Latest research by ByteSnap Design, an embedded systems consultancy, highlights the challenges electronic design businesses will face in 2020.
The survey, conducted recently, shows that:
• 20% of respondents said their biggest challenge is political uncertainty, especially Brexit;
• 20% felt that finding new business was a key concern;
• 18% said that finding the right talent and skill-sets was a challenge for their organisation;
• 18% cited meeting project lead times as critical;
• 17% were concerned about obsolete technology.
The UK’s potential exit from the European Union has a trove of implications for electronic design companies, and several survey respondents were concerned about how UK and European companies would continue to do business in the event of the UK leaving the EU.
There is ambiguity around tariffs and taxes, employment of European workers, grants and exemptions, and licensing and regulations, including the Radio Equipment Directive.
The result of this uncertainty is that many businesses are now operating on the “wait and see” basis, unwilling to commit to new projects and/or award new contracts that may be affected by Brexit. In the worst cases, component buyers are looking away from the UK and even Europe, to avoid having to change agreements in a post-Brexit future.
Some 20% of electronics professionals stated that finding new business and retaining existing clients is even more challenging than normal.
Some were concerned about finding enough opportunities to increase revenue and achieve growth, whilst others were worried about moving into new niche areas, filtering real opportunities, and offering products and services to tie into new trends and technologies, such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things) and EV (Electric Vehicles).
In addition to this, 18% of respondents found employing the right people was a major challenge. By far the greatest concern out of human resource challenges for the electronics sector appears to be recruiting new staff. Lack of appropriate skills and an understanding of embedded technology are also issues for industry peers.
And, some 17% of electronics professionals were concerned about technology developments, including component obsolescence as it can render an entire product very difficult to sell and leave a business with hefty research and development, design and marketing costs, and even manufacturing investment costs, with no avenue for return on investment.
It’s not just component obsolescence that brings technology challenges, respondents also cited the need to keep on top of programming developments; emerging technologies like AI, which disrupt industries as well as providing new opportunities; and having the technical knowledge to design smaller and smaller products.