Enabling Digital Transformation in the Semiconductor and Hardware Space

By Daniel Jackson / 09.20.2022

Technology is constantly changing and improving the landscape of many different industries. With our cellphones and computers, we can access almost everything we need through these channels.

But none of this would be possible without digitalization. Digitalization is critical in driving industry forward, even in sectors like the semiconductor and hardware space. As a result, more and more companies are looking to enable digital transformation in these industries.

Digital transformation requires a deep knowledge of your network, so enabling this digital transformation in these spaces can be tedious.

Why Digital Transformation is on the Rise

Digital transformation is something that companies are undergoing every day. It involves incorporating more digital technologies into their process, with the intention of eventually moving to an entirely digital space. Doing this can help them become an innovative company within our ever-changing technological world.

What is the Semiconductor and Hardware Industry?

Even if you're not knowledgeable about technology, everyone knows how vital software and hardware are to electronics.

Every electronic device requires a semiconductor to function. Essentially, semiconductors are the brains of all modern technology. These tiny devices allow electronics to communicate and advance in communication. These are the components that keep everything running.

Semiconductors are everywhere. You'll find them in desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones, cars, planes, and anywhere there's an electronic device that holds information.

Since the 1960s, the semiconductor industry has been driving innovation. This billion-dollar industry is the driving force behind almost every electronic company worldwide. It also works closely with governments on projects that affect everyone, from consumer electronics to aerospace and everything in between.

Why the Semiconductor and Hardware Industries are Turning to Digital Transformation

Some companies research, design, and then develop semiconductors for hardware, helping drive the digital transformation of these components. Like other companies, they’re interested in digital transformation to stay on top of their game and serve their customers. With more people than ever interested in digital information and storage, enabling digital transformation in these spaces is inevitable and necessary.

Benefits of Digital Transformation in the Semiconductor and Hardware Space

Knowing the benefits of digital transformation can help to illustrate why more and more companies (including those in the semiconductor and hardware space) are choosing to go this route. There are several benefits to digital transformation, but these are a few of the top choices.

Data-Based Insights

The first and possibly most important benefit of digital transformation in the semiconductor and hardware space is that it will provide data-based insights for the company. With digital testing and test data management, you'll be able to see actual numbers that allow you to take action and repair errors in a timely fashion.

Before digital technology was readily available, data was scattered everywhere. After digital transformation, testers are able to see all the necessary data in one place and better find solutions to problems with the product. Testers can organize a high volume of data and store it all in one place, allowing for thorough analysis and decision-making.

Improved Communication and Collaboration

A huge part of digital transformation is improved excellent communication and collaboration amongst all departments of a company. Digital transformation enables people within all departments to communicate effectively and efficiently, which makes it easier to collaborate on ideas.

Improved communication and collaboration can prevent delays in response time, loss of information, and unproductive meetings in the brainstorming process. By integrating modern digital systems, you increase the productivity of all people involved in projects and keep people accountable.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

No matter what industry you're talking about, high customer satisfaction is the best way to stay relevant and keep business steady throughout the years. With increased digital technology, customers can get more tailored solutions and technology that will address their needs better than ever. For example, you can implement location-based solutions that feel targeted to people of certain regions, making them feel seen and like the company truly is taking their needs into account.

High-Quality User Experience

Within the semiconductor and hardware space, it's not all about providing high-quality products. It's also about giving users a great experience. When enabled by digital transformation, it can provide easier and higher quality experiences for those who use products featuring semiconductors. When customers are happy, they'll continue to use those products.

Decreased Human Error

This benefit might seem obvious, but when a company adopts digital transformation, it limits the amount of human error. Manual data entry and test data management was the norm for generations.But this allows for potential mistakes due to employees being tired, distracted, or for other reasons. Digitalization can help prevent human error and save the company money in the long run by performing those tasks automatically.

Enabled Future Technology Growth

Last but not least, digital transformation sets up an industry (or individual company) for future growth. Since we're a technology-driven society, if a company doesn't adopt technological advances, the company can and most likely will become obsolete. It’s easier than ever to adapt if you’ve already gone through digital transformation - the biggest leap has already been made. It’s just a matter of learning the right tools and making the right changes to the technological layout of the company.

Many companies you've seen fail within the last decade have done so because they didn't follow through with digital transformation. But those who do gain a competitive advantage over other companies by being a company that keeps up with modern needs and expectations. For example, some of the leading semiconductor companies that people love working for include Samsung, Intel, and NEC. These are all companies that have prioritized keeping their products and workplace in sync with modern digital technology.

The Importance of Visibility of Testing

So we’ve discussed digital transformation and established its importance - how then is the best method to implement it? When it comes to digital transformation in the semiconductor and hardware space, visibility of testing with test data management is critical to the process. Before releasing a new product or a software upgrade, it’s important to ensure it works as intended. This is important for user satisfaction and maintaining a good reputation in the semiconductor and hardware space.

You'll want to test all digital products before releasing them to the public. But since semiconductors are vital to a lot of products and hold a lot of information, ensuring they're high-quality and will protect user information is critical.

One of the main things you'll want to test for is visibility. Visibility testing allows you to disclose to users any known and unknown issues with the product. Even if you're not revealing issues to the public yet, it allows the testing group to identify the problems and provide solutions on how to fix them before users get their hands on the product. When a company makes its testing process more visible to users, it builds trust and allows for full transparency between the company and those using its products.

Problems Addressed with Visibility of Testing

There are two problems that visibility of testing encompasses: the visibility testing problem (VTP) and the visibility counting problem (VCP).

Essentially, the first problem, VTP, is when you looking to see what is visible through various avenues in the semiconductor or hardware. From there, you'll be able to see how many segments are visible from that original point. VTP checks to see if a point (p) is visible to s.

When looking at the visibility counting problem, you're looking to count how many segments are visible from the original point, p.

Through research, you'll know the visibility of and how many segments you should expect to see.

Once you've completed these necessary tests, you'll know where the issues, if any, lie and improve them. You can't fix any issues with a semiconductor without knowing where the problems are, which requires a high volume of testing (including testing visibility).

When you conduct this type of testing on semiconductors, you'll be able to see all issues detected within the product. Having all results in one place allows the test and design team (plus developers) to collaborate and assess problems much more quickly than before. Seeing problems and then finding solutions to implement quickly means the company can fix them and get the product back into the world faster than ever. A fast turnaround for issues will provide more profit for the company and keep customers happy.

Final Thoughts

Testing electronics is the best way to ensure that they're going to do what they say they will and provide users with a pleasant experience. With digital transformation on the rise in the semiconductor and hardware space, testing these devices is more critical than ever.

With high-volume testing, including visibility of testing, the semiconductor and hardware space will thrive with increased digital transformation. Digital transformation of the semiconductor and hardware space allows companies to provide a better customer experience and stay relevant within the industry.

About Daniel Jackson

Daniel is a community manager for NI (formerly National Instruments), where they create the tools needed for companies to Engineer Ambitiously™. His current interests are at the intersection of software engineering and DevOps. Outside of work, he is a marathon runner and is working on his first novel.

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