COVID-19 Impact to Semiconductor Industry

Cities all over the world are grappling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing long-standing challenges alongside new ones on multiple fronts. The United Nations (UN) estimates that the impact of the crisis on the world economy will hit $1 trillion this year alone. IDC expects the overall semiconductor market to decline 4.2% and non-memory market is expected to decline 7.2% in 2020 as the global economy fights to recover from the global crisis.

Accelerating Product Improvement (RPI)

To mitigate the huge impact resulted from the unprecedented pandemic, management consultants like McKinsey & Co are suggesting Rapid Product Improvement (RPI) consists of 4 key launch accelerators namely a) Empowered cross functional task force, b) Actionable insights, c) Relentless focus on execution and d) Design-sprint approach. Evercomm Singapore, an energy AI startup incubated and accelerated by NTUitive— Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and accredited by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) addresses the first three (3) accelerators through their AI driven remote digital assistant tool.

AI-driven Remote Digital Assistant

This tool comprises of IoT sensor & Operations chatbot which has the capabilities of transmitting data wirelessly to the operational chatbot where the production operators can retrieve/receive the data in real-time remotely and it also keeps track of the performance of these equipment assets proactively through real-time alerts and notifications. This platform also allows the management and operations team to collaborate virtually and thus empowers cross functional team collaborations. It also provides real-times equipment operations insights.

Semiconductor SME Digitization

World-wide experts and consultants recommend accelerating digitization to increase resilience. Digitization is all the more important to SMEs because of productivity losses due to  COVID-19 regulations like social distancing, workplace safety, shortage manpower etc. A robust technology infrastructure and end-to-end digital processes are the key elements to safeguard productivity during this pandemic crisis. Digitization helps semicon SMEs in ensuring business continuity which is one of the top priorities of all the SMEs to stay relevant in the Industry.

Problem as an “Opportunity”

In a way, COVID-19 outbreak has boosted the awareness of need for digitalization. Right now, businesses see the value proposition – whether it is working remotely, whether it is transacting with business partners around the world – and also for employees understanding why digital technologies are very relevant and useful. SMEs need to manage their digital transformation journey in taking incremental steps instead of jumping into the deep end in one fell swoop.

Globally, governments are providing relief payouts, grants, incentives to SMEs to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Singapore Government has announced several financial support mechanisms to SMEs during this challenging period. Government is providing special incentives to the SMEs who embrace digitization through several programs like SME-Go- Digital, Digital Resilience Bonus etc. SMEs take this problem as an opportunity to digitize and improve their productivity.

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