What are the trends that will drive technology and innovation through 2018? In this article John Dignan, Managing Director of Dynamic EMS, shares his views on developing and growing markets, which he believes will impact the scope of services contract Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) offer.
"As we transition from 2017 into 2018, our suppliers, customers, and associates often ask us directional questions to guide their decision-making process for the year ahead. At Dynamic EMS, we take part in extensive market research and intelligence gathering activities to ensure we remain ahead of the market. For our EMS business, a strategic outlook is vital to allow us to predict; sourcing, equipment, skill base requirements and to maintain our competitive position.
"As I look towards 2018 and into 2019, the technologies that we are preparing our design, development, manufacturing and distribution teams for are:
IoT – BIoT – The connected world
"For Dynamic EMS, the IoT encompasses designing and manufacturing connected devices with smart sensors. This enables our OEM customers’ end users to do things such as asking Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant to turn off the lights or order a pizza.
"But blockchain, one of the underlying technologies for the hot cryptocurrency Bitcoin, can make IoT devices even more useful. It creates a digital record across hundreds or thousands of computers, vastly reducing the risk of hacking.
"Combining IoT with blockchain, or BIoT, ushers in a whole host of new services and businesses. For example, BIoT can be used to track shipments of pharmaceuticals and to create smart cities in which connected heating systems better control energy use and connected traffic lights better manage rush hour.
"In 2018, companies will begin to use Application Programming Interfaces, or software used to connect different databases and computer services. Combined with the blockchain Internet of things, it will be as easy to get data from sensors in a warehouse, as accessing websites on our mobile phones.
"All aspects of the payment chain are open to disruption as blockchain speeds up clearing house functions, while smart contracts handle settlements.
"In 2018, look for biometrics such as facial recognition, voice ID, and fingerprints to help make shopping far quicker, by eliminating the need to swipe a credit card at checkout, for instance.
"Instead, you will be able to verify your identity for a merchant scanning your eyes with your smartphone, in what’s known as a retinal payment.
"A bold clairvoyant could even predict that some major retailers will hop on the cryptocurrency bandwagon and issue their own secure currency next year.
AR for entertainment
"We kept our eyes fixed firmly on CES (Consumer Electronics Show), where we knew a number of the main AR players would launch their new products and quite simply have some fun with this emerging technology. The word at CES is that 2018 is the year that we will see an explosion of immersive computing as it becomes ever more mainstream, on ever more devices. The total spending on AR/VR products and services is projected to climb from $11.4bn in 2017 to nearly $215bn in 2021, highlighting the rate at which innovation is gathering speed.
Intro of Li-Fi
"Li-Fi, a new light-based wireless connection with data speeds 100 times that of WiFi, will bring high-definition virtual objects into stores. With Li-Fi and AR, consumers can see limitless virtual inventory in store, at scale.
Rise in artificial intelligence
"Machines are now able to learn (machine learning – ML) in much the same way as we humans do, and this leap in AI capabilities has been made possible by the massive increase in data and computing power. There is no single industry vertical that is not impacted by AI, with all the leading blue-chip players competing to make ML accessible to developers. We saw availability double from 2016 to 2017 as the scope of AI becomes the norm of conventional living.
"The medical device industry trends for 2018 are reflective of the breakneck pace of discovery and innovation that has arisen in the life sciences industry over the past few years. As manufacturers begin to feel the benefits of big data and analytics, artificial intelligence, and new digital tools, the medical device industry faces a new wave of opportunity for increased growth.
"In order to satisfy market demand and to meet critical regulatory obligations, Dynamic EMS became ISO 13485 certified in November 2017, clearly highlighting our intention to penetrate this evolving market. It’s hard for us to predict the speed, scale, and scope of how fast these trends will become reality, but I can say with a high degree of confidence, that as Dynamic EMS is an enabler to these forces, we will see increased focus within these segments as 2018 develops.
"At Dynamic EMS, we are all incredibly excited to sit at the forefront of innovation and technology and it’s a privilege to fulfil our OEM customers design for manufacture (DFM) needs, and to bring innovation to life!"