How is the “Everything Smart” made possible?

Global news headlines have focused lately on the operational misfortunes of carmaker Tesla and other businesses along the “smart car” spectrum, but recent research by McKinsey & Company paints an otherwise promising picture of the multibillion-dollar industry that revolves around everything “smart”.

From the Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous cars to smart parking, smart building and smart lighting, McKinsey researchers chronicle success stories that give hope to an array of businesses, especially Electronic Manufacturing Services providers, which includes companies that manufacture, test, distribute and provide return/repair services for electronic components. These businesses play a critical role in the production of devices supporting or making possible the “smart revolution” as well as in work streams as varied as maintenance, servicing and upgrading. EMS providers — also called Contract Manufacturing — also furnish parts and expertise to assembly lines for original equipment manufacturers (OEM).

IoT and Everything Smart

Despite Tesla’s setbacks — which, according to most experts, is nothing but a temporary blip in one of the strongest links of the multi-sector ‘smart value chain’ — autonomous cars have a great future ahead. A future so bright that the U.S. Department of Transportation has not only approved vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems that will reduce the number of auto accidents, it is also championing an Intelligent Vehicle Initiative in order to foster human-centered smart vehicles.

With so many smart cars appearing on and off highways, don’t be surprised the next time you see a car parking itself at the mall. Advanced algorithms, sustained investments and greater collaboration between industry and researchers are helping companies shorten R&D cycles and move to the production phase quickly.

As scary as this might sound, smart parking is nothing new and has been a fixture in top-line, luxury and sports cars for the last 10 years. What’s new is the increasing number of government-deployed sensors that collect and coordinate an unprecedented amount of data on a daily basis, including traffic and parking trends as well as accidents.

Everything Smart also means Electronics Everywhere

The other big thing in the minds of VCs, industrial and government officials, is the promise of ‘smart buildings,’ and, to a lower extent, residential units. Authorities are implementing rules and regulations to promote environmentally friendly homes and workplaces, including controls on personal behavior, energy use and emergency system implementation. The idea is that a ‘smart building’ will, thanks to electronic connected devices and IoT-powered technology, revolutionize the way workplaces and nonresidential units operate.

Besides parking, driving, working and living, lighting can be another sector poised for considerable growth in the next five years, reaching nearly $23 billion in global sales, according to Smart Lighting, an industry-specific trade organization. That kind of bonanza has caught the eyes of several players, from technology giants as Google and Amazon to Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) providers such as Asteelflash, who are ratcheting up investments in various work streams along the “smart value chain”, offering expertise in the manufacturing of these connected devices.

A recent New York Times article indicated the rise of smart metering, energy-efficiency tools and smart home devices.

Google, for example, has a broad range of hardware products and services that help individuals and businesses live — meaning everything you can imagine doing from the time you wake up to when you sleep, as well as key work streams a business needs to understand in order to be successful.

The economic shift that the IoT and other ‘smart’ technologies are heralding is definitely an opportunity for many businesses, but it also triggers sector rivalry. Experts believe that businesses can seize opportunities by being early movers or early adopters (and improvers), creating the proper internal framework (around research and development, for example), to gain share in this multibillion-dollar global industry.

In an ever-competitive ‘smart industry,’ pure-player EMS providers such as Asteelflashare well positioned to serve an expanding array of players and consumers. For nearly 20 years, Asteelflash has deployed expertise, components and state-of-the-art tools to fulfill clients’ operational needs. In the new era of technology-driven ‘smart’ driving, parking, lighting and living, the company can add value to systems and processes requiring high-quality electronic manufacturing services.

Mathieu Kury

Business Development & Marketing