The electronics industry is characterized by a never-ending search to deliver improved performance while reducing system size, weight, and power (SWaP). First used in the security and aerospace industries, this acronym—and its successor, SWaP-C (size, weight, power and cost)—is now common parlance for engineers in all areas of the sector.

In 2024, pressure on these engineers to deliver SWaP-C-optimized solutions will increase thanks to ‘megatrends’ that include extended deployment of AI and the unstoppable growth of industrial and consumer IoT applications (and the convergence of the two in so-called ‘AI-at-the-edge’). In tandem, sustainability concerns, environmental legislation, and challenges to energy security and cost will further push efficiency up the design agenda—especially as we create ever-more-power-hungry systems ranging from the chips that power the generative AI revolution to the charging and powertrain platforms essential to electric vehicles.

Also in 2024, we will see the ongoing growth of the commercial space industry as it heads towards what, according to McKinsey & Company, could be a $1 trillion market by 2030. In turn, ‘NewSpace’ organizations seeking competitive advantage through shorter development times and lower costs will increasingly seek out ‘off-the-shelf’ components that address the challenges of space operation but don’t limit them to using only those older products that have gone through a lengthy and expensive qualification process.