The scientific community has identified four non-technical megatrends that determine our interaction and have a significant impact on innovations and their speed. Megatrends are those trends that have a large and epochal character and can be observed over a period of decades. These trends cause profound changes in the world, constantly and irrevocably. They do not change individual segments of our political or social life and economy, but entire societies.
The megatrends globalization, demographic change, urbanization and sustainability are having a correspondingly significant impact on developments in the electronics industry. After all, who will benefit from the best technology today if it runs out of resources tomorrow or demographic change does not allow it to mature to the point of acceptance?
Infrastruktur and transport with increasing energy demand
In the course of urbanisation, for example, new tasks arise in the area of infrastructure. These include, for example, the service recording and billing for new usage models such as car sharing, bike sharing and e-bike sharing. Traffic density is increasing and requires intelligent, software- and hardware-based solutions for traffic flow planning and traffic management as well as a coordinated introduction of different steps of autonomous driving with regard to traffic safety.
Generally increasing amounts of data require a powerful transmission technology for short, medium and long distances. This results in new requirements for miniaturised and robust RF transmitters, receivers and modules. Data security requires complex encryption technology and protection of the frequency bands for data communication. In addition to software, this also requires higher expenditure on circuit peripherals. The expansion of the infrastructure with base, transmitter and receiver stations, broadband data lines with many connections leads to high power losses and electromagnetic radiation, which must be reduced.
Population – more and more, older and older
The megatrend »demographic change« goes hand in hand with a growing and ageing world population, whose perception of health, in addition to a change in leisure time behaviour, determines technical developments.
If one takes, for example, the increasing networking of patients with their life-supporting electronic aids with the medical practice, outpatient and inpatient facilities or the monitoring of health parameters, it becomes clear that there is a high demand for new software and hardware solutions such as data security and freedom from manipulation.
Using ressources, not consuming them
A constantly growing population requires appropriate resources. In order to secure these resources, more and improved measures for recycling and re-mining must be provided.
Building on this, the megatrend sustainability demands improved resource efficiency. This includes, for example, the minimal use and reuse of raw materials in industrial production and optimisation during transport. For this, input and consumption quantities must be recorded by measuring technology and measurement data have to be used for parameter control to reduce consumption. This requires high computing power, the use of software - and hardware components - as well as the use of sensors and actuators.
The keyword environmental protection includes energy-relevant parameters such as the optimum energy balance and maximum energy efficiency. Both require highly complex simulations to determine optimum fuel mixtures and their flow behaviour in injection processes for combustion, as well as the recording of physical and chemical parameters at high operating temperatures for process optimisation and optimisation of the energy balance under real conditions.
Of increasing importance in this context is the relation of the consumed resources to the total periode of use. In addition, there are increasingly legal restrictions, among other things due to new findings on environmental compatibility and health hazards when using chemical products and raw materials. It is foreseeable that the number of measuring points and measuring accuracy will increase.
Dr. Andreas Lock
Robert Bosch, Powertrain Solutions, Software-Excellence & Electronic Controls (PS/NE-SC), is chairman of the technology platform working group in the ZVEI, which has drawn up the ZVEI Technology Roadmap »Next Generation«.