INNOVATION AND CONSUMERIZATION
By Andrea Fiano
Carlo Bozotti has been the president and CEO of STMicroelectronics since 2005. His company, like Global Finance, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It is one of the world's leading electronics and semiconductor manufacturers.
Global Finance: What have been the main transformations in your sector in the past 25 years?
Carlo Bozotti: One is the pervasiveness of technology. The second is miniaturization—things are smaller and smaller, and this requires two things: a broad improvement in processing power, and much less power consumption. At the same time we see increasing mobility and portability of electronic devices. Another interesting change is the interface between man and electronics, and the role of sensors. Now, for example, we can detect many things that are happening in the human body.
GF: How has the opening of so many new markets to consumers affected your business?
Bozotti: There has been a tremendous trend towards consumerization. Our business depends more and more on individual consumers, and if we go back 25 years, the structure was very different. In those days it was driven by the office/corporate demand, and now it is much more driven by consumers. The other major change is the role of Asia, not only because it has become the hub for manufacturing, but also because they have made great progress in innovation and many Asian companies (many of our customers) have become global leaders.
GF: And looking forward?
Bozotti: We see four major areas that are important challenges globally—but also for us in electronics and semiconductors. One area is healthcare. A global challenge is that, despite ageing populations, healthcare should be more accessible and affordable, and electronics can play a very important role. I can bet that in 25 years there will be much more interaction between the body and electronics: There will be pills below the skin for chemotherapy that can be controlled electronically and can manage drug release.
Another big challenge is in energy saving, because consumption continues to grow and natural resources are scarce by definition. The third challenge is around data security and trust. We have seen that it is possible to access secret files, and protection is important. Electronics can help to protect transactions, and the flow and processing of data. And finally there is a challenge in smart consumer products: We want to get information quickly and wirelessly; we want to enjoy it on any device.
GF: This is already happening.
Bozotti: In 25 years devices will be lighter, more flexible, thinner, powered by the sun...