The industrial sector is frequently dismissed as being too complex and too diverse to be worth targeting, with senior management often focused on easier, quicker and more glamorous opportunities in the computer, consumer and communications sectors. With a varied application base, encompassing areas as unrelated as video surveillance, heart rate monitoring and agricultural machinery, this view is understandable, but in Semicast's opinion, also short-sighted.
Compared to a total semiconductor market of around USD 300 billion, the industrial sector is estimated to have accounted for almost eleven per cent of the overall semiconductor TAM in 2011, a larger proportion than the automotive sector.
Colin Barnden, Principal Analyst at Semicast Research and study author, commented “Cumulative industrial semiconductor demand over the period 2011 to 2017 is projected to total almost USD 300 billion, reinforcing the conclusion that opportunities in the industrial sector should not be overlooked by semiconductor suppliers”.
Consisting of application specific analog ICs and general purpose analog, the Analog segment was the largest product sector in 2011 and is forecast to offer the highest cumulative revenues from 2011 to 2017, of USD 80 billion. Analog could be viewed as the workhorse of the industrial semiconductor market, reflecting the need to accurately measure and digitize real world variables such as temperature, pressure, level and position, which is required in the majority of industrial applications. Typically, the need for high precision or high speed devices and specific requirements in an application makes customization of the analog functions inappropriate, so a substantial market for general purpose analog devices exists and is forecast to continue to grow strongly. The deployment of Bluetooth, NFC, RFID and other wireless communications protocols in the industrial sector is also driving strong growth for application specific analog ICs.
Discretes and power modules represented the next largest product sector in 2011 and is forecast to offer cumulative revenues of USD 60 billion from 2011 to 2017. Key areas include lighting,