Without a doubt, the last two-plus years have been hard on the electronics OEM market. However, with state-of-the-art technology innovation as their prime driving force, the various industries that make up the EOEM market are more than just alive and okay—they're thriving. So in this special issue, The State Of The Industry, our editors take the pulse of the entire EOEM industry and all of its constituent parts, by application area. There's so much happening that we could not tell the whole story in print. That's why you'll find many valuable information extensions to this issue on our Web site at www.elecdesign.com.
While best-informed guesses lean toward bridled optimism for the general economy, important things are happening behind the scenes that go beyond current economic conditions. Everywhere you look, accelerating trends are shaking the foundation of the vast communications industry. The biggest opportunities for growth will likely come from communications-centered applications like broadband to the home and anytime, anywhere wireless communications.
In consumer electronics, everyday people are investing in home entertainment in droves as they're drawn to the quality of digital images with DVDs and advanced video and sound systems with home theater. Meanwhile, the auto industry has become a driving force in personal communications and navigation systems, thanks to global positioning satellite gear. Moreover, lots of U.S. companies will seek to replace their PCs in the coming year. Wireless is just one of several wild cards that could help boost PC sales overall.
Military OEMs are stepping up efforts to supply government contractors with the components necessary to design today's new-age defense systems. Enhanced homeland security remains largely in the planning stage, but improved technologies will definitely play an increasing role in the campaign to strengthen our borders and make our skies safer.
Until now, the medical establishment has been slow to adopt state-of-the-art technology. But driven by the rising health-care demands, medical technology looks set to enter a golden age. At the same time, a new industrial revolution is changing the shape of the automated factory. Some say that in 10 years or less, the robotics industry alone could grow in size to rival the PC industry.
As technology becomes more about the people who use it, state-of-the-art product design—the forte of Electronic Design readers—is becoming more important than ever. And no industry is being left untouched.