Micron is marking our 40th anniversary on October 5, 2018. As part of this milestone celebration, we wanted to share our perspectives on the Metamorphosis of an Industry. We hope you enjoy our three-part blog series, looking back at the history of memory and the fantastic, foundational changes we’ve been a part of during the last half century.
From Standardization to Specialization: New Requirements for Success
The advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT) dramatically changed the landscape for computing and memory requirements, increasing the rate at which technology was (and continues to be) distributed into unique and specialized applications. Today, we have homes with smart TVs, smart yard sprinklers and smart thermostats as well as mobile phones with facial recognition and self-parking cars. In the very near future we can expect to see fully autonomous cars, artificial intelligence in a wide range of applications and 5G phones.
This diversification of applications has led to a corresponding specialization of memory solutions that give life to these and countless other products, necessitating more diversified technological expertise and continued innovation to meet customers’ - and their customers’ - expectations. Memory solutions – once considered just a standardized component, became a source of competitive differentiation.
The New Disruptor: Big Data
The impact on the tech industry created by the volume, velocity, variety – and perhaps most significantly the value - of data created by the IoT has been nothing short of revolutionary. Although there are plenty of “fun facts” when it comes to big data, here are just a few to set the stage:
- YouTube users upload 48 hours of new video every minute of the day.
- 571 new websites are created every minute of the day.
- 100 terabytes of data uploaded daily to Facebook
- Data production will be 44 times greater in 2020 than it was in 2009.
This proliferation of data has presented both an opportunity and a challenge to the tech industry. The ability to obtain insights from data and make decisions in real time is essential to today’s advanced applications and new technologies. To quote Pat Gelsinger, Chief Executive Officer of VMware, Inc. and former Chief Operating Officer of EMC Corporation, "Data is the new science. Big Data holds the answers."
Current computing paradigms are being challenged to handle the task of extracting the full value out of data. Scalability, power efficiency, very fast data access and storage are critical to take advantage of the value of big data – factors that memory and storage are best positioned to address. New applications are demanding not just more memory, but new types of intelligent memory architectures. To be successful, memory players must collaborate with a broad range of customers to understand their business challenges and goals. A good example of this can be seen in Micron’s work with the “MeerKat”, precursor to the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) initiative, an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope. Micron’s advanced hybrid memory cube technology plays a key part in the system’s ability to crunch the massive amounts of data being received from the farthest reaches of space, helping researchers learn more about the origins of the universe.
For automotive applications, voice- and gesture-based human machine interface (HMIs) can easily demand 100s of gigabytes per second (GB/s) of memory bandwidth, and Level 4 and beyond autonomous driving can easily require more than 1 terabyte per second (TB/s) of memory bandwidth.
In closing, it is difficult to imagine an industry that has undergone such dramatic change. And we are proud of the instrumental role that Micron has played in the world’s most significant technology advancements, forging a path of innovation and excellence and building a legacy that is 40 years strong and getting stronger.