There is little doubt that the semiconductor industry has become a key enabler of the IoT revolution. Integrated chips and reference designs with all the necessary computing, sensing, communicating, encrypting functions necessary to supporting the IoT are flourishing and are enabling new services to come to the market
With forecasts of many billions of these devices being connected in the network, the future seems very bright for the industry.
But when you take a closer look, IoT is not an industry, rather it is an enabler for business to become smarter and more efficient in capturing value. With so many activities to accelerate this, it has become easier for smaller players with innovative ideas to assemble the technologies without necessarily having to develop the knowhow in-house.
The semiconductor industry is largely a volume-based industry requiring heavy capital investment. The potential dilemma is how does this match with serving the increasing long tail, and fragmented customer base?
Some initial attempts have started by taking the manufacturing outsourcing EMS model and stretching it to include shipping and end-customer services on the back-end with ideation to prototyping on the front end. Some chip companies have ramped up free web-based digital design tools, and a few have reverted to using AI. Some have even moved more radically and are repositioning themselves as machine learning software companies.
Are we seeing the start of radical change in the semiconductor go-to-market model?