IoT & Embedded Technology Blog

Social Media IPO Market May Be Softening, But Impact Undeniable

by Chris Rommel | 12/31/2011

If it wasn’t already, 2011 proved to be the year in which social media firmly entrenched itself within our culture. From LinkedIn to Twitter to Facebook, these platforms went from growth engines and sources hype to ubiquitous – nearly pedestrian – components of our everyday lives. In fact, a number of the social media/technology companies went public in 2011 (LinkedIn, Zynga, and Groupon, among others), although none of their offerings ultimately lived up to their financial expectations. Read more

Can Commercial Operating Systems Stay Relevant in Consumer Facing Devices?

by Chris Rommel | 12/31/2011

While the recent smartphone struggles of Research In Motion and Microsoft have proven to be main points of mobile media fodder for 2011, the corresponding strengthening of the market positions of Apple and Android have further underscored the shift in mobile operating system business models. Read more

Enea Relinquishes Consulting Business

Earlier today, Enea announced the divestment of its Swedish consulting companies to a subsidiary of Alten Group, a Paris-based global technical consulting company. As described in Enea’s press release by President and CEO Anders Lidbeck. Read more

Is Embedded Hardware Even Safe from Anonymous?

The recent hacking of security firm Stratfor’s website as well as by hacker group Anonymous has led to questions of how secure large firms are against data theft. One can logically extend the question to the embedded world as well. A prime example in the embedded context is the Stuxnet worm that set back Iran’s nuclear ambitions. As the number of connected devices increases exponentially, the quality of security incorporated into them can only become more paramount. Read more

5 Keys to Winning and Holding Embedded Computer Share in the Semiconductor Test Market

With respect to Embedded Integrated Computer Systems (EICSs) the semiconductor test market has some unique attributes that may not be immediately obvious or logical to outsiders. The recent VDC report on EICSs used in the industrial automation market estimated 2010 revenues of ~$210 Million for semiconductor processing making it an attractive market to enter. Embedded computing suppliers that thrive here are likely to follow these 5 key rules. Read more

Telehealth Initiatives Driving Software Stack Requirements in Medical Devices

Mobility has been among the key influencers within the medical device market in recent years, the phenomenon helping to promote the advent of teleheath-related solutions, which rely heavily on care provided away from formal healthcare facilities. The concept of telehealth – which can be broadly defined as the incorporation of telecommunications technologies within health-related services – is expected to become increasingly popular as a means through which to decentralize medical services. Read more

An Innovative Application for EICS in Petroleum Product Market Saves Transportation Costs

As part of a VDC project on level sensors I had a very interesting conversation with a UK based distributor of level sensing products. This distributor provides level sensors to oil/kerosene tank manufacturers. During the conversation he mentioning a trend away from from simple sight glass gauges to more expensive electronic level sensing units. Despite the higher price of the new technology it allows several benefits to the end users of petroleum products and the companies that sell and deliver them.  Read more

Just Remember: If You Cut Off Your Finger, Tell Your Wife the Firmware Did It.

Earlier this week in Jack Ganssle’s regular Break Points column on, Jack highlighted the story of a careless table saw operator, who parlayed his ignorance into a big payday at the cost of the saw manufacturer, and its relevance to a proposed software liability law.  Read more

Just Remember: If You Cut Off Your Finger, Tell Your Wife the Firmware Did It.

by Chris Rommel | 12/28/2011

Earlier this week in Jack Ganssle’s regular Break Points column on, Jack highlighted the story of a careless table saw operator, who parlayed his ignorance into a big payday at the cost of the saw manufacturer, and its relevance to a proposed software liability law. In the end, the OEM was found liable for the operator’s injuries because, even though he was disregarding the specified operating procedures and safety protocols, the OEM did not include an emergency flesh-sensing shutdown feature that a competitor had included within a different product. Read more

Will Quad-core Phones Give QNX another Shot at Saving RIM?

by Chris Rommel | 12/28/2011

In a blog last week, we highlighted the lack of consumer electronic devices shipping today with multicore chipsets. Smartphones, on the other hand, have already begun to make that transition and the inclusion of these new processors has even emerged as a point of marketing for many OEMs.  Read more

Part II: Will Android Erode the Software Development Tool Market?

Over recent years, the commercial software development tool market has faced a number of pressures, which – to one degree or another – have eroded the commercial market’s growth potential. Whether you look at the continued evolution of open source tools or just the growing tendency of both OS vendors and silicon suppliers to bundle (or even give away) toolkits with their flagship products, traditional standalone software development tool (SDT) vendors are facing a growing set of obstacles. Read more

Will Android Erode the Software Development Tool Market?

