Wijburg’s argument is that the era of the personal computer as a driver for the semiconductor industry is over. The smartphone inherited that role and is now responsible for 27 percent of all ICs sold but even the smartphone chip market is flattening. "The new wave is the Internet of Things but it doesn’t need the most advanced technology. It needs the lowest power and the lowest cost," said Wijburg.
He then added that Globalfoundries’ own take on the fully depleted silicon-on-insulator (FDSOI) manufacturing process developed by STMicroelectronics was a good fit for many of both the analog and digital needs of IoT. "Globalfoundries has announced 22FDX (see Globalfoundries launches own FDSOI processes). By staying planar we can get near FinFET performance at the cost of 28nm planar CMOS. Also IoT needs very low power and 22FDX can operate down to 0.4V."
IoT is the next wave of digitization and will be driven by yet lower power consumption and cost. Source: SEMI and Wijburg
The event’s first speaker was Laith Altimeme, the in-coming president of SEMI Europe, the organizer of Semicon Europa. Altimime took the position with effect from Oct. 1 and has come from IMEC where he was director of business development and before that was in charge of memory development there.
Altimime said that memory manufacturing has taken the lead in fab equipment spending – at about $17 billion forecast for 2015 – mainly due to the transition to 3D manufacturing of NAND flash memory. Spending on equipment for foundry is in second place at about $12.5 billion in 2015 and logic and processor fabs down at $5.5 billion. The others category is down at $2.5 to $3 billion. These figures are for all front-end equipment including new, used and in-house. The total spend is estimated to be $38.44 billion in 2015 up by 3 percent on 2014.
Next: Is Europe well set up for IoT
Altimime also stressed the importance of the Internet of Things and said Europe has a full ecosystem that covers the ground from materials to systems and that the continent is well placed to provide "smart" connected systems for smart homes, smart cities and smart factories.
However, when challenged from the floor that component packaging had all but left Europe but was likely to be a key enabling technology for small size and low cost sensor nodes and IoT devices such as medical equipment, the panel seemed reluctant to either agree or say that European packaging capability needed to be bolstered.
Wijburg said that Europe still has a lot of innovation but that it would need to be delivered with a view to minimizing cost. Altimime said: " There is an opportunity but cost is the key driver. At the research level there is activity [in Europe]."
Semicon Europa has more than 350 companies exhibiting and is expected to attract more than 5,000 visitors.
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