Listening for the Bounce in the High-Tech/Semi Market

Photo by MichaelMaggs Edit by Richard Bartz
Photo by MichaelMaggs Edit by Richard Bartz

As goes semiconductor, so goes high-tech. That is a common thought within the high-tech community. With the economic troubles over the past year-plus, one of the KPI’s that analysts look at is the health of the consumer electronics and compute markets. Much of the technical innovation behind getting those new, cool, fast, cheap features out there lives within the computer chips driving those products. And it’s no secret that semiconductor companies and employees have been hit hard.

Many analysts are looking to the beginning of a recovery for 2H09. Others are saying that it’s just wishful thinking and that we are still a ways out on real recovery. In either case, there are two interesting industry events in July that may help give us some more information on where things are going. The first is SEMICON WEST and the other is the Design Automation Conference (DAC). Both are in San Francisco during July.

SEMICON WEST will cover a broad range of topics, primarily around various types of electronic products and the processes used to build and test those products. It will talk about technology and also give significant coverage to industrial equipment. I can’t attend this year, but I’ll be very interested in reading what industry analysts think. Capital equipment spending is way down this year within semiconductor and much of the manufacturing, assembly and test goes on in Asia. But this event may still be a good indicator of where the bounce may be in those areas. The show will also talk about hot technologies, such as MEMS and Photovoltaics. Both of those technologies have been gaining traction in mainstream markets.

DAC is a show primarily focused on the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software community. This is the software used to design and simulate the computer chips that will be used in high-tech electronic products. This is the area that is right at the front of the design chain and may be seen as a key indicator on the health of the market. When people buy new design tools and technologies, see key partnerships in the area and hear other big announcements from industry leaders you may be able to draw some conclusions on where IC design activity is going. IC “design starts” drive the products that eventually make it to market. I’ll be there along with a number of our Dassault Systèmes colleagues from the high-tech industry. We’ll be primarily showing the ENOVIA PLM and ENOVIA Synchronicity products that have a strong base in the semiconductor design world. But we’ll also be talking with our partners and listening to other vendors to see what’s seen as important to them.

I’ll be sure to send in some thoughts and observations from the show. Let me know if you hear of anything that we should be looking for at DAC.



  • Here’s an interesting article from Semiconductor International ( It’s a nice summary of the current state of the market and reasons to look for the bounce. Check it out.

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