By Richard Comerford
Reports from the MEMS Congress which opened in yesterday in Monterey, CA, indicate that the market for MEMS devices will continue to be strong for the next few years. Attendance at the Congress is up by 25% over last year, and panelist in the opening session were all in agreement that market growth would be strong in 2012 and 2013, after a robust 2011. Jeremie Bouchard, principal analyst for MEMS at IHS iSuppli, predicted that MEMS markets would grow at a rate of 22% CAGR, going from $1.5 in 2010 to $4.4B in 2015, and that 2010 to 2013 would be the “fat years” for MEMS. Jean-Christophe Eloy, general manager at Yole Development, also saw a strong market, although seeing a more conservative 15% CAGR. Tony Massimini, chief of technology for micrologic at Semico Research said that MEMS was the “bright spot” in the semiconductor industry, which would bottom out in February 2012, and despite weakness in consumer spending, MEMS would continue to see growth due to a 22% CAGR in smartphone sales from 2011 to 2014. The strongest markets for MEMS would continue to be in smartphones and automotive applications, the latter being responsible for half of all MEMS sales.
Julie Ask, VP and principal analyst, at Forrester Research, reported that one challenge for MEMS companies was to see that smartphones were not PCs, and that the model for usage was significantly different; MEMS solutions would have to conform to this new model. And the biggest financial problem for MEMS companies, according to the panel moderator Scott Livingston, CEO of Livingston Securities, was that access to new capital was being blocked by the “IPO cartel”, a group he said consisted not of venture capitalists, but of hedge-fund managers.