Ultrasound: more than a choice, a strategic positioning for players

Extracted from:
Ultrasound Sensing Technologies 2020 report, Yole Développement, 2020
Status of the MEMS Industry report, Yole Développement, 2020


  • Market forecasts:
    The ultrasound sensing module market is expected to reach US$6.2 billion in 2025.
    Yole Développement (Yole) announces a 5.1% CAGR between 2019 and 2025.
  • Technology trends:
    Bulk sensors (PZT, quartz, …) are still the conventional technologies and remain the standard in several applications.
    PMUT technologies have a dominant position in consumer applications.
    TDK Chirp has proposed their MEMS ultrasonic ToF (PMUT) sensor for making social-distance-keeping tags as a response to COVID-19 guidelines for safety distances.
    On the CMUT side, the medical sector has traction for this technology, especially for medical imaging applications.
  • Supply chain:
    The competitive landscape is depending on the technology choice made by each company.
    Only few of them are either developing CMUT and PMUT solutions.
    Today the MUT industry is structuring, with players such as Qualcomm and TDK Chirp offering off-the shelf solutions or platforms.

“Beyond the technological choices, there are players who wish to offer new functions to OEM system manufacturers for which bulk piezoelectric technologies could not provide adequate solutions.” asserts Jérôme Mouly, Team Lead Analyst, Sensing & Actuating at Yole Développement (Yole). 
Moreover, these choices are sometimes linked to a competitive strategic positioning. For example, Samsung chose to integrate biometric ultrasonic under-display sensors made with PMUT technology for its high-end smartphones in order to compete with Apple’s face ID and even widely used capacitive technologies for other smartphones and tablet brand names.

In this context, the market research and strategy consulting company, Yole investigates disruptive sensing & actuating technologies and related markets in depth, to point out the latest innovations and underline the business opportunities.
In this regard, the Ultrasound Sensing Technologies report gives detailed analysis of the ultrasound industry, with forecast metrics for each ultrasound sensing module and an in-depth understanding of the ecosystem. Including market trends, revenues and forecasts, supply chain, technology roadmaps, take away and outlook, this study shares key technical insights and analysis on future technology trends and challenges.
What are the economic and technological challenges of the ultrasound industry? What are its market drivers? Who are the key suppliers and what technologies do they provide? How will evolve the PMUT and CMUT technologies? What are the impacts of COVID-19 on the ultrasound market?
Yole presents today the state of the art of the ultrasound world.

Automotive companies like Continental are deeply involved in the development of innovative solutions based on ultrasound technologies. For example, they are participating in projects to integrate MUT technologies for in-cabin gesture recognition. However, most companies have not yet found ideal solutions, which leads to internal component design such as Hitachi and Butterfly Network in the medical sector. Indeed, Yole’s analysts point out the two latest press announcements released by both companies:
• A long-term business alliance between Olympus and Hitachi regarding endoscopic ultrasound systems – Here.
• Butterfly Network and its latest innovations regarding the Butterfly iQ+ - Here.
For Alexis Debray, PhD, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole:
“Today the MUT industry is structuring, with players such as Qualcomm and TDK Chirp offering off-the shelf solutions or platforms”.
These players rely on foundry know-how developed over several years, such as Philips Innovation Services and TSMC in CMUT technologies, or PiezoMEMS players such as STMicroelectronics, Silex Microsystems, and Silterra for PMUT technologies.
Emerging ultrasound technologies not only compete with standard piezoelectric bulk technologies, but also with other types of detection such as 3D sensing and radar technologies. That said, it appears this new chapter in the history of micromachined ultrasound transducers is a successful one!

All year long, Yole Développement publishes numerous sensing & actuating reports and monitors. In addition, experts realize various key presentations and organize key conferences.
In this regard, do not miss Dimitrios Damianos presentation, “What will be the opportunities for MEMS in the new normal?” during the MEMS Engineer Forum 2021 from Wednesday 21, April to Thursday 22, April 2021. Register on i-Micronews.
In addition, do not miss the Conference on the Commercialization of Micro/Nano & Emerging Technologies (COMET) from Sunday 22, August to Wednesday 25, August 2021. Register here.
*Finally, discover Dimitrios Damianos presentation: Wearables enabling consumer healthcare and the role of ultrasound technologies – during the MEMS World Summit Webinar.
Make sure to be aware of the latest news coming from the industry and get an overview of our activities, including interviews with leading companies and more on i-Micronews. Stay tuned!

CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate
PMUT: Piezoelectric Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers
CMUT: Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers
OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer