The semiconductor industry is the most bullish about adopting artificial intelligence (AI) and understanding the significant impact it will have on their industry, according to Accenture Semiconductor Technology Vision 2019, the annual report from Accenture that predicts key technology trends likely to redefine business over the next three years.
Three-quarters of semiconductor executives surveyed for the report (77%) said they have adopted AI within their business or are piloting the technology. In addition, nearly two-thirds of semiconductor executives (63%) expect that AI will have the greatest impact on their business over the next three years, compared with just 41% of executives across 20 industries. This ranks AI higher for chipmakers than other new disruptive technologies surveyed, including distributed ledgers, extended reality and quantum computing.
AI, comprising technologies that range from machine learning to natural language processing, enables machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn in order to extend human capabilities. According to the report, AI will have a two-fold impact on chipmakers: opening new market opportunities for them and improving the design and fabrication process.
“AI will be a major growth driver for the semiconductor industry in light of high manufacturing costs and the growing complexity of chip development,” said Syed Alam, a managing director at Accenture who leads its Semiconductor practice globally. “To capture this opportunity, chipmakers should leverage AI technologies and partnerships to increase efficiency across their operations.”
A 5G Revolution
Nearly nine in 10 semiconductor executives (88%) say that 5G, the next generation of wireless technology, will revolutionize their industry by offering new ways to provide products and services. This revolutionary impact is being driven by the high demand for 5G-enabled smartphones, growth in autonomous vehicle manufacturing, and the rise in government initiatives for building smart cities.
The report also cites challenges that 5G network implementations pose for the semiconductor industry, including the high costs for technology and infrastructure advancements and the concerns around privacy and security.
The report finds that companies must support a new way of working for their employees. Three in five semiconductor executives (37%) expect to move more than 40% of their workforce into new roles in the next three years, which will require substantial reskilling.
“Technology advancements such as AI, 5G and IoT will force semiconductor companies to fundamentally reimagine the skilling of their workforces,” said Dave Sovie, senior managing director and global High Tech industry lead. “To do that, they will need to empower and skill their workforce to conceive, make, distribute and support the next generation of products in the marketplace.”