Peter Clarke, EE Times, and I both agree – the biggest news of this year’s SEMI MEMS Summit, which took place September 17-18, 2016 in Stuttgart, Germany, was the announcement that SEMI is forming a strategic association partnership with the MEMS and Sensors Industry Group (MSIG). “This is good news, as the SEMI machine can take the MEMS discussion around the globe,” said Clarke.

SEMI and MEMS and Sensors Industry Group form strategic partnership. The press release reached the digital world on Thursday, just as the MEMS Summit got underway. Denny McGuirk, President and CEO, SEMI, and Karen Lightman, Executive Director, MSIG, each took the stage to deliver remarks about the announcement, and I had the opportunity to interview them, as well as Bettina Weiss, VP Business Development and Product Management, SEMI, on Thursday, to dive into the details of this marriage, and what it means for SEMI members, MSIG members, and the industries they serve.

First, the details: MSIG will come under the SEMI umbrella as a SEMI Strategic Association Partner, just as the FlexTech Alliance did almost a year ago. Although it will be a wholly owned subsidiary of SEMI, MSIG will retain its logo and brand. Lightman will become a VP reporting to McGuirk, and MSIG will retain its voice and mission, as well as its governing council, working groups and committees. The governing council will have its own meetings, and McGuirk and other SEMI staff will help establish priorities for the group that supports SEMI’s overall strategic objectives.

Lightman says she is excited about this partnership, as it will enable MSIG to achieve its long- and short-term strategic goals. It will give MSIG the infrastructure to take it to a global scale through SEMI’s global platforms and offices in key MEMS and sensors markets. At the same time, she appreciates the autonomy it will afford MSIG. “Our brand equity is important,” noted Lightman, “We didn’t want to go with just anybody. We can count on SEMI to protect and secure that brand.”

What does this mean for members of SEMI and MSIG? MSIG members will become SEMI members, and they will pay only SEMI dues going forward. This was a welcome bit of news for several of the MSIG members who already belong to SEMI.

According to McGuirk, the partnership with MSIG aligns with the SEMI2020 strategic plan launched in 2014. The plan calls for the organization to stretch beyond the equipment and materials suppliers to represent the entire global electronics manufacturing supply chain. “We are already supporting the extended supply chain, which includes members from the MEMS and sensors sector, in addition to fabless, IDMs, and end-users, ” noted McGuirk. “It makes sense to combine forces, leverage synergies and create one forum to address similar issues.”

Weiss, who leads SEMI’s business development and manages negotiations for strategic association partnerships, such as the one with FlexTech Alliance and MSIG, said there were many advantages to combining operational and financial aspects and scaling MSIG’s events and activities to a global level. “Together, SEMI and MSIG are uniquely positioned to provide additional member value in a fast-growing industry. By combining our strengths, our members will gain greater access to markets, new customers, and partners and be able to take advantage of a vibrant, global ecosystem of communities, events, and people,” she said. The official date for the transition is January 1, 2017.

Does this mean that SEMI will absorb MSIG events into its calendar? Not exactly. Lightman noted that while some things will be combined, such as SEMI joining MSIG at its MEMS Pavilion at CES, and the MEMS Workshop that will be part of SEMICON China, SEMI and MSIG are working on a harmonized event calendar for 2017 that will allow the MSIG brand to retain its prominence, leverage SEMI’s global platforms and reach and create innovative ways of bringing industry stakeholders along the extended electronics supply together. And next year’s MEMS Summit? It will be a combined event, scheduled to take place in Grenoble in September.

While some may be surprised at this announcement, it makes perfect sense to me and plays right into the consolidation and collaboration that we are seeing as the semiconductor and related industries adapt to an evolving industry. I look forward to supporting the combined entities as they move forward to the next phase. Congratulations to all involved! ~ FvT

Francoise von Trapp

They call me the “Queen of 3D” because I have been following the course of…

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