Reflecting on 2023, it is safe to say the electronics industry held its own.

Growth in most electronic sectors comfortably outpaced nearly all global economies throughout the last year, giving those in the electronics industry good reason to remain optimistic for 2024. The real challenge for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), electronic product designers and businesses alike will be keeping up with the relentless evolution of technology that continues to reshape our world…

From the development of 6G connectivity and a rise in smart technology to the expansion of virtual and augmented reality and machine learning tools, 2023 taught us that adapting to upcoming trends is essential for anyone aiming to lead the charge.

With that in mind, what do we expect will dominate the electronics industry in the upcoming months?

1. Generative artificial intelligence (AI)

Generative AI certainly took the limelight in 2023, enabling machines to create content resembling human-generated work.

This technology has opened doors to exciting opportunities across every sector — but how will the electronics industry adopt generative AI in 2024?

One field poised for an AI revolution is electronic design. Over the years, electronic design automation (EDA) tools have been flaunting the integration of AI into their offerings. Still, these have mostly fallen short of the ultimate goal: making hardware easier to design.

With evolving chat-based generative AI tools like Copilot, designers and manufacturers can utilise technologies that understand the entire context of a project. Alongside its training, generative AI platforms can use that information to provide designers with advice, feedback and comprehensive analysis.

For example, generative AI could eliminate the need for datasheets and part research and simply tell the designer what parts they should use in their project. Over the next year, electronics designers and manufacturers may finally be able to utilise the tools they need to take the ‘hard’ out of hardware.

2. Quantum computing

Traditional silicon-based electronics have served us well, but they are reaching their limits. Enter: molecular engineering…

Molecular engineering harnesses the power of designing and manipulating molecules at the nanoscale to create new materials.

But where does quantum computing come into the equation?

Quantum computing is an evolving technology that exploits the laws of quantum mechanics to crack problems too complex for classical computers. When working with molecular engineering, researchers can fast-track the discovery of new materials with unique properties for electronic productions — like higher conductivity or improved energy storage capabilities.

For manufacturers, realising new materials promises higher performance and efficiency, unlocking exciting possibilities for the electronics industry.

3. Wearable devices

This year, augmented reality (AR) wearables are exploding onto the scene. The integration of AR into smart glasses, helmets and even contact lenses aims to transform how we perceive and interact with the world.

For OEMs, AR technologies can potentially address issues with PCB design, reducing the time-consuming process of place and route by enabling manufacturers to see how electronic packages can fit into unusual shapes or test that circuit connections work correctly before manufacture.

AR can also help minimise distractions. For example, smart glasses or headsets could show a set of virtual instructions, saving the engineer from manually turning physical pages whilst they switch seamlessly from the instructions to the virtual version of a PCB to the real-life work in progress.

4. Digital twins

Any electronics manufacturer or OEM will understand the frustration of unexpected downtimes and maintenance mishaps. Luckily, 2024 could be the year we say hello to the power of digital twins and goodbye to operational inefficiency…

A digital twin is, in essence, a computer program that uses real-world data to create simulations that can predict how a product or process will perform. These programs are increasingly integrating the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence and sensors to create virtual representations in the digital realm.

As we enter the new year, OEMs and electronic designers will rely more on digital twins for safe experimentation and optimisation, leading to better products and more efficient production methods. In fact, the IMARC Group expects the market to reach $156.7 billion by 2032.

With a need for speed in today’s competitive electronics industry, digital twin technologies will provide OEMs with valuable insight into the future of their processes, allowing them to stay one step ahead of the competition.

5. Sustainable technology

As countries, businesses and manufacturers continue to work on meeting net-zero commitments, we predict sustainable technology will continue to dominate in 2024.

Take smart cities. By harnessing the power of the IoT and data analytics, smart cities can monitor and manage various aspects of city life — from traffic and energy consumption to air quality. Electric vehicles (EVs) have also become more affordable and widespread, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on fossil fuels.

Equally, reducing electronic waste is still at the top of the agenda, with manufacturers driving sustainable practices — in line with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEE) — to ensure the issues presented by e-waste are considered at every phase of the manufacturing process.

The world of electronics is constantly changing — but at Swan EMS, you can rely on consistent, first-class electronics manufacturing services for your projects. To see how we can help you, please call us on 01495 320 989 or email us at