ARM recently announced a free toolkit (ARM Development Studio 5 Community Edition) for the Android application developer community. At a high level, you might be thinking, “so what, aren’t there already a number of free Android app tool kits available?” And, to a certain extent, you wouldn’t be wrong…until you start to consider the “so what” part.  Read more

Converged Devices Cannibalizing Sales of Stand-alone Consumer Electronics Devices

The consumer electronics industry continues to foster a wide variety of innovations that bring cutting-edge technologies to the mainstream. Mounting demand for internet connectivity, inter-device communication, and device mobility have been the key factors driving this innovation. From televisions and set-top boxes to digital cameras and video gaming systems, the ability to access and share content via the web has become one of consumers’ primary device requirements. Read more

Microcontrollers: Revolutionizing Technology through Power Saving and Security

During this holiday time, as we happily un-wrap our new iPhone, tablet, Nook, or other touch screen device, we will likely be blissfully unaware of the technology under our fingertips. But inside many of these devices, microcontrollers are hard at work. Microcontrollers from companies like Freescale, Microchip, Texas Instruments, STMicro, and Atmel Corporation.  Read more

UAVs, the “Social Networks,” of the Defense Supplier World, Attract Heavy Investment in 2012

New generations of sensors, high-capacity data networks, and integrated digital technologies emerging in military & aerospace markets have assured strong, continued investment for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies – even in the face of current budget cuts for the US Department of Defense. Ranging from the sizeable, high-altitude Global Hawk and Predator Class UAVs to man-portable systems capable of launch by hand or bungee slingshot, this disruptive technology has reshaped military strategy around intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) applications.  Read more

IBM Security Systems Division Offers Enterprise-wide Solutions but Overlooks Embedded

Last week, VDC attended IBM’s annual Software Analyst Connect Meeting, which offered us the opportunity to attend a number of presentations, meetings and briefings with various IBM executives and product managers. As opposed to our normal research coverage, which largely focuses on the (embedded) software/system development space and thus IBM’s Rational Software division, this conference featured products and brands from across IBM’s Software Group (WebSphere, Tivoli, etc.) for which there seems to be a growing effort to foster cross-selling opportunities.  Read more

Will AMD's New Strategy Shake up the Semiconductor Market?

Likely fueled by a combination of the company’s recent manufacturing challenges, struggling profitability, shrinking market share, and the recent lay off of nearly 12% of the company’s workforce, AMD’s new CEO Rory Read appears intent to forge a more decisive, independent future for AMD. Although we will have to wait until February for AMD to publicly unveil the company’s new strategic direction, recent actions and announcements illuminate the depth of change we can expect to see from AMD in coming months.  Read more

2012 – Opportunities and Challenges for Embedded Semiconductor Suppliers

Thanksgiving is over and the 4th quarter of 2011 is rapidly drawing to a close. 2011 was a more modest year than 2010, with some companies posting lower revenue volumes than the prior year. Texas Instruments, for example, is down 1% over the first three quarters. Certainly, this could be recovered in the fourth quarter though. Intel Corporation has been a notable exception, recently reporting a 28% year-over-year revenue increase. The question is now, what will 2012 hold in store for the semiconductor market?  Read more

Natural Disaster in Thailand Floods HDD Market with Disruptions in Both Supply and Demand

Severe flooding in Thailand has left players in the semiconductor market reeling as companies struggle to assess the full damages and impact of this natural disaster. Thailand has developed into a strong base for hard disk drive (HDD) manufacturing companies. Companies such as Western Digital, the leading player in the HDD market, lost significant inventory and supplies in plants affected by the floods. These companies will also see significant long-term effects of the flooding, as factories and infrastructure may take years to fully rebuild. Read more

Advantech and LSI Announce Platform Collaboration to Enable Secure Mobile Applications

On November 16, Advantech and LSI Corporation announced the availability of a new Advantech-branded Packetarium platform powered by the LSI Axxia Communication Processor. The Packetarium NCP-2110 Network Appliance is designed for caching gateways, enterprise routing, unified threat management and radio network controllers, providing enhanced scalability and integrating seamlessly into systems.  Read more

How is the Evolution of Automotive System Requirements Impacting OEM Tooling Strategies?

