It’s much more important that everyone in the chain comes to an agreement
Today, European competitiveness is often linked to the concept of digital sovereignty, but a precise definition can be hard to pin down. Inside (formerly known as ARTEMIS) has been putting this question to our members across the continent, uncovering a wealth of differing perspectives but a common vision on the importance of an open community which pushes innovation forward.
No digital without analogue
“Concerning sovereignty,” says Patrick Pype, Director Strategic Partnerships at semiconductor manufacturer NXP, “we are all global players; we all have activities in different continents and this will remain the case. We have to look at the strengths of the continents and companies and make sure that we have knowledge in Europe on strategic domains like Intelligent Digital Systems, with special attention to edge computing and Artificial Intelligence. And although we always talk about digital, you can’t have digital without an analogue interface So mixed signal design and manufacturing is also an area which Europe needs to keep its leadership in. Bringing together chip technology with system technology via software is an area where Europe is very strong and which we need to keep focusing on.”
We need to focus our efforts on retaining and expanding the leading position in certain strategic areas of the chip-to-system value chain, such as automotive, Industry 4.0 and telecommunications. As Patrick notes, collaboration is key to this. “We have to bring our acts together and we see this happening in the automotive sector. It also needs to happen in the communication sector, which is an area in which we need become a leading player in 6G in terms of design and cooperation between system companies, software vendors and semiconductor stakeholders.”
A whole new value chain
As an industry association representing 246 members in 25 European countries, Inside aims to play a crucial role in enabling such collaboration. Through a wealth of projects, workshops and conferences, we help enable the transition from silos to shared knowledge. “In the past, groups were more horizontally structured. OEMs were just buying a system; the system providers were just buying a chip,” Patrick notes. “We now see Inside bringing together the whole value chain. All the players are present here and we see that it’s much more important that everyone in the chain comes to an agreement on what the next generation and longer term roadmap of chips and software will look like and on what to develop in the future.” Thereby AI/Machine Learning, security and quantum computing will be key areas for European players to stay in a competitive position.
And while the results of these agreements will be felt at a European level (such as through long-term guidance for companies and policymakers with the ECS Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda), the competitive benefits for each individual member should not be forgotten. At NXP, for instance, new insights have been gained through contacts with the automotive and medical worlds, helping to develop radar technologies and sensors which can be used in both the health and automotive domains. “I’ve also seen possibilities to come together with partners on some specific software programming on our chips so we could make them stronger together and build new solutions,” concludes Patrick. “We got some formal partnerships with these companies which would not have happened if we had not been part of the Inside community.”