Has COVID-19 Created a Tipping Point in the MedTech Industry? | Design News

As with any crisis, COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the need to respond to market demand for essential devices. For this event, this has been the need for personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other emergency medical equipment.

The sudden and urgent need for these has meant that other industries, including automotive and major electronics manufacturers such as Tesla, Ford, GM, Dyson and Apple, have stepped up to fill the demand for medical devices.

With the right systems in place, however, could medical device plants have responded better to the pandemic?

Many MedTech plants are inefficient. They lack visibility through the whole production process and are limited in their ability to increase capacity or throughput. They cannot easily ramp up production, activate new lines or transfer production to other facilities while maintaining adequate control of quality.

Source: Has COVID-19 Created a Tipping Point in the MedTech Industry? | Design News

Upgrading Electrical Systems with Digital Electronics — Finally | EE Times

Electricity distribution began at the end of the 19th century, and it quickly became clear that electrical systems needed to incorporate technological safety measures. Thomas Edison introduced the first fuse to help protect loads from over-current conditions. Fuses continue to protect structures today.  Edison also developed the concept of the first circuit breaker, used to protect loads and wiring from overheating, thereby reducing the risk of fire to structures and the loss of life.

Electrical infrastructure hasn’t evolved anywhere near the pace of,  for example,  Moore’s Law — not that electrical infrastructure needed that much evolution, but still. If we could bring Thomas Edison back to the present day, he would notice the changes in electrical infrastructure from his time, but he’d find much of what he saw familiar.

Government safety regulations have helped motivate circuit breaker suppliers to include new protection functions.  Wall receptacles and switches have taken a similar technological path.  The vast majority of receptacles are simple mechanical structures without electronics or advanced capabilities.

Source: Upgrading Electrical Systems with Digital Electronics — Finally | EE Times

The Craziest COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories | Design News

.. the internet continues to be a breeding ground for silly conspiracy theories, with the COVID-19 pandemic now the latest topic of interest for these theorists who may be less familiar with the scientific method.

While the origins and solutions of COVID-19 are solidly understood and follow the expectations epidemiologists have been explaining for years, the seemingly abrupt rise of the virus has unsettled people, so they are looking for answers that make sense to them, even if these answers don’t make sense to anyone else because they are irrational and/or demonstrably untrue or physically impossible.

Some of our favorites in the current COVID-19 conspiracy hall of shame include the following …

Source: The Craziest COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories | Design News

How Covid-19 Could Accelerate the Digital Supply Chain

Tradeshift, an open-source transaction platform, notes buyers, suppliers and their partners all struggle with communication — or the lack thereof.  “To mitigate troubles that have surfaced amid Covid-19, there are ways organizations can improve communication,” said Tony Alvarez, vice president for the TradeShift network. “First, form a digital relationship as soon as possible, if you haven’t already done so. Right now, engagement on all fronts is important for smooth transactions and business continuity in general.”

Cash flow has become a significant supply chain problem as partners across the spectrum have closed or cut back operations. Many small and mid-sized suppliers to global manufacturers are strapped for cash. Experts say not all of those companies will survive. “[We saw] supplier bankruptcies during the 2009 crash and is worse,” said Bindiya Vakil, founder and CEO of Resilinc, a supply chain risk management consultancy.

Source: How Covid-19 Could Accelerate the Digital Supply Chain

5 things you didn’t know about custom ASICs | EE Times

Counterfeiting is big business and the integrated component market is not exempt.  It is in fact a lucrative market which costs semiconductor manufacturers a lot of money every year.  One estimate from the Semiconductor Industry Association puts this number at upwards of $7.5 billion for U.S. semiconductor companies alone. Outside of the financial losses incurred, there is also a concern regarding your intellectual property being exposed.

You spent years developing IP to gain a leadership position in your market, and now that IP can potentially be copied and sold, resulting in damage to your market position and ultimately costing you a lot of money.  With a custom chip however, you can embed your IP in silicon and secure it.

Having your know-how integrated into silicon means that its virtually impossible to duplicate, thereby securing your IP and helping you maintain your leadership in the market.

Source: 5 things you didn’t know about custom ASICs | EE Times

Cisco takes a coronavirus beating as profits fall | Light Reading

Cisco is not having a good pandemic.

While parts of the technology sector are still viewed as a relatively safe haven, the world’s biggest maker of Internet switches and routers has just posted an 8% fall in revenues, to about $12 billion, and a 9% drop in net income, to roughly $2.8 billion, for the April-ending quarter (its fiscal third), compared with the year-earlier period.

Its performance will probably worsen, too.

Source: Cisco takes a coronavirus beating as profits fall | Light Reading

Covid-19 Isn’t the End | EE Times Europe

It has also demonstrated that it cannot simply be ignored. Covid-19 has dealt devastating blows to businesses, governments, and individuals. The global death toll has exceeded 300,000, even as economies and governments struggled to define the new normal that might allow their constituents to get back to business. Few events, including wars, have cowed humankind with such ferocity.

This is why the medical and scientific community is in a race to develop a body of knowledge about Covid-19 to better trace its origin, predict its infection trajectory, isolate it, develop treatments for it, and ultimately defeat it. Those efforts continued at the writing of this article and will likely persist for months to come.

Source: Covid-19 Isn’t the End – EE Times Europe

U.S. Moves to Cut Huawei’s Access to Global Chip Suppliers

Huawei buys chips from Intel, AMD, Broadcom, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Micron and other U.S. companies. Global distributors Arrow Electronics Inc., Avnet Inc., Future Electronics, WPG and WT Microelectronics are distributors of those lines. Distributors’ logistics arrangements on behalf of their suppliers are not publicly disclosed.

However, boycotting a customer as large as Huawei impacts the entire supply chain. Huawei became the world’s third-largest semiconductor buyer in 2018, according to Gartner, and almost half its $100 billion revenue is derived from foreign markets.

Reuters reports the measures also includes launching investigations and imposing restrictions on U.S. companies such as Apple Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Qualcomm Inc.

Source: U.S. Moves to Cut Huawei’s Access to Global Chip Suppliers

Why the Electronics Industry is Being Regulated | EE Times

Governments are regulating the electronics industry and our supply chain because we have created problems that we were unaware of, we’ve ignored, or we’ve addressed inadequately. These include:

  • Short product lifecycles that result in a growing waste problem; e-waste has been the fastest growing part of the waste stream for at least the past couple decades.
  • The use of toxic substances that are increasingly polluting our households, workplaces and natural environments
  • Wasting highly processed materials, representing extraordinary intellectual property, that could otherwise be reused
  • Increasing global energy consumption
  • The one-time use of valuable materials
  • The one-time use of increasingly rare, difficult to obtain, and potentially strategic materials

Source: Why the Electronics Industry is Being Regulated | EE Times

The Perils of Groupthink | EE Times

Take the Internet of things: I view IoT as nothing more than a trend to massively distributed compute and connectivity — but that description proved too simplistic for many people, who insisted it was way more complicated than that. Well, okay.

Having established “things” as a product category, groupthink then created “smart things.” The game was amplified by numerous analysts and consultants who took a new or existing product category, put the word smart at the beginning, offered a market forecast with a thrilling triple-digit growth rate and then charged ten thousand bucks per report. And people ask me why I am skeptical.

There was serious money to be made in all things “smart.” In 2014 Samsung bought IoT supplier SmartThings for $200 million; Intel bought health tracker maker Basis Science for $100 million, then abruptly exited the market just three years later. Let us hope that Intel’s investors see a better return from the recent $900 million acquisition of mobility-as-a-service solutions company Moovit.

Source: The Perils of Groupthink | EE Times