In recent years, automotive systems have grown increasingly complex as electronic control units define a greater percentage of vehicle functionality and end-product differentiation. This evolution has placed a significant strain on the efficacy of traditional development methodologies and tools. As a result, an increasing premium is being placed on tools that offer means to accelerate and/or automate portions of the design and development process going forward.  Read more

Medical Devices Segment within Multicore Components & Tools Market Expected to Double by 2013

Intensifying graphical and high-definition imaging demands of ultrasound equipment, x-ray systems, and various patient monitoring devices have continued to promote the adoption of multicore processors in medical devices. Furthermore, the increasing mobility requirements of many medical devices have also served to drive interest in multicore due to its ability to satisfy specifications around light weight, low power consumption, and low heat dissipation.  Read more

MILCOM 2011: GE Intelligent Platforms and Juniper Announce Collaboration to Develop Family of Network Routing and Security Appliances

On November 7, GE Intelligent Platforms and Juniper Networks announced at MILCOM 2011 (November 7-10, Baltimore, Maryland) that the two companies will collaborate to develop a family of rugged, highly secure routing and network security appliances designed for military/aerospace deployment in harsh environments where security of data is a mission critical requirement. The resulting solutions will be sold by GE Intelligent Platforms.  Read more

IBM and Eurotech Advance Next-Generation M2M Concepts with MQTT

On November 3, IBM and Eurotech announced that they are contributing software to accelerate and support the development of a new generation of smarter wireless and mobile devices. The technology, which could become the basis for a new standard of mobile connectivity and interoperability, will be contributed to the Eclipse Foundation open source community.  Read more

Embedded Standards: COM Express Form Factor Expands Connectivity Options

On October 31, Emerson Network Power, Freescale and Kontron jointly announced their collaborative efforts to expand I/O connectivity options for the COM Express specification have resulted in a new pin out definition for modules that are compatible with COM Express mechanical requirements.  Read more

Can the Use of Multicore Processors Really Double in Two Years?

In recent years, as embedded systems – and the software within them – have become increasingly complex, the emergence and adoption of multicore processors in the embedded space has been a trend closely followed by industry participants. Thus far the transition to multicore has been a slow one, with only 16% of engineers responding to VDC’s 2011 Embedded Engineering Survey indicating they were currently working on a project that incorporated a multicore processor. Looking forward two years, however, engineers expect that ratio to more than double.  Read more

Setting Some Real Limits Around Real-Time

Last week at the ARM TechCon conference, Microsoft announced that the next version of Windows Embedded Compact, expected to be released in June of 2012, will be updated with improved real-time performance and a smaller footprint.  Read more

AppliedMicro Announces 64-Bit ARM-based Server-on-a-Chip to Drive Energy-Proportioned Cloud Computing Concepts

On October 27, Sunnyvale, California-based AppliedMicro demonstrated core functionality of a 64-bit ARM processor on an FPGA platform during the ARM TechCon 2011, held October 25 - 27. This announcement comes on the same day as ARM Holdings' announcement of its 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set architecture, and parallels AppliedMicro's launch of the industry's first 64-bit ARM "Server-on-a-Chip" solution in a single footprint, designed to deliver both ultra low power and exceedingly low cost points.  Read more

Intel Joins I3A in Effort to Capitalize on Mobile Imaging Applications

Earlier this week, the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A), a not-for-profit organization composed of various industry participants committed to the imaging industry, announced that Intel will join the association at the highest level of membership. As a “Strategic member,” Intel can obtain a wide range of membership benefits offered by I3A, as well as influence the organization’s Mobile Imaging Interest Group and its Camera Phone Image Quality Initiative. Interest Groups such as these follow markets and technologies of interest to their members, enabling development of industry standards and the cooperation necessary to solve challenges that may arise around imaging.  Read more

The Advent of 4G: Advancements in LTE with Base Station on-a-Chip Solutions

On October 24, Cavium, Inc., a provider of semiconductor products that enable intelligent processing for networking, communications, and the digital home, announced that it is demonstrating end-to-end carrier class solutions for 4G networks at the 4G World 2011 conference from October 25th through the 27th in Chicago. Among Cavium's technology highlights.  Read more

Emerging Applications for FPGA Technology: Altera Targets Next-Generation Video Analytics Market Opportunities

Altera Corporation on October 18th announced the release of a video analytics solution based around its Cyclone IV FPGA. This product enables 1080 pixel HD video at a high frame rate of 30 fps. Incorporated alongside the Altera FPGA is Eutecus' multi-core Video Analytics engine (MVE) intellectual property (IP). The FPGA device is targeted at a range of video surveillance applications, including traffic surveillance and security applications.  Read more

The Advent of Accelerometers in Home Medical Devices

While attending ESC Boston 2011, a number of the exhibit booths featured demonstrations utilizing embedded accelerometers. Although automotive companies have used accelerometers for years to measure vehicle performance, and industrial companies have used them to monitor vibration in manufacturing equipment, the emphasis at this week’s event seemed to be on their increasing use in medical devices.  Read more

Regional Embedded Technology Investments: An Emerging Perspective on India

According to a recent Reuters news report, Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corp. believes valuations of early-stage technology companies in India have reached a "near-bubble" stage, as too much capital chases too few high quality opportunities. If an accurate depiction, this represents a scenario reminiscent of the late 1990s when valuations of many technology start-up organizations led to a precipitous decline.  Read more

Embedded Systems Conference 2011: A VDC Recap

A number of VDC analysts attended the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) held September 26-29 in Boston and participated in several embedded technology supplier briefings and executive meetings. Many of these briefings included broader, but consistent themes across the embedded supplier landscape. Read more

Virtual Platforms, Real Business Models?

What Happened: Yesterday, Synopsys (NASDAQ: SNPS) and ARM (NASDAQ: ARMH) announced a licensing agreement enabling Synopsys to distribute ARM's Fast Models and create models of ARM Cortex Series processors. VDC’s View: The market for virtual platforms has undergone significant change over the past 18 months, seeing what accounted for the acquisition and/or consolidation of the top 4 vendors (CoWare, Synopsys, VaST, and Virtutech) into what is now two companies (Intel/Wind River and Synopsys).  Read more

Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) – Boston 2011

VDC attended the 2011 Embedded Systems Conference in Boston on September 27 and 28 and held face-to-face meetings at the conference with over 20 exhibitors. This year’s ESC included greater than 100 exhibitors and was part of what UBM Electronics called Design Days Boston. Design Days Boston featured four events including ESC as part of one show including DesignMED North America, DesignCon East, and designing with LEDs. These four programs span a wide range of technologies and interests and were supported by numerous technical sessions.  Read more

What Do Engineers Prefer for a Host Development Platform?

Every year VDC conducts an extensive worldwide survey of embedded engineers and their development projects to better understand engineering requirements, preferences, and trends. This information is available from VDC in unique cross tabbed reports to offer readers a detailed, in-depth, view of engineers in the development project trenches.  Read more

Embedded Project Starts Expected to Increase Year-Over-Year

Every year VDC conducts an extensive worldwide survey of embedded engineers and their development projects to better understand engineering requirements, preferences, and trends. This information is available from VDC in unique cross tabbed reports to offer readers a detailed, in-depth, view of engineers in the development project trenches.  Read more

Mobile and Embedded Virtualization Outlook

While embedded engineers’ use of Mobile and Embedded Virtualization (MEV) software has increased only modestly over the last several years, respondents to VDC’s Embedded Engineering Survey continue to expect a significant increase in the use of MEV software in future projects. With the percentage of 2011 survey respondents who believe they will be using virtualization run-time software nearly doubling when considering a future project, these expectations are demonstrative of the potential revenue opportunities available for vendors in this space.  Read more

Engineers' Multicore/ Multiprocessor Experience Improving

VDC has been following the use of multicore processors in the embedded space for a number of years, and as we kick off research for the 2011 edition of our Multicore Components & Tools report, we have been examining some of the data collected from respondents to our end-user surveys. According to survey responses, the percentage of engineers with no multicore or multiprocessing experience dropped by more than 25% from 2010 to 2011. VDC believes this is an indication that the actual adoption of multicore processors in the embedded space is finally beginning to live up to the expectations of software providers. Read more

Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge Processors: Enabling Next-Generation Communications

As of August 30th, Freescale has reported releasing samples of its QorIQ Qonverge platform System on a Chip (SoC) intended for use in small-cell base stations to select customers. These small cell base stations are intended for use in home and in small enterprise settings. With accelerating demand for bandwidth and data traffic increasing exponentially, Freescale believes these SoC products will significantly enhance the service available through the developing LTE and 4G infrastructure.  Read more

Happy 64th Birthday to the Bug – the First Computer Bug that is!

I was perusing the web earlier today and found this piece of computer trivia. Yes, the first computer “bug” was identified 64 years ago today and logged by Grace Hopper working on the Harvard University Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator.  Read more

Processor Architectures: Kontron Embraces ARM to Extend Product Range

On September 8,  global embedded solutions provider Kontron announced it is adding ARM architecture-based products to its portfolio which it believes will enable a new breed of embedded scalable products for application-ready platforms, especially those requiring low-power consumption. Read more

ESC Boston is This Month - Still Time to Register and Meet with VDC

The Embedded Systems Conference will be held this month (September 26th-29th) at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. VDC will be attending the conference once again this year and will be presenting our 7th annual Embeddy Awards for Best in Show live at the conference. The winners will be announced live ahead of Wednesday's morning keynote session.  Read more

The PC/104 Consortium versus SFF SIG: When Specifications Collide

As VDC has conducted its research throughout 2011, a number of embedded board specification challenges have continuously collided with practical implementation practices. In the PC/104 stackables market, for instance, significant differences have emerged in the standards being developed by the PC/104 Consortium and Small Form Factors SIG. Underlying this split are a host of issues surrounding design philosophy and the roadmap for implementing future technology while continuing to support legacy devices.  Read more

