Why was 2015 the year of chip consolidation? Asks chip v-p

Without doubt last year was one of the most eventful in the long history of the semiconductor business. If there is one single word that people will use to sum up 2015 then it is certain to be this – consolidation, writes David Somo, vice-president of corporate strategy and marketing, ON Semiconductor.

There are a number of reasons why the level of merger and acquisition activity has been much more elevated than in previous years. These are in some cases technologically based and in others economically based.

David Somo

David Somo

However, what many industry analysts have identified as the most important of these is growing expectations from the market for semiconductor manufacturers to take a more comprehensive solutions-focused approach rather than simply supplying ICs.

With this in mind, there are several major opportunities that have been on the radar for some time which are likely to come to fruition during the year ahead.

In the automotive sector, concerns about lowering carbon emissions and raising fuel efficiency are driving the increase in vehicle electrification. As well as growing uptake of electric vehicles and hybrids, functionality such as start-stop alternators, dual-clutch systems, continuously variable transmissions, etc. are all set to make a significant contribution to boosting fuel economy and curbing the impact of pollution on the environment.

In tandem with this, the incorporation of advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) into vehicles will help ensure the ongoing safety of road users, via access to data from various sensors (in particular from CMOS imaging devices) transferred using high speed connectivity. Driver and passenger safety will be enhanced through such technology as braking intervention, lane keeping systems, collision avoidance, blind spot monitoring, and lane change assistance. In time this will facilitate the move towards autonomous vehicles.

Likewise, the internet of things (IoT) will have implications for a broad cross section of different industry sectors (including home automation, retail, smart metering, industrial control, logistics, environmental monitoring, healthcare, etc.). It will mean that billions of connected devices are deployed in the coming years.

Among the hardware needed for such deployments will be sensors, wired and wireless connectivity devices, microcontrollers, and power management devices.

Through a combination of organic development and strategic acquisitions, along with substantial capital and R&D investments, ON Semiconductor has been able to keep expanding its product portfolio. As a result, we will now be better able to address emerging application areas like IoT and automotive ADAS.

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