On the first morning of the IMS 2009 exhibition, Agilent Technologies presented an overview of the current state of the test and measurement market and their trading position, while looking at the current technological research and development that is taking the company an industry forward.
Starting with the current state of the market, Greg Peters, Vice President and General Manager, Component Test Division, commented, “We believe that the market is at or near bottom, but I am not going to put a stake in the ground and say that it is. This is coming from all customers, whether they are in wireless ecosystems, consumer electronics and so on. At the bottom is a pretty bumpy place to be at the moment and for us it has been publicly reported that we are approximately down 30 percent in orders across our Electronic Measurement Group from a year ago.
“However, we are seeing small and encouraging signs with our customers talking about the need to fill the pipeline again with new products or components that serve their customers and we are seeing that around the world. The aerospace and defense business continues to be steady, but not spectacular and the rest of the electronic ecosystem is in about the same shape as the wireless at this point and slowly working its way up.”
Looking forward he said, “We expect a slow recovery, but you never know and depending on demand, especially for new consumer or cellphone products this Fall we could see a sudden ramp or demand for capacity.”
Peters also mentioned the recent restructuring of Agilent’s EMG organisation saying, “We are almost through with that restructuring and our goal is to get ourselves back to a position of profitability.“
He emphasised that, “The products on the MTT-S show floor are either fully staffed or where staffing has increased because we see opportunities in the future and we do see a bright future for RF and microwave products and technologies. RF is continuing on the march to ubiquity and you will see more radios in every facet of life in the future.
“We continue to invest in the major platforms that are on the show floor without stop, and in fact several have been accelerated recently. That is where we continue to put our investment and we believe we are in position to capitalise on the market upturn and be positioned for success in the future”.
The particular focus of some of those areas of investment were then highlighted by Darlene Solomon, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Agilent Laboratories, who offered perspectives on measurement and the directions that will be important going forward.
She began, “Today some of the challenges faced by society come down to measurement. There are measurements all around us and we are trying to take the leading edge to provide greater capability.
“Science has the ability to make major advancements, scientists and engineers learn more about how nature works and this in turn needs to further technology improvements. On the electronics side there is the communications revolution where we are seeing increased lifecycles and we are all benefiting personally from this development. Looking forward the whole life sciences and health care side is where the lifecycles are already accelerating and advancements in measurement and technology have become integral to our everyday lives.”
Expanding on some of the leading edge technologies that are currently being explored Solomon talked about Pushing New Frontiers in Measurement where she highlighted current activities that are at the forefront of that expansion. These includ the use of X-parameters for nonlinear measurement, LAN-enabled, time synchronisation, new paradigms in data visualisation and analysis and nanotechnology.