Embedded Virtualization Has Disadvantages, Too

Embedded virtualization has become an increasingly discussed topic in recent years, with leading vendors such as Enea, Green Hills Software, LynuxWorks, SYSGO, and Wind River each dedicating significant resources toward developing and marketing solutions that enable this technology. Webinars, white papers, and other marketing collateral abound, serving to evangelize the benefits of virtualization in the embedded space and promote acceptance and adoption within the engineering community.  Read more

Next-Generation Embedded Computing: IBM Unveils Cognitive Computing Chips

On August 18, IBM researchers unveiled a new generation of experimental computer chips designed to emulate the brain’s abilities for perception, action and cognition. IBM believes this technology could yield many orders of magnitude less power consumption and space than used in today’s computing platforms.  Read more

Parvus Expands Integration Relationship with Cisco: Accelerating Embedded Solutions to the Market

In 2003, Eurotech acquired Parvus Corporation creating a synergy enabling the combined companies to expand into a more global presence and make strategic inroads into the embedded computer market, particularly with regards to military and aviation systems. This acquisition also provided Parvus with access to Eurotech’s PC/104 and PC/104-Plus CPU product families.  Read more

PART II: GOOGLE/Motorola Acquisition Likely to Impact Embedded Market More than Mobile

VDC has been tracking Android closely over the recent years as we have seen the appetite for and applicability of the platform grow within applications classes beyond mobile phones. Set top boxes and industrial ruggedized terminals are just two of the many use cases that embedded OEMs are now experimenting with. In quick response, many participants within the larger ecosystem of embedded software and hardware solution providers have aligned themselves to support development of the platform in these new use cases.  Read more

PART I: GOOGLE/Motorola Acquisition Likely to Impact Embedded Market More than Mobile

As most of you are aware, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) announced their intent to acquire Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI) on Monday, driving shockwaves through both the investment and technology communities.  Read more

Samsung Electronics' Acquisition of Grandis: A Critical Juncture for Emerging Memory Technology

Global semiconductor product manufacturer Samsung Electronics has announced the acquisition of spin transfer torque random access memory (STT-RAM) developer Grandis. STT-RAM is a derivative of magneto-resistive random access memory (MRAM). The terms of the acquisition were not released, but Grandis is expected to be merged into those Samsung's Research & Development operations which are focused on developing the next evolution of memory. Read more

GENIVI-Compliant Platforms are Finally Here

Yesterday the GENIVI Alliance unveiled its Member Compliance Program, and announced that four GENIVI members – Canonical, Mentor Graphics, MontaVista Software, and Wind River – are the first to offer GENIVI-compliant platforms for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems.  Read more

Embedded Ecosystems: Mentor Graphics Announces Embedded Hardware Enablement Program

This week, Mentor Graphics announced a new program composed of Mentor Embedded professional services and products designed specifically for hardware companies. The Mentor Hardware Enablement Program is a newly formalized initiative by the Mentor Embedded Division of Mentor Graphics. The Program's focus is on delivering hardware enablement for silicon and board vendors by an independent embedded ecosystem provider. Read more

Digital Signage – Communicating New Ideas & Chasing the Elusive ROI

As an embedded technology, digital signage, it seems, is gaining considerable awareness, with industry predictions for substantial growth through this decade. VDC recently spoke with digital signage management software developer WireSpring Technologies to discuss the embedded platforms and technologies enabling digital signage systems. WireSpring points out that it views digital signage in primary types: (a) traditional advertising-focused digital signage, and (b) interactive digital kiosks.  Read more

Will Legal Battles Jeopardize Android’s Rise to Dominate the Device Market?

The breadth and depth of the Android ecosystem, driven in part by the participation of the open source community, is among the platform’s greatest strengths. But will another of Android’s perceived strengths, the open source nature under which the platform is governed, ultimately prove to be its undoing?  Read more

Business Models: Motorola Solutions Extends into Managed Services

Seeking to unlock shareholder value through the creation of two stand-alone public companies, in January 2011, Motorola formally separated into two distinct businesses - Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. and Motorola Solutions, which is the $8 Billion organization that designs, manufactures, sells, installs and services analog and digital two-way radios, wireless LAN and security products, voice and data communications products and systems primarily for private networks, wireless broadband systems and end-to-end enterprise mobility solutions.  Read more

Can QNX Save RIM?

It has been hard to look at any tech news websites recently and not see articles questioning the future of RIM. Its stock price has dropped over 50% so far this year and it has consistently lost market share over recent quarters as more smartphone users have opted for iPhones and Android devices.  Read more

1H 2011 Global Manufacturing Index: A Mixed Regional Perspective

If manufacturing activity is a harbinger of future economic growth, then the U.S. economic outlook is brightening, somewhat. In fact, economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in June for the 23rd consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 25th consecutive month, according to the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.  Read more

Can Outsourcing Boost Profits and Product Differentiation in the Embedded Market?

