The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) urged the electronics and semiconductor industry to further explore the high-value Internet of Things (IoT) market amid growing demand .

At a recent event, Secretary of Commerce Ramon M. Lopez said that almost all devices will be connected to the Internet in the future; and semiconductor chips and electronics will do it.

“The IoT will be one of the 4IRs [Fourth Industrial Revolution] dominant technologies that will introduce hyperconnected devices using sensors integrated with other advanced technologies such as AI [artificial intelligence], advanced computing, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (or AR) for better product quality and better user experience, ”said Lopez.

It is estimated that there are more than 10 billion active IoT devices worldwide, the DTI chief said, noting that the number is expected to exceed 25.4 billion by 2030.

The trade chief said demand will be supported by industrial and consumer segments, including autonomous and connected vehicles, smart home products, smart health “wearable devices”, clean and resilient technologies and game products, among others.

“Entering these new markets will allow us to leverage our comparative advantage in the electronics industry value chain and move to more complex and high-growth products,” said Lopez.

The Commerce Department has implemented the Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy, which is an industrial policy focused on innovation and based on science and technology, to maximize said opportunities, Lopez said.

He said the strategy underlines the importance of using advanced technology to improve the global competitiveness of the local manufacturing sector, especially for the electrical and electronics cluster which is labeled as a priority industry for development.

In 2016, Lopez said DTI also funded the creation of the electronics roadmap. This covers AI, integrated circuit design, robotics, smart wearable devices, IoT devices, smart sensors, 3D printers, and autonomous vehicles.

“Currently, we are implementing multi-pronged ‘Industry 4.0’ programs to help manufacturers – of all sizes and industries – navigate their ‘Industry 4.0’ transformation,” he added.

One such initiative includes the development of the Securing Manufacturing Revitalization and Transformation (SMART) program. Lopez said this is aimed at removing structural barriers they face when participating in Industry 4.0 information, including lack of funding, skills training and technical know-how.

Meanwhile, the trade official has touted the electronics and semiconductor industry as a growth engine for the manufacturing sector.

“After four consecutive quarters of negative growth rates, the Philippine manufacturing industry is now back to a positive growth rate largely due to the rapid growth of the electronics sector,” he said.

For the first quarter, Lopez noted that the electronics sector saw growth of 17.5% while the electrical equipment segment saw an improvement of 5.1%.

The electrical and electronics sector was also the largest value created by the manufacturing industry in the first quarter after food products, he added.

This year, the semiconductor industry is targeting 7% growth despite shipping delays that threaten its supply chain.

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