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Getting excited about an industry built on sand

Posted by Marta Kot on 8th May 2014

Let’s pretend a company has developed a 15-nanometer processor technology for NAND flash memory widely used in smartphones and tablets. While industry commentators and engineers become animated, the average consumer on the street remains unmoved or even oblivious.

We live in an age where as consumers we are more reliant on the technology devices in our hands, in our cars and on our walls than ever before. The majority of people couldn’t care less how their devices work, but how well they work and how good they look. They’ve never met Malcolm Penn!

Falling in love with transistors

Future Horizon’s one-day Silicon Industry workshop provides delegates with a grounding in the basic fundamentals of the Integrated Circuit industry, its workings, technology, markets and importance.

It’s a great introduction to anyone starting out in the semiconductor industry – whether that’s as a PR, marketer, HR or sales person. The only thing the host forgot to mention was that apart from an intensive learning day, we’d have some fun too! It could have been because of:

  1. The host’s personality and knowledge – Malcolm is a very charismatic person with over 45 years of experience in the semiconductor industry
  2. The interactive nature of the workshop including a chance to ask questions over breakfast and lunch
  3. The varying background of the attendees providing a great chance to meet new people with different stories to tell

Before the workshop even started, during a coffee chat with Malcolm we had already learnt that silicon is made mostly of sand. These silicon chips, now a £170 billion pound industry worldwide, originate from the second most ample substance on earth.

Of course, sand is partly comprised of silicon dioxide, and silicone is today the most common example of semiconductor material.

Five hours later

Everyone in the room felt comfortable to talk not only about electronics theory, but also the silicon chip manufacturing process, thanks to the seminar style presentation and some helpful videos. I can now happily explain the difference between wafer polishing and wafer slicing processes!

From the perspective of a tech PR, the workshop is an extremely useful exercise to help cut through the sometimes confusing industry terminology and get to the heart of why a new technology is actually interesting.

You can sign up for the next Future Horizons Silicon Industry Workshop in South Kensington, London on 9th June here.

Marta Kot