BUDAPEST, Hungary An era is approaching when digital consumer electronics and life sciences will merge to drive technology research and create new products and services. So said a leading executive from Avago Technologies speaking at the Future Horizons International Electronics Forum here this week.
Although there are societal concerns prompted by the promises and pitfalls nanotechnology and by the Orwellian overtones of this marriage of biology and information technology, there is litttle doubt that this wave could be a major force for good.
As a result, semiconductors could be a foundation technology for a new era, and it us up to engineers to use the technology to solve societal problems that matter, according to Waguih Ishak, vice-president and chief technology officer at Avago Technologies Ltd. (San Jose, Calif.). Ishak said he had identified three megatrends: demography, environment and technology.
With the unprecedented rise in numbers of people over 65 years old in industrialized nations, there is an actual shortage of skilled workers and an increasing demand for care for the elderly, home care, and health care. Another demographic aspect is the vast majority of population growth that is taking place in urban settings is in developing nations such as India and China. Low-cost labour supply will thus continue to draw industrial outsourcing while worldwide middle class wealth will increase and drive spending power. Technology will also be the main arena of competition between the United States, China, India and other countries.
On the environment level, Ishak reminded his audience that energy and oil supply and demand now determine the nature of the global economy with natural resources usage and protection taking centre stage of worldwide public policy.
If global demographics and the environmental issues are challenging, at least there is good news on the technology front. Moore’s Law will continue to hold over the next decade, with the integration of heterogeneous systems through wafer, and chip-scale packaging technologies, Ishak predicted. Ishak then underlined the digital convergence of computing, communication, and consumer electronics.