Applied Materials, Inc. is a US corporation that provides software, services, and equipment to make it possible to manufacture solar products, flat panel displays for computers, televisions, semiconductor (integrated circuit) chips for electronics, and smartphones. It also provides equipment to manufacture coatings for packaging, flexible electronics, and other applications. Its headquarters is in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley.
Belonging to the semiconductor and electronics sector means this company will be affected directly and indirectly by a number of disruptive opportunities and challenges over the coming decades. While described in detail within Quantumrun’s special reports, these disruptive trends can be summarized along the following broad points:
*First off, internet penetration will grow from 50 percent in 2015 to over 80 percent by the late-2020s, allowing regions across Africa, South America, the Middle East and parts of Asia to experience their first Internet revolution. These regions will represent the biggest growth opportunities for tech companies, and the semiconductor companies that supply them, over the next two decades.
*Similar to the point above, the introduction of 5G internet speeds in the developed world by the late-2020s will enable a range of new technologies to finally achieve mass commercialization, from augmented reality to autonomous vehicles to smart cities. These technologies will also demand ever more powerful computational hardware.
*As a result, semiconductor companies will continue to push Moore’s law forward to accommodate the ever growing computational capacity and data storage needs of the consumer and business markets.
*The shrinking cost and increasing functionality of advanced manufacturing robotics will lead to further automation of semiconductor and electronics factory assembly lines, thereby improving manufacturing quality and costs.
*Meanwhile, for its solar division, the most obvious disruptive trend is the shrinking cost and increasing energy generating capacity of renewable sources of electricity, such as wind, tidal, geothermal and (especially) solar. The economics of renewables are advancing at such a rate that further investments into more traditional sources of electricity, such as coal, gas, petroleum, and nuclear, are becoming less competitive in many parts of the world.
*Concurrent with the growth of renewables is the shrinking cost and increasing energy storing capacity of utility-scale batteries that can store electricity from renewables (like solar) during the day for release during the evening.
*The energy infrastructure in much of North America and Europe is decades old and is currently in the two-decade-long process of being rebuilt and reimagined. This will result in the installation of smart grids that are more stable and resilient, and will spur the development of a more efficient and decentralized energy grid in many parts of the world.