IoT and connected world poised to propel semiconductor industry

By Barbara K. Mednick

The shift from a wireless to a connected world, rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI), talent shortages and R&D imperatives are among the key insights from KPMG’s 2019 Global Semiconductor Industry Outlook, which was conducted in collaboration with the Global Semiconductor Alliance.

The top key survey finding showed that leaders of semiconductor companies globally ranked Internet of Things (IoT) – the technology powering smart appliances, wearable devices and “smart cities” – as the most important application driving semiconductor revenue over the next year. In fact, IoT is expected to supplant wireless communications, last year’s leader, as the key revenue driver.

“Smaller firms are increasingly the source of many promising developments in the semiconductor industry. They are particularly vested in capitalizing on revolutionary technologies such as IoT and AI,” said Lincoln Clark, KPMG Global Semiconductor Industry Leader.

“Our survey also found that demands for talent to support the innovation were seen as the greatest overall threat to meeting future growth," he said. "This talent risk was particularly prominent in smaller companies while larger companies were also equally concerned about being disrupted by emerging technologies.”

About two-thirds of the 149 semiconductor industry leaders surveyed named IoT – which has applications in virtually all industries – as the most important application driving semiconductor revenue over the next year.

International Data Corp. (IDC) forecasts worldwide technology spending on IoT to increase from $745 billion this year to $1.2 trillion in 2022. Wireless communications was seen as the leading revenue driver by 60 percent of respondents, and AI/cognitive/deep learning increased significantly to 56 percent, an increase from 43 percent the prior year.

Following are several additional key takeaways:

  • Companies are optimistic about the industry’s future due to the many opportunities created by the connected world.

  • Innovation and expanded R&D is the top strategic priority for semiconductor companies over the next three years. This was followed by:

            o   Acquisition, merger or joint venture
            o   Talent development/management
            o   Diversifying into a new business area

  • As the connected world requires an increasingly diverse set of products and software, the skills gap will be exacerbated, intensifying the war for talent. 

  • Although the U.S and China have increased in importance as future revenue growth drivers for the industry, companies should be careful not to rely too heavily on just two markets in their business model.

To learn more or to arrange an interview with Lincoln Clark, please contact Barbara K. Mednick.

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Barbara K. Mednick

Barbara K. Mednick

Associate Director, Corporate Communications, KPMG US

+1 612-305-5471


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Lincoln Clark

Lincoln Clark

Partner, Audit, KPMG US

+1 408-367-4914