In 1943, the then President of IBM, Thomas Watson, predicted that there would be a worldwide market for maybe five computers. However, the invention of the solid state transistor by Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley in 1947 and the subsequent integrated circuit in the early 60s by Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments and Robert Noyce of Intel began the digital revolution. Today, there are over 330 million electronic devices connecting to the internet every month and it is estimated that there will be 50 billion devices in world of 9 billion people by the end of the decade.
Over the last number of decades, electronics has enabled many devices such as the mobile phone in 1973, the personal computer in 1975 and the World Wide Web in 1980. Electronics has also made many of our everyday devices ‘smart’ such as the Television, Cameras and even Fridges by increasing what they can do for us. As we rapidly approach the era of the autonomous car, it is electronics again that is driving this innovation. Industry experts estimate that electronics accounts for over 30% of the total cost of a car today and will account for half the cost by 2030.
Since the arrival of Analog Devices in Limerick in 1977, Ireland has0 been successful in attracting other world leading electronic companies such as Intel, IBM, Xilinx and most recently Qualcomm. Local successes have included S3 and Decawave while third level institutions such as UCC’s Tyndall centre continue to perform at the leading edge of this enabling technology. Today Ireland’s electronics based systems sector consists of 8,000 highly skilled professionals in Ireland who are part of a broader ICT sector. The cluster generates over €9 billion in expert revenue annually while typically committing 15% of its revenue to R&D.
On November 8 at the Ambassador Hotel in Cork, MIDAS Ireland, the industry led electronics based systems held its annual conference with the theme
Innovations in Electronics, Enabling new business and addressing global challenges
Executive chairperson, Mr Leonard Hobbs, outlined the results from a survey which was carried out earlier in the year amongst the members which highlighted the fact that over one third of the sectors highly skilled work force is recruited from overseas and he expressed a concern that a lack of supply of talent could stunt the growth of this enabling sector in the years ahead. Mr Hobbs went on to say “While we recognise the good work done by government in promoting more students to study STEM, the focus has been largely on software skills. Today we call for a renewed focus on producing more electronic engineering graduates with both software and hardware skills to drive the next wave of talent for this enabling industry “
MIDAS Ireland was also pleased to announce that the recipient of this years ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ was Ray Stata.
Mr Stata was cofounder of Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI), in 1965 and served as CEO of the company from 1971 to 1996. He has been Chairman of the Board since 1973 and continues to serve in this capacity. Throughout his career Mr. Stata has committed himself to numerous programs to develop learning skills in young people and he has been keen to promote interest in engineering education.
A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Mr. Stata holds a BSEE and MSEE from MIT. In 1984 he was elected to MIT’s Corporation and served as a member of its Executive Committee until 2010. In 1987-1988 he served as President of the MIT Alumni Association.
Mr Stata was CEO of Analog Devices when the company decided to locate in Ireland in 1977 and since then it has continued to prosper in Ireland through many industry transitions. Today Analog Devices employs 1,200 people at its original and main Irish hub in Limerick and over 90 people at its design facility in Cork.
In accepting the award, Mr Stata said “I am honoured to be recognised by MIDAS Ireland with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. No one receives an award such as this without the strong support and assistance of a great team of great people. Analog Devices and I owe much of our success over the past 40 years to the talent and ingenuity of our Limerick and Cork teams and so it is with gratitude to them and on their behalf that I accept this award. We look forward to many more decades of success in Ireland and collaboration with the country’s electronics sector to drive our mutual success globally.“
Also speaking at the conference this year were Liam Madden, Executive Vice President at Xilinx, Sudhir Gopalswamy Executive Vice President at Cypress Semiconductors, Mr Ciaran Connell, CEO of Decawave and Mr Mike Leary, Vice President of Engineering at Qualcomm