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What’s coming in 2016. (One man’s view, anyway.)

One of the pleasures of the new year is reading the predictions of others on what’s going to happen in that new year. Thus, I was happy to see that Rick Merritt on EE Times had gotten his crystal ball out of storage and was making some predictions for the electronics industry.

I wasn’t so glad to see that his first prediction was that 2016 would see some major layoffs, largely as a result of all the M&A activity during 2015. He specifically calls out Avago/Broadcom, but there will be others. And not just in our particular electronics arena. EMC has been all over the tech news the last couple of weeks about their upcoming layoffs in anticipation of the company becoming part of Dell. Overall, Rick believes that the industry is settling “into its golden years of single-digit growth.” He doesn’t see any “next big thing” driving explosive growth on the horizon.  Virtual and augmented reality he views as over-hyped.

That brings him to the Internet of Things (IoT), which he also sees as over-hyped.

IoT is not the next big thing. It is 27 new things and a bunch of old things we used to call embedded, all blended together into a marketing smoothie that’s easy to talk about and hard to take to the bank.

He’s got a point, and there are an awful lot of silly, useless things out there parading around under the IoT banner. But the IoT could have been more positively framed if he’d expressed it the way that Critical Link sees things: in a couple of years, what we’re now talking about as the IoT will no longer be considered something “different.” When we talk about the IoT in the future we’ll just be calling it “computing.” Anything that can be embedded and connected will be.

Rick is also somewhat down on big data mining. Some of the luster will be wearing off and “the volume will get turned up on the calls for privacy and security.”

As I worked my through it, I have to admit that Rick’s list was turning into a complete downer, which is at odds with how we view the world from our little corner of it. But Rick ends his forecast on a higher note:

Engineers will make several key advances in the 10nm node, 3-D chip stacks and systems-in-package. Such core capabilities will result in a string of really great chips including Apple’s next A-series SoC, Nvidia’s Pascal graphics processor and an Intel/Altera accelerator for servers.

Despite the costs and challenges, engineers will continue to turn the crank meaningfully toward Moore’s Law. But that’s another easy prediction.

At Critical, we’re optimistic about 2016. We predict that we’ll be doing interesting work that uses the latest technology, and that we’ll be working on big important applications, not silly, useless ones.  Which reminds me of the ads GE’s running. I especially like the one where the new GE hire talks about the apps he’ll be working on, as opposed to his friend at Zazzy whose app puts fruit hats on animals.

I think it’s safe to say that, thanks to our customers who work on those big important applications, there are no Zazzy apps in our future.

Happy 2016 to you all!