Although national employment reports have seemed to be inconsistent and unpredictable measurements of the health of the economy, the tech sector has appeared to be quicker to rebound than some of the other parts of the economy. In particular, we wrote earlier today about how the embedded engineering job market appears to be healing with over 55% of surveyed engineers reporting that the job market is better than last year.  Read more

Does Social Networking Have a Role in Embedded Systems Development?

Yesterday, a group of investors featuring Justin Timberlake (no not Sean Parker) purchased Myspace for 6% of what it was purchased for in 2005. There has been a lot of finger pointing in trying to assign blame for its Icarian-like fall to its founders, to its News Corp. inserted leadership, or even to Rupert Murdoch’s pursuit of the Wall Street Journal. Nevertheless, Myspace served as one of the seminal cogs that propelled social networking to a key component of today’s social interactions.  Read more

Embedded Engineering Job Market Improving

Here is an interesting chart compiled from VDC’s embedded engineering survey from the last three years. The 2008 / 2009 recession and unpredictable economy caused many OEMs to lower spending by reducing development staffs and delaying or canceling project starts. This situation clearly created a grim perception of the health of the job market for many embedded engineers in 2009.  Read more

Embedded Technology Enables Medical Industry to Reduce Costs

In an era of rising medical costs and overwhelmed hospitals, embedded processor companies are working to provide the necessary solutions. Existing medical technology has been focused on critical care, which is often tackling a patient’s health problems when it is too late to provide a satisfactory resolution, costs are extreme, and the limited time of doctors is further squeezed into lengthy operations. One embedded processor company, Freescale, is focusing its medical technology around preventative medicine, where the patient is continuously monitored to prevent trouble before it starts. Read more

2011 Embedded Engineer Survey Results – Programming languages used to develop software

We received several requests recently for a 2011 update on the types of programming languages engineers are using to develop software. This has been a request that we hear quite frequently from subscribers to the blog. Every year VDC conducts an extensive worldwide survey of embedded engineers and their development projects to better understand engineering requirements, preferences, and trends. This information is available from VDC in unique cross tabbed reports to offer readers a detailed, in-depth, view of engineers in the development project trenches. Read more

Scaling Agility a Growing Challenge within Embedded & Enterprise Markets

Despite all its widespread industry buzz, when the Agile movement was first conceived it was designed as a methodology to aid small, co-located development teams. Overtime, however, we have observed the methodology spread to larger teams and large organizations, with many larger development organizations attempting to roll it out in mass to all of their development groups.  Read more

Evolution of Embedded Devices Driving Increasing Use of x86 Processors

Just about a year ago we posted a blog titled “Taking a Bite Out of Apple’s Playbook”. This post included an exhibit on the use of ARM architecture in embedded development projects. We recently looked at other architectures including x86, PowerPC, and MIPS. Here’s what the data shows for 2007 and 2010 for x86.  Read more

Freescale Technology Forum 2011

The Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) was held this week in San Antonio, Texas.  The event featured a wide range of presentations from a number of Freescale executives and keynote speakers.  The global themes of mobility, power, and scalability were prevalent under the overarching theme of connected intelligence.  Read more

Can a Video Game Change Embedded Device Development?

Last week, Microsoft announced the general availability of a SDK for its Kinect platform. For those of you that have been living in a cave for the past year, Kinect is a motion sensing controller for Xbox 360 that can interpret actions as minute as discerning the motions of individual finger tips. Now Microsoft has made a SDK available so that developers can (legally) develop their own non Xbox applications that leverage the platform.  Read more

Kontron Introduces M2M Smart Services Developer Kit

On June 14, Kontron announced its M2M Smart Services Developer Kit with a deployable Intel Atom processor-based system. Developed in collaboration with Intel, the COMs-based kit is a development and deployment solution designed to enable designers to develop and test their application's connectivity and performance, prior to final deployment.  Read more

Military and Defense Cutbacks Could Prompt Spike in Asset Refurbishment through 2015

As worldwide military and defense spending receives increased legislative scrutiny - and in some cases program cancellations - procurement specialists and related life cycle management strategies are likely to become more receptive to retrofitting and refurbishment programs that keep aging equipment fully operational, but at a fraction of the cost of new equipment.  Read more

Embedded Industry Needs Coordinated Effort to Evangelize Cross-domain Collaboration

At this week’s Innovate 2011 Conference, IBM Rational reiterated their vision for embedded systems engineering – that it is becoming of increasing importance to facilitate and encourage collaboration across project teams, product lines, and engineering disciplines. In particular, their announcement of Collaborative Design Manager and discussion of further progress by the Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) standard underscore this strategy.  Read more

