In this modern data-driven era, demand for high-speed data handling and transmission by a process that is energy efficient is surfacing among enterprises in the telecommunication sector and data centers. During the yesteryears, the microelectronics and microelectronic circuits employed at data centers for transmission has proven to be a colossal consumer of electricity. It is estimated that the global data centers consume roughly 3% of the total electricity generated globally, and it is only foreseen to increase further rampantly. Similarly, the telecommunication sector witnessing an upgrade from 4G to 5G require to substitute its existing base stations constituting micro-electronic components with much compact and energy-efficient circuits that can handle much more traffic and deliver enhanced bandwidth. As a consequence, PICs (photonic integrated circuits) that make use of high-speed photons (light energy packages) as data carriers are replacing micro-electronics circuits using low speed and energy-consuming electrons, as it offers light-speed super- energy-efficient data processing. Other lucrative aspects of PICs such as compact system size, high power optimization, low heat dissipation, minimal cost, reliability, and high level of component integration are propelling the growth of the photonic integrated circuit market. Owing to such lucrative peculiarities PICs have found the tremendous scope of employment in optical fiber communications, optical fiber sensor, biomedical, and quantum computing. And being identical to micro-electronics circuits performing similar operations, the entire ecosystem of electrical and electronic devices can be leveraged by the PICs market. The global Photonic Integrated Circuits Market was evaluated to be $439 million as of 2018. And with the additional scope of applications emerging from healthcare and biochemistry sensing, opportunities in the market is progressing at a CAGR of 35.53% during the forecast period of 2019-2025.
48% of Global Population Use Internet – PICs Market Leveraging the Bourgeoning Traffic in Telecommunication Sector:
As per the statistics by ICT Data and Statistics (IDS) Division, a United Nations specialized agency for Information and Communication Technology, nearly half (48%) of the global population were using the Internet as of 2017, and the usage is increasing at a remarkable rate with the advent of wirelesses connectivity. This noticeable surge in the global internet users is accompanied by an increasing demand for high-speed data transmission. With the likes of connectivity dependent innovations such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence (AI), along with increasing number users of digital content streaming platforms such as Netflix and YouTube, data centers are enforced towards growing their capacity intensely. As a consequence, the telecommunication sector reliant on data centers is the fastest-growing application segment in the global PICs market, progressing at an application CAGR of 39.45 % going through to 2025. Moreover, photonic ICs are commonly used in optical fiber communication, defense, healthcare, quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum simulation, and quantum metrology. Optical amplifiers, multiplexers, filters, detectors, lasers, optical fiber sensors, and modulators are some of the devices that can be integrated using PIC technology.
Photonic Integrated Circuits – An Imperative Asset Supporting the United States Ambitious 5G Evolution:
According to the Global System for Mobile Communications, in the United States, 50% of the total internet connections by 2025 will be 5G, while 44% of North Americans will opt for 5G by the same year. Since 5G requires larger contiguous blocks of spectrum in the mid-range (e.g., 3.5 GHz) and mmWave (e.g., 26 GHz) frequency bands to achieve its potential, the silicon-on-insulator photonic integrated circuit is implemented as a building block in photonics-based beamforming networks for 5G wireless systems. As the launch of 5G has witnessed momentum in the United States since Q4 2018, photonic integrated circuits market demand in North America is witnessing acceleration. This can be listed as the prime factor for North America dominating the photonic integrated circuit market demand, accounting for 40.46% share of the global revenue generation in 2018. This trend of upgrading the spectrum from 4G to 5G encapsulating all the major network providers across the globe is adding impetus to the global PICs market as well.
Global semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles market is well dominated by North America, as it held 48.65% of the global demand in 2018. Hence, photonic technologies with provision for low-cost manufacturing of sensors to be employed by autonomous vehicles are witnessing tremendous demand owing to the presence of leading players in automotive autonomy solutions such as Waymo LLC, Tesla, Inc., and General Motors Company in North America. A fully functional LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), a necessary constituent of autonomous vehicles, cab be built on a single-circuit with the PICs. Tracing the global trend of autonomous vehicles widespread in the area including Europe, China, and Japan, PICs delivering automotive economic sensors crafted on a single circuit, is bound to witness demand from the rampantly evolving automotive sector globally.
Similarly, the global healthcare sector is also moving towards automated solutions for diagnostics and detection. This can be resonated by the fact that the global medical robotics market is evaluated to be around $6 billion as of 2018, with the majority of the demand being sourced by Canada and the United States. Hence, photonic integrated circuit technology can assist in reducing a cabinet of electronics employed in healthcare services to a compact and inexpensive device using a single photonic circuit. Even the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the United States has released a study on miniaturization, cost reduction, and increased functionality of OCT (Optical coherence tomography) systems by integrating silicon photonic integrated circuits.
Photonic Integrated Circuits ‘Miniaturization’ Exploited by Consumer Electronics Vendors;
Owing to its economic peculiarities such as lesser size, lower energy consumption, and greater efficacy, the PICs have evolved as a lucrative substitute for microelectronics circuits in numerous systems and consumer electronics devices that require optimum performance and miniaturization in its physical attributes. As a consequence, photonic ICs have scored a tremendous scope of employment with their integration in mobile phones, laptops, smartwatch, and other mobile devices and peripherals. Moreover, rooted with computing competencies, enhanced level of integrated functionalities, power efficiency, low weight, and hyper-scale performance are expected to fuel the demand for photonic ICs in advanced devices employed in smart homes and automation solutions.
Photonic Integrated Circuit (IC) & Quantum Computing Market Key Players Perspective:
Some of the key players operating in the market are Neophotonics Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Infinera Corporation, Agilent Technologies, JDS Uniphase Corporation, Ciena Corporation, Luxtera, Inc., Avago Technologies, TE Connectivity Ltd., Alcatel-Lucent, Intel Corporation, Finisar Corporation, and Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
Innovation is paramount in this market for the participants to carve a niche for themselves and stay ahead of the curve. Nanophotonics Corporation, by implementing PICs technology, developed an Optical Line Terminal Transceiver. This development has the provision to minimize the expense of FTTH (Fiber to the home) network installation. Tracing the number of fixed broadband connections that reached 95.6 million in 2017 (OECD), and the role of fiber optics technology in harnessing those subscriptions, this innovation can deliver a leading-edge to Nanophotonics in the market.
To gain ground over the competitors in this competitive landscape, players are focusing on mergers and acquisition to exchange concepts and expand geographically as well. For instance, in 2017, detecting the lucrative market for silicon PICs in cloud computing and 5G mobile infrastructure Luxtera Inc., collaborated with TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) to develop the silicon photonics platform in TSMC’s 300mm CMOS wafer foundry.
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