contact No: +91- 9945342044

The Future of Fan-in Packaging

Fan-In packaging has been a successful and steadily growing platform for over a decade. However Fan-In packaging should face a challenging future, announces Yole Développement (Yole), the “More than Moore” market research and strategy consulting company. Indeed, despite of unchanged market drivers, Fan-In packaging is showing an uncertain future with a slowing down smartphone market and the growing adoption of SiP[1] technologies. The integration of Fan-In functions in SiP could disrupt the Fan-In market.


Fan-In Packaging: Business Update 2016 report from Yole is the 5th edition. This year, Yole’s advanced packaging team proposes a market overview of the Fan-In landscape with updated market figures and technology roadmaps from 2015 to 2021. The consulting company investigates the industrial supply chain with a detailed analysis of the market positioning of each player. This report also offers a detailed analysis of the SiP impact on the market with two scenarios.



The Fan-In packaging platform remains appealing as an inherently unmatched combination of smallest package form factor and low cost. Due to these features, historically it found penetration in form driven handsets and tablets and has maintained growth within these devices.


“At Yole we estimate that more than 90% of Fan-In packages today are found in the mobile segment”, comments Andrej Ivankovic, Technology & Market Analyst, Advanced Packaging & Semiconductor Manufacturing at Yole. “With respect to Fan-In adoption, in today’s high end smartphones already more than 30% of all packages are Fan-In packages. Therefore, Fan-In packaging spread in the sweet spot mobile segment continues.”


Many companies are today fearing a general slowdown due to smartphone market saturation: against a 35% growth in 2013, Yole announces 8% in 2016 and 6% by 2020.[2] According to the analysts, the market needs to reinvent itself to avoid commoditization. Advanced packaging companies are so searching for new growth opportunities…

The biggest challenge the Fan-In platform will be facing in the future is functional integration of devices into SiP form. Under its new Fan-In report, Yole’s analysts indicate the impact of SiP growth on Fan-In unit production, decreasing the overall CAGR[3] from 9% to 6%.


In order to increase functionality and potentially decrease overall time to market and packaging costs, multichip packaging in the form of SiPs is already under way. While a variety of SiPs are already present in smartphones, a stronger push for further integration of multiple dies in one package can be expected especially in the RF[4] and power management domains. This implies that as a consequence of functional integration, a significant portion of Fan-In dies could be integrated in SiPs. The consulting company Yole analyzed in its report two scenarios: a disruptive SiP impact and a negligible SiP impact on the Fan-In platform.


In the case of negligible SiP impact, the Fan-In packaging services market is expected to rise from US$ 3.1 billion in 2015 to US$ 4.9 billion to in 2021 with a 8% CAGR. The Fan-In wafer count is expected to rise from 3.7 to 5.9 million 300mm eq. wafers from 2015 to 2021, respectively, with a CAGR of 8%. Yole’s market figures indicates the impact of SiP growth on Fan-In wafer production, decreasing the overall CAGR from 8% to -2%. The impact of SiP growth is greater on wafer level than on unit level, due to the size of particular devices expected to be integrated first.


Yole’s report brings a full revenue, wafer and unit forecast by IC device type from 2015 to 2021 as well as a detailed impact of SiP growth. A detailed description of this report is available on, advanced packaging reports section.


[1] SiP : System in Package

[2] Source : Sensors for Cellphones and Tablets 2016 report, Yole Développement, Jun. 2016

[3] CAGR : Compound Annual Growth Rate

[4] RF : Radio Frequency



Fabless Silicon Manufacture: Who Should Be In Control ?

Let’s say you’ve got a great idea for a new musical Christmas card solution, and you go to a Big Foundry and a Big OSAT and convince them to supply you. Great. But let’s say there are several other musical Christmas card solution providers, and they’re also working with the same group of suppliers. The Big companies can see that the musical Christmas card market is going to grow, and there’s a lot of innovation there, so supplying this market is a strategic objective for them: they don’t care who wins, as long as they’re in the game and are likely to be serving the winner. They don’t care who wins! So why would they work hard to make sure that you win, as long as their other customers include your competitors – someone’s got to win, and they will try and bet on all the potential winners, irrespective of their potential technical superiority. You have to work hard to make sure that you win: nobody else cares as much as you do about your success. So whatever you do in manufacture, you have to make sure that motivation for success is in the right place: the people who control the detail need to care a lot about its outcome.


Article3 image

So how do you decide what you need to be in control of ?


The Boundary of Awareness and The Boundary of Control


When you’re having chips made for you, somewhere there is a boundary beyond which you know nothing about how things are done and what the issues and risks might be. At one end of the scale might be the choice of which make and model of photo stepper is used for your chips. At the other end might be the content of the test program that sorts good chips from bad. Somewhere in the middle might be the suppliers of the solder balls that end up on your BGA. How would these differ from each other in their significance ? Well, the photo stepper really is someone else’s problem: your time on it is a very small proportion of its total capacity, and if it fails then your foundry has got a Really Big Issue to deal with. The test program, however, is for your product only, and it determines the DPPM (Defective Parts Per Million) rate that your customer will suffer; clearly you care more than anyone else in the world that this is done correctly. And the solder balls supplier you technically don’t really care about, but when a top tier customer asks you about your compliance with the US Dodd-Frank legislation, you’ll start to take an urgent interest in the solder ball suppliers, and the smelters that supply them.


So for all aspects of your product’s manufacture, there is a boundary of control, and a boundary of awareness. You might not need to choose the solder ball supplier, but it might be good to know who it is, or at least know how to find out who it is. That’s awareness, and it’s pretty easy to get, if you know you need it. Control is more difficult, mainly because of the expertise and time required.


The ATE test program is a good example: ATE programming is a specialism that is not essential to product development, so test engineering is frequently considered to be an optional skill in a company’s workforce, and test program writing is easily subcontracted to a specialist supplier. But the test program will contribute massively to a product’s cost and quality characteristics,  so you actually care an awful lot about how well it is done. More than anyone else in the world, in fact. So how important is it really that you have this skill in-house ? And if you subcontract it, how do you make sure that it is done well enough ?


A similar analysis can be done across all things that contribute to a product’s manufacture. This analysis should be done, with the aim of identifying where everything lies relative to the boundaries of awareness and control. Those that need to lie within the boundary of control need to be addressed with high priority: a clear strategy should be defined for their implementation and management. If this isn’t done properly, your company could have some seriously annoying issues to deal with.



This is a guest post by Paul Freeman which is CEO of PF Consulting.

© Paul Freeman, 2015.  This article was originally published by the NMI in 2015.