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February - 2014 - issue > CEO Spotlight
MEMS Components are Driving the Growth of Semiconductor Industry
Rajesh Vashist
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
According to Yole Développement, the market for MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) components is projected to grow to $22 billion by 2020, at an annual rate of 20 percent. A key reason for this rapid growth is that silicon MEMS components enable exciting new functions in a dramatically smaller size. For example, in the rapidly growing smartphone and wearable segments, MEMS components are used for timing, image stabilization, navigation, orientation and gesture recognition. MEMS components are turning passive electronics into intelligent, dynamic platforms that we interact with and are crucial to our daily lives.

Every electronic product requires a timing source, creating a large $5 billion market for timing components. Silicon MEMS timing solutions offer more features, higher performance, smaller size and better reliability. With these inherent benefits, MEMS timing devices are rapidly replacing legacy, non-MEMS products. SiTime, with 80 percent market share in the MEMS timing market, is leading the transformation of the timing industry.

Siliconization and its Effects

Silicon has displaced many incumbent technologies. Past examples of siliconization include the replacement of film cameras with digital cameras, hard disk drives with solid-state drives and vacuum tubes with transistors and integrated circuits. Not only do silicon-based solutions do things better, they do things that have never been done before.

Imagine every electronic product in your house always shows the same time and you never have to adjust your clocks. Also imagine that the time on all these products is accurate to 1 second per month, which is just not possible today. SiTime's silicon MEMS timing solutions are enabling this future.

Silicon MEMS will continue to displace mechanical and electromechanical components, and their use is quickly expanding into new application areas such as healthcare, robotics and energy harvesting. MEMS technology will usher in a new class of electronic devices with dramatic improvements over the current generation, products that are much more integrated, feature-rich and reliable, with functionality that is not currently available.

Look for the Moonshot

The biggest advantage that start-ups have over incumbents is "focus". On the other hand, entrepreneurs must dream big and look for their "moonshot". The challenge is in constantly balancing these two, but it is a huge part of success. The other challenge is in hiring. In the tech business, there are plenty of smart, visionary, driven people, but there are not too many that deliver results. And in the end that is the only thing that matters.

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