Reducing Power Consumption in High Performance, low-power Embedded Processors: SuVolta Emerges with PowerShrink Low-Power Platform

As the embedded processor industry struggles with managing power consumption, semiconductor start-up SuVolta, based in Los Gatos, CA, has recently announced its PowerShrink low-power platform. This product, containing SuVolta’s Deeply Depleted Channel technology, will potentially reduce supply voltage on the order of 30% with no loss in performance and could bring active power consumption down by 50%.  Read more

Commercial Android Market Expected to Grow more than 65% in 2011, Driven by Expansion into New Device Classes

Android has stormed to the forefront of the mobile OS landscape in the last year or so, rivaled in popularity and mindshare only by Apple’s iOS. According to Google, more than 100 million Android devices have been activated to date, at a rate of more than 400,000 activations daily as of last month. Read more

Security: The New (Read: Old) Demon of Embedded Device Development

39% of embedded engineers report designs that incorporate web components. This figure is expected to surpass 50% within the next two years. This dynamic represents a material shift in the design considerations undertaken by many organizations given the breadth and growth of applications expected to gain web connectivity over the next few years (consumer electronics, white goods, automotive, situational awareness, etc.).  Read more

Q2 2011 Embedded Processor Market Update: Japan Recovers

The March 2011 disaster that unleashed massive destruction across Japan, clearly inflicted an unconscionable toll on the citizens of the world’s third largest economy. While we monitor the country’s recovery, VDC Research Group also recently assessed the economic impact on the embedded processor supplier community through a series of executive briefings during Q2 2011. Read more

Embedded Systems Bulletin – May 2011

VDC attended the 2011 Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose on May 3rd through May 5th and held face-to-face meetings at the conference with over 30 exhibitors. The Silicon Valley conference has always been the premier event in the US for embedded software and hardware suppliers and the customers they serve.  Read more

VDC Awards Embeddy for Best of Show to Mentor Graphics at ESC San Jose

In case you missed it, VDC announced its Best of Show Embeddy Award live at ESC SV last week in front of a packed house in their keynote theatre. This was actually our seventh annual Embeddy awards for the San Jose show and our second year presenting them live at the conference.  Read more

RadiSys Announces Acquisition of Continuous Computing

RadiSys last week announced that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Continuous Computing Corporation for approximately $120 million. Continuous Computing generated $56.6 million in revenue in 2010 and was an attractive target due to its portfolio of integrated ATCA platforms for next-generation wireless infrastructure, Trillium protocol software, and emerging professional services practice.  Read more

Growing Need for Hardware/Software (PLM/ALM) Co-Design Management Tools

In many cases, the current landscape of development solutions available to the engineering community evolved to address specific engineering challenges that were typically associated with just as specific engineering roles (this dynamic is especially true in embedded engineering organizations). Increasingly, however, the complexity of today’s systems is driving the communication and collaboration between once discrete domains.  Read more

GE Software Powering the Smart Grid

GE Intelligent Platforms this week announced the release of a new suite of optimization software programs designed for use by smart grid utility companies. The product, known as the Proficy Grid Manager, contains four different management modules, designed for operations, lifecycle, load, and knowledge management. The goal of the program suite is to reduce power outages, monitor customer loads, and perform other smart grid management functions.  Read more

Majority of engineers unlikely to switch embedded operating system vendors

Despite the fragmentation of operating system selection, engineers responding to VDC’s 2011 Embedded Engineering Survey exhibited a propensity to reselect the operating system supplier/brand chosen for their current project for their next, similar project. For operating system suppliers this loyalty is indicative of the likelihood of securing future business once an initial relationship is established with a customer.  Read more

The Embedded Cloud and Connected Vehicles: IBM's Advanced Mobility Framework

IBM recently announced increased client adoption of its cloud computing software and services with more than 20 million end-user customers worldwide, making it among the world's largest providers of cloud-based solutions. While IBM's cloud nomenclature tends to focus on business process management and collaboration for the enterprise, increasingly IBM's connected planet theme is encompassing embedded concepts across multiple vertical industries, including transportation and, specifically, connected vehicles. Read more

Texas Instruments and National Semiconductor Announce Plans to Merge as a Strategy to Grow Analog Segment

On April 4th, Texas Instruments (TI) announced its acquisition of National Semiconductor (National) for $6.5 billion. The acquisition brings together the development strengths of National with the global sales force of TI. According to TI and National executives, the deal will provide a strong synergy for analog products that will benefit the combined corporations.  Read more

Linux Panel Discussion: Challenges & Solutions for Today’s New Technology Advances

Linux has swept across mobile, appliance, enterprise, and desktop platforms with great success. Everyone understands the historical “buy versus build” trade-offs, but as new disruptive technologies like multicore, virtualization, and System On Chip proliferate, the great unknowns lie with how incorporating these technologies affects Linux development costs and schedules. Read more

How Many Operating Systems Does It Take for RIM to Sell a Smartphone?

