Future of work in electronics: interdisciplinary integration

By Anne-Francoise Pelé for EETIMES – Companies are beginning to understand that agility is not some vague virtue. Agility has specific goals, and there are specific processes for achieving those goals. We recently spoke with Yole CEO Jean-Christophe Eloy, the CEO of Yole Développement (Lyon, France), about what being agile actually entails.

At the strategic level, agility means being able to identify and react to market shifts early and quickly. Meanwhile, product development is becoming exceedingly complex, both because multiple processes must occur in parallel, and also because many new products require disparate technologies combined in new ways. So agile companies commonly form teams that bring together specialists with distinct areas of expertise, and it is sometimes a challenge to get them to speak the same language to solve engineering problems at the intersection of different disciplines. 

Achieving an agile transformation requires breaking free from traditional thinking and operations to embrace a more collaborative and flexible model that adapts to the constraints. 

Here is a snippet of our conversation with Jean-Christophe Eloy, CEO of Yole Développement (Lyon, France), during which he explained the benefits of taking designers out of their functional silos and integrating them in self-managed multidisciplinary teams. 

EE Times: As a market research firm, Yole endeavors to capture the trends, challenges and economic impact drivers. Based on your market observations and research, what has changed in the way companies operate today?

Jean-Christophe Eloy

Jean-Christophe Eloy: What I see happening more and more is the convergence of approaches that were originally viewed as distinct and the integration of multiple disciplines to address challenges at the system level. For instance, image sensors are starting to be placed under the smartphone display. Image sensor companies then rely on the display technologies. And while the packaging was happening after the design of the device, it is now done in parallel. It’s the same for the integration on the PCB. New PCB technologies are using advanced substrates, and you have to design the substrates knowing what you are putting inside and knowing the packaging. 

So things that were disconnected before need to be designed synchronously, and that’s super-complex because you need people with a background in semiconductors, optics, and packaging to be able to say ‘hey, this is not compatible with the packaging we are developing in parallel.” Engineers must be aware that what was once done separately is now done synchronously. 

EE Times: Have customers shared such concern with you and asked for guidance? 

Eloy: Many customers are asking us how to do that in the fields of processing, memory, image sensors, and photonics in general. If we take the example of sensors, all the data coming from the sensors are processed, but the trend is more and more to process the data near the sensor. Where is the value? Who can handle that? We see a growing movement toward a mix of competencies either across the supply chain, from front-end manufacturing to the packaging, the modules and the integration of systems. We also see it across multiple fields like lighting, sensing, data processing and memory. This interdependency of things is starting to be a real issue for companies… Full interview

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