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22 SMT Magazine • August 2015 by Joseph Fjelstad VErDAnT ElECTroniCS Everything fails. Think of anything in the universe and the specter of failure is inevitably there at the end. On the positive side, every fail- ure is arguably preceded by success. That suc- cess can be marked in the form of a beginning. The stars formed from the matter created in the Big Bang, and were each and every one a suc- cess story in their own right by having accreted hydrogen gas in sufficient quantity to explode into light. Evolution is another amazing success in terms of diversity of life on this planet over time. However, both stars and evolution have failed as well—both have done so uncountable times. The simple truth about the end of every- thing is captured in the opening two-word sen- tence of this piece: "Everything fails." Clearly, it must be a fool's errand to declare war on a foe that cannot be beaten. Or is it? Failure is a foe that needs to be taken on even though we know it will win in the end. Consider it more of a war within which many battles will be fought and any of those that are won against the foe named "failure" will advance and serve the needs of a global population. Some elaboration on that last thought is owed the reader. Think of this for a moment: In 2014, the world welcomed its seven billionth inhabitant. In 2020, just five years from now, that number will be 8 billion. Now comes the nexus: The electronics industry is producing somewhere between $1.5 and $2 trillion worth of products per year. The vast majority of those products are targeted to serve the 3 billion peo- ple at the top of the world's economic pyramid while largely ignoring the needs of the 4 bil- lion, soon to be 5 billion customers with similar needs. Withholding for a moment judgment as to the right-headedness of this, let me just say that it seems that a bet is being missed. Most companies focus on the near term and the needs of those with extra cash in their pockets looking for the next new thing. Prod- ucts have ever faster cycles of development along with their push to market, often with FeAture

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