The following comments are from Chris Jacobs, vice president of marketing at Micron Technology’s embedded business unit, and Chris Moore, vice president of marketing at Micron’s mobile business unit. They have been lightly edited for length and clarity. 


How are Micron’s customers changing how they think about data? 

Chris Moore: We’re hearing a lot of excitement around 5G: It's here and it’s deploying worldwide, bringing with it greater bandwidth and lower latency. Smartphones are the first devices to take advantage of 5G capabilities, creating an enhanced user experience in areas such as virtual reality, augmented reality and rich media streaming. However, the most exciting aspect of 5G is that it is engineered for far more than just smartphones, connecting billions of edge infrastructure endpoints across a breadth of industries.

Chris Jacobs: The growing ubiquity of 5G connectivity enables us to extend AI capabilities into new locations, and customers are moving compute, memory and storage resources closer to the sources of data to maximize that data’s value and impact. We like to call this the intelligent edge. Customers are embracing new approaches to how and where we place compute infrastructure, enabling transformative applications like autonomous vehicles, intelligent communities and smart factories.



How is Micron helping to address the data challenges in these industries?

Jacobs: This all starts through deep collaboration with our customers and partners to best understand the requirements for their solutions and how innovative Micron memory and storage technologies can help them succeed. We work with customers through direct collaborations. This enables us to deliver products and technologies built to the needs of customers, with capabilities such as ruggedness, reliability, longevity, power and space efficiency, performance and connectivity to other devices or from edge to cloud.

Moore: One consideration is that customers are typically already using AI to excel in these types of data-intensive applications. AI takes a lot of computing power, but that increased demand comes at a price, which is why it’s critical that smartphones and other Internet-of-Things or edge devices are as power-efficient as possible. We put a lot of focus on this in both our low-power dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) and managed NAND solutions, to help our customers maximize battery life.


How are customers using Micron technology to address these markets and opportunities?

Moore: We have great collaborations across every major mobile manufacturer. Photography is one of the use cases that drives smartphone purchasing decisions, and AI is actually helping us all become great photographers. We helped Xiaomi Inc. launch the world’s first LPDDR5 memory-enabled phone into the market. The additional memory performance and bandwidth LPDDR5 provides versus the previous generation LPDDR4 is critical for enabling computational photography and other AI-powered applications. 

Jacobs: Our automotive and industrial customers often prioritize capabilities such as ruggedness (i.e., thermal or vibration tolerances) and efficiency (both power and space) when building their solutions. In automotive, Autotalks credits the power efficiency and thermal tolerances of Micron memory for enabling their cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) systems, which can detect objects through obstructions and to a greater distance in comparison with existing technologies.

Another great example that depends on the performance and low-latency characteristics of Micron memory comes from Uhnder Inc., which asserts that their digital imaging radar offers better resolution and contrast than analog radar solutions, providing an opportunity for better road safety via the improved ability to sense moving or standing objects, large or small, at both short and long distances. For the industrial marketplace, solutions being delivered by Kontron are built on a memory and storage foundation from Micron and enable applications like quality inspections using visual AI and smart manufacturing robotics.


How does Micron see the requirements for these markets evolving in the coming years?

Moore: We see users continuing to want to integrate everything that they do on their phones more instantaneously and in a seamless manner. Examples of this include advanced-level photos, high-resolution, real-time gaming and using AI to create a personalized experience for each individual user—all while maintaining or even extending battery life. This means that there’s a need for more bandwidth and higher capacity while using less power. 

Jacobs: The greater your ability to rapidly store and analyze data, the greater your opportunity is to derive critical insights from that data. Autonomous vehicles are a great example. You need advanced compute resources to make that a reality, a veritable datacenter on wheels—but that use case can truly transform people’s lives. Or consider automated weld inspections in a smart factory, which require significant AI resources but can yield huge quality and efficiency gains. To deliver these capabilities, you need capacity and performance within a constrained space.


Any final thoughts? 

Jacobs: We have been a trusted partner in areas such as automotive and industrial for years. We’re proud that our commitment to these markets has earned us top market share in automotive and standing as a leader for industrial IoT as well. I mention this because we have seen several changes in those years, but the biggest changes are still to come, and they will require innovative memory and storage solutions. Micron—with its dedicated global customer labs, leading innovations and partnerships throughout a diverse ecosystem—can help customers navigate these new waters.

Moore: It is an exciting time to be in the memory and storage business. As the world’s reliance on data-driven insights continues to grow, Micron’s memory and storage expertise and role in the industry are becoming increasingly essential. Micron has never been better positioned to deliver a technology portfolio that will unlock unparalleled industry innovation.