Disruptive geo-political situations notwithstanding, Cadence's Ahuja is optimistic about technology in 2017 and identifies key trends and drivers that will fuel the year.
In 2016, we witnessed disruptive geo-political situations, both in India and globally, which are likely to have long-lasting repercussions across the board. While this could lead to a bit of uncertainty, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about technology in 2017.
It is no surprise that internet of things (IoT) applications will continue to grow, especially in the Industrial vertical in the near term. The growth in IoT, edge devices and a wide variety of sensors will lead to a data explosion at an unprecedented rate. The need to make sense of data will drive investments in communication infrastructure such as 5G and datacentre capacity.
Following the point above, artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning will continue to mature and find new and interesting applications. Deep learning enables the building of electronic systems that analyse massive amounts of data, recognise patterns and extract relevant information from speech, images and social network traffic. At the centre of deep learning is neural networks. Neural networks are computer systems that have evolved and accelerated in recent years to allow us to automatically recognise patterns so we can take proper actions.
Deep learning is already visible to us today in speech and image recognition and is likely to become even more pervasive. We expect that there will be a continued shift towards alternate modes of human-computer interaction including voice, vision, gesture, etc., that will both require and drive AI/deep learning. Both of these will lead to the next killer app, which is most likely going to be in the augmented reality (AR) space.
From a design perspective, with the explosion of sensors and real-world interfaces, analog and mixed-signal design and heterogeneous integration, which some refer to as “More than Moore”, will continue to grow in importance. There will be further evolution in tools and methodologies to improve predictability and productivity in these design paradigms.
Data security has been a concern for many years now, and with the data explosion set to grow exponentially, the concerns about safety and security will only intensify, especially in certain end-market applications like medical, automotive, mil/aero/space and industrial. There is a real need for solutions to address them at all levels within the system design stack.
System design enablement refers to the trend that end applications and markets drive the hardware, not the other way around. In other words, the hardware is optimised for the software/applications. As software and applications become more complex across verticals—from consumer electronics to automotive electronics to medical electronics—this trend will continue.
In India, the need of the hour is policy implementation in accordance with local government standards. For example, 2011’s National Policy on Electronics outlined a comprehensive roadmap, covering incubation centres, an Electronics Development Fund and manpower initiatives, but we have yet to see real progress on implementation.
There is a window of opportunity as the IoT landscape develops—the world has still not seen a “killer app” in the IoT space—and there is no reason why Indian start-ups cannot take advantage of this global opportunity. We have the design and project management skills, and we have a developing ecosystem. Now what is needed is the injection of funds to encourage entrepreneurs so that we don’t miss the bus.
Jaswinder Ahuja is Corporate VP and Managing Director at Cadence Design Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd