Why shrinking electronics will be the biggest design trend in 2019

14 November, 2018

At this year’s Engineering Design Show, we took the opportunity to conduct some research on which design trends engineers think will have the biggest impact on the electronics industry in 2019.

Electronics Design Show 01

Our survey, which involved over 100 electronics professionals and engineers, produced some surprising results. Design trends that were predicted to be on the rise for the year ahead — such as extending battery life (13%) and making devices more sustainable (2%) — ranked among the lowest.

Instead, the dominant trend our survey highlighted was the continuing drive for slimmer and smaller form factors, with 33% agreeing this will have the biggest impact on the industry in 2019. In second and third place came IoT (16%) and adding AI capabilities to devices (14%) respectively.

What does this mean for electronics designers?

So what challenges will design engineers face when it comes to meeting the demand for smaller and more compact devices? Sleek and slender devices result in high powered components being pushed closer together in compact spaces with less room for thermal management solutions. As a result, there’s an increased likelihood of devices suffering overheating.

Looking at the other key trends, the introduction of new IoT and AI capabilities will involve the incorporation of new high-performance hardware in edge computing facilities, which will provide its own unique challenges.

With all this in mind, thermal simulation will take on an even greater role when it comes to the design of future electronic devices. Considering thermal simulation early will reduce late stage complications which often lead to extra costs and results in less reliable products for designers. Running thorough simulations and identifying thermal complications early is an essential part of developing a successful product.

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