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Prathima_Bommakanti-FSWhat’s in Store for the Electronic Test Industry in Europe?

By: Prathima Bommakanti, Industry Analyst, Frost & Sullivan

23 December 2011 - Be it R&D, manufacturing or maintenance, general purpose (GP) test equipment is a significant part of the electronic world, embracing every walk of industry spanning from communications, automotive, aerospace, defense, medical industry and others.  Such equipment is not only being used to minimize technological glitches but is also increasingly used to augment the productivity, functionality and repeatability of end-user products.

Eastern Europe - A Goldmine

Eastern Europe represents a potentially significant source of demand for GP test equipment in Europe. The demand for such equipment stems primarily from communications, consumer electronics, automotive and consumer electronics. The European GP test equipment market will continue to grow in the near future, by virtue of increasing investments in different sectors. Even though the existing high investments will subside in the long term, Eastern Europe will continue to attract manufacturers and contribute significantly in sustaining the demand for the GP test equipment market in Europe in the foreseeable future.

Europe - The Main Hub for the Communication industry

In terms of technology innovation Europe is the leading market for technologies such as wireless. There is a major concentration of technology, vendors, mobile user equipment and network equipment manufacturers in Europe catering to different technologies across the globe. With evolving standards, usage of enhanced multiplexing techniques, and demand for interoperable equipment in the communication industry, there is/will be high demand for advanced GP testing solutions.
‘We see growth in the market driven by mobile broadband and smartphones, driving new test requirements through the whole telecommunications segment. At the same time, the traditional T&M base business is relatively stable but may be limited by the economic outlook in Europe. We see customer demand for test equipment continuing to grow, but with high demands for innovative new solutions that help customers better manage both the capital cost and operational cost of test”, says Jonathan Borrill, Marketing Director, Strategy from Anritsu Corporation.

R&D Investment – A Key Strategy

The European market leads the global market in terms of product innovation. Engineering excellence, innovation, and technical expertise go hand in hand and is helping to set standards worldwide in research, development, production, and service, ensuring that the region overall garners commendable market share in the overall test and measurement equipment market.
‘Innovation and investment in R&D proves vital to stay competitive in the oscilloscopes market. This is why we have introduced the fastest real time scope with 60 GHz, which is used in the high speed telecommunication and semiconductor markets. Multichannel functioning, high performance feature sets, speed of processing and acquisition rates remain critical to address evolving end-user technologies.Primary target markets are 28 Gb/s SERDES development, Optical Coherent Modulation Application and Multilane Serial Data Testing as 40 and 10 Gb Ethernet and multi lane PCI Express Tests’, states Roberto Petrillo, Global Vice President of Sales for LeCroy Corporation.
Product introductions have been one of the key strategies adopted by vendors to sustain growth in the competitive general purpose test equipment market. Vendors have consistently reinvested in R&D to keep pace with end users’ technological advancements and introduced game changing products in 2010 and 2011.‘

Modular Vs Traditional

The ability to scale systems and leverage investment across the entire product lifecycle is one of the key differentiating factors in favour of modular instruments over traditional test equipment.

As open systems, there is growing acceptance of modular instruments overall, with increased penetration in the aerospace and defense industry. All stand witness to the fact that modular instrumentation has a promising future in the test and measurement market. With the economic struggles of Europe, end users are expected to maintain their focus on lowering the cost of test, which augurs well for this type of instrumentation. The growth of the RF market in the PXI-based test and measurement equipment market, the move to switch serial technology opening convergence opportunities between different modules and significant product introductions address end user demand for feature-rich testing equipment while offering a higher level of scalability.

'As the devices under test become complex, test systems must be scalable and flexible. A software defined modular architecture is in greater demand as it meets the evolving end user technologies and has longer system lifetime. Also with the end user preference for custom measurements, there is a growing role of complex software in a wide range of test equipment.' Quotes Matthew Friedman, Senior Product Manager from National Instruments.

Calm in the Midst of the Storm

The European GP market is large, not just from a revenue perspective but also from the standpoint of competitors actively involved in this industry. The initial momentum provided by fiscal stimuli, increase in order intakes and the global upswing is gradually giving way to a more broadly based recovery in which increasing manufacturing set ups in Eastern Europe and demand from communications and aerospace & defense are playing a larger role for participants in the GP test market.

FrostSullivan-GP-TestEquipmentNote: MM – Multimeter, EC – Electronic Counters , SA- Spectrum Analyser, NeA- Network Analyser, LA- Logic Analyser, PM – Power Meter, Osc- Oscilloscopes, MI, Modular Instruments , SG&AW- Signal Generators & Arbitrary Waveform Generators
Note: Oscilloscopes revenues are estimated based on 2009 revenues.

Final Word

Future GP test and measurement equipment will be more powerful, software-driven enabling it to work as a part of an intelligent test framework. Regardless of the end market, with evolving end-user technologies, one-box solutions that are scalable and flexible will be in high demand and this dynamic will drive sales of the overall GP test equipment market.

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