How cloud computing, AI and IoT will transform semiconductor companies’ revenues in 2018

The Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing are among the key application markets in driving semiconductor providers’ revenue streams over the coming year, according to a new report from KPMG.

Of the 150 semiconductor industry leaders surveyed by the professional service provider, three quarters said wireless communications, including smartphones and other mobile devices, are either important or very important. This number is down from 84% in 2016. IoT was cited by 63% of respondents, with robotics (45%), cloud computing (43%) and artificial intelligence (43%) also seen as important. Cloud and AI saw a notable increase year over year, from 27% and 18% respectively.

Not only are the technologies important in their own right, the report asserts that the applications have value to each other, with cloud infrastructure critical to enabling AI and capturing IoT-produced data.

This doesn’t mean that everything is rosy in the garden, however. When it came to strategic priorities for semiconductor providers, the most popular response – cited by 37% of respondents – was diversifying into a new business area. 29% said they are looking at merger or acquisition options, while 25% opted for talent development and management. Other responses noted a maturing market. While 24% and 23% said they were looking at greater speed to market and articulating their company’s vision respectively in 2016, last year saw these numbers drop to 12% and 6%.

According to a report from IHS Markit in September, the global semiconductor industry beat $100 billion for the second quarter of 2017, representing the sector’s best quarter in three years.

“The majority of semiconductor leaders said they expect their companies – and the industry as a whole – to increase revenue, largely driven by diversification into revolutionary new technology segments, such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and autonomous vehicles,” wrote Lincoln Clark, partner at KPMG’s US firm.

“We found that while most semiconductor executives recognise it will be nearly impossible to sustain such massive growth over the long-term, optimism exists about 2018.”

You can read the full report here (pdf).