Larry Desjardin reviews his Top 10 industry predictions for 2012. How did he do?
Danish physicist Niels Bohr is reputed to have said “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” At the end of 2011, I made 10 predictions about the industry for 2012. It’s now 2013, so how did I do?I grade each prediction below and add a running total.
Modular instruments will outgrow traditional products by 10 points. While results are not final until National Instruments, Agilent, and Danaher report their final annual results, this isn’t even close. Using key metrics within publicly stated earning results as proxies, modular likely outgrew traditional instrumentation by 15 to 20 points in 2012. Bottom line: the modular adoption rate is accelerating. 1-0
Asia, and China in particular, will drive a big part of modular growth. Using NI results as a proxy, we can look at their regional results. Sure enough, Asia is their fastest growing region with over 33% of all sales to date, their highest on record. This matches my anecdotal observations of high adoption rates by Asian manufacturing sites. 2-0
The RF PXI Juggernaut continues. Frequent readers of this blog know the answer already. PXI was on fire with hot new RF instrumentation in 2012. Combine NI’s vector signal transceiver, Agilent’s fast RF vector generator, ZTEC’s 802.11ac solutions, and Aeroflex’s PXI systems, and PXI delivered new RF functionality in 2012 that simply doesn’t exist in a box format. Expect this trend to accelerate with MIMO in 2013, as this is a naturally modular technology. 3-0
One “big iron” semiconductor test vendor incorporates PXI/AXIe. All good things must end, and there goes my winning streak. Ironically, PXI and AXIe are making strong headways into semiconductor test. I’ve seen increasing modular adoption in characterization systems and mixed signal manufacturing test, but just not from the big semi vendors. Message to big iron vendors: Don’t let the innovator’s dilemma cause you to miss this disruption or opportunity. 3-1
Modular instruments accelerate transformation of semiconductor characterization market. As I stated above, more and more characterization is being done with modular systems. This is particularly true with mixed-signal devices, and very true with RF. Note how Qualcomm unveiled their use of the NI vector signal transceiver for device characterization. 4-1
Three more companies join AXIe. Informtest, a Russian-based VXI manufacturer joined the AXIe Consortium earlier this year. But that is one new member, not three. 4-2
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.