Test & Measurement

Integration of Industries, Technologies & Opportunities: Discussions at the M&I Track at GIL Silicon Valley 2010

by Kiran Unni 17 Sep 2010
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Post-lunch session not withstanding, the industry tracks were well attended at the recent GIL Silicon Valley event. As I was facilitating the Measurement & Instrumentation (M&I) track, it was heartening to see a good mix of companies from the Test & Measurement, Sensors and Semiconductor industries. Aliston Thomas from Agilent technologies presented very interesting thoughts on how the company’s life sciences and chemical analysis business has grown based on a tried and tested lead management program and Agilent’s own PDAC (Plan, Do, Act, Check) policy.

The following panel session on an integrated industry perspective threw up some very interesting thoughts and ideas. With a mix of executive decision makers from Ixia (Atul Bhatnagar, CEO), Dust Networks (Joy Weiss. CEO), MicroStrain (Steven Arms CEO), Tom Brinkoetter (Anritsu, Product Manager), Brad Robbins (Teradyne, VP Strategic Planning), the panel represented both big and small companies, varied industries they operate in and growth objectives they want to achieve in the next 10 years. Even with difference in several aspects of their business, a common thought expressed by all the panel members was that new growth opportunities are going to come from alternate sources, whether its alternate applications, adjacent markets or new product launches.

Every panelist agreed that solution selling rather than focus on product is the way to go and that in spite of the downturn, different pockets of the M&I actually saw growth rather than decline. When asked if the recession brought them individually any opportunities, it was revealed that this recession has forced many end-user industries to become more efficient and therefore creating demand for M&I companies. Additionally, hitherto alternate applications such as renewable energy and smart grids opened up during this time, creating new opportunities for sensor, test & measurement and semiconductor companies.

Since Mega Trends and the world in 2020 was a key theme for the event as a whole, all panel members shared their own ideas on what they see to be the next big trend to affect their own company and the industries they are operating in. Dust Networks felt it was the notion of imbuing the physical world with the IT world, getting on to the Cloud and using wireless technologies to get there. Tom Brinkoetter from Anritsu agreed with her that density of wireless is the real mega trend to look forward to.

Atul from Ixia disagreed that the Smart Cloud is the next big thing to look out for and maintained that mobility is the next big trend and anything that can combine voice, video, data wirelessly will be wear the money really is.

Both Steve Arms from MicroStrain and Brad Robbins from Teradyne echoed the presence to electronics in everything going forward and that better energy harvesting techniques using sensors will be the way to go in the future.

Thomas Marlow, Intellectual Property Counsel at Fairchild Semiconductors provided several insights into Innovation and what it means to companies, how to recognize innovations and people behind, how to encourage it through what they call in his company Innovation Sustainable Environment. He defined a healthy environment that encourages innovation will have policies that help in the identification, induction of creative competition and the need for follow up through workshops and other clear metrics. Interestingly, the main hurdles that he sees with several companies are a combination of unidentified opportunities for innovation, missing identified opportunities and more often than not, just lack of innovation.

Overall, the track was a mix of ideas, thoughts and opinions and I came away wiser and more informed. From my side, I hoped to demonstrate some of where my team and I see as the future of these industries. Have attached a copy of the presentation I made at the beginning of the track.


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