Today, Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) made two announcements that should alter the face of competition in the mobile device market. RIM officially announced that it will transition QNX’s Neutrino OS to be the basis of their next smart(“super”)phone OS The company’s forthcoming foray into the Tablet market will be bolstered by support for Android applications via a Virtual Machine managed by QNX’s OS. Read more

Potential Impact of the Japan Disaster on the Worldwide Economy, the Global Supply Chain, and the Semiconductor Industry

With the unfathomable human consequences from this month’s earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis in Japan still unfolding, many observers are predicting technology supply chains will be disrupted as manufacturing facilities suspend and shift operations, and infrastructure damage stalls transportation efforts into, out of, and around the world’s third largest economy. While Japan has not been the same engine of economic growth in the 21st century that it was 25 years ago, the country remains a major exporter of consumer electronics, computer parts, components, displays, and other goods.  Read more

New MicroTCA Specification targets Military Applications

PICMG has recently announced the adoption of a specification for a hardened, conduction cooled version of the emerging MicroTCA platform (MTCA.3). THis is the third in a proposed series of five specifications, aimed at broadening usage of the AMC architecture into ruggedized applications in both military and commercial markets.  Read more

Embedded World Bulletin – March 2011

VDC attended the 2011 embedded world Exhibition & Conference in Nuremberg, Germany March 1st through 3rd. This bulletin presents a summary of the event. This is the second time VDC Research has attended embedded world and, according to the show closing report, there were over 800 international exhibiting companies and 19,022 trade visitors. Both represent another year of record numbers of exhibitors and visitors participating in the conference. Read more

Embedded World 2011: Innovation on Display, Amid Upbeat Conference Tone

The organizers of the 2011 embedded world Exhibition & Conference (March 1-4, Nuremberg, Germany) enjoyed a highly successful event, having hosted more than 19,000 attendees (up 4% year-over-year) and more than 800 international exhibitors (up 10%).  Read more

2011: What does the Future Hold for Embedded Hardware Companies?

Quarter One of 2011 is well underway. Many forecasts in 2010 expected more constrained growth in 2011 for processor companies, after a robust rebound in 2010. Many of these processor companies posted strong growth in their embedded segments, with several companies having growth near 30%.  Read more

AMD Deploys New Channel Marketing Infrastructure to Challenge Intel

AMD has rolled out a new marketing campaign to promote their CPUs and graphics cards. The new campaign (dubbed “Ready. Willing. And Stable. Get AMD Now.”) emphasizes the robustness of AMD’s products through media alerts, online marketing, and a twitter contest. The campaign contrasts AMD’s processors with the rival Intel’s Sandy Bridge architecture processor family. Read more

How would you feel if your new Blu-ray player got a virus?

Probably not very happy. This may not have been an issue when you got your first VHS player, but it is an unavoidable consequence of the perpetual, ubiquitous connectivity of today’s embedded systems. Over 50% of respondents in VDC’s 2010 Software and System Development Survey indicated that they expected a project similar to their current one to include a web component within the next two years - a 20% increase over current project values.  Read more

Freescale Files for IPO to Reduce Debt and Improve Strategic Flexibility

Freescale, the $4.4 billion global semiconductor company, filed a Form S-1 Registration Statement on February 11, 2011 indicating its intention to file for an initial public offering. The potential offering, which VDC predicted in a separate June 2010 blog, calls for the issuance of over 1 billion shares of common stock at an as yet undetermined share price in an effort to reduce a significant portion of its consolidated indebtedness, totaling approximately $7.6 billion at the end of 2010.  Read more

Embedded Engineers Experience with Multicore and/or Multiprocessing Designs

Suppliers, both software and hardware, continue to announce new products and services to support, in particular, multicore device/system development. As a matter of fact it is a keyword similar to Android, virtualization, hypervisors, security, etc. that are a must in any marketing campaign to improve SEO and grab attention. But how ready are embedded engineers to actually use multicore/multiprocessing in their development? Read more

Enea Expands Multicore Strategy and Support for Linux

What Happened? Enea recently announced a strategy to expand and strengthen their multicore support for heterogeneous multicore systems. The strategy includes an alliance with Timesys and membership in the Linux Foundation. VDC’s View Enea has long supported Linux as a solution for their customers and multicore, especially the telecom segment.  Read more

We all know Android is Linux, but is it the New Linux?

Android has been all over the news lately, after having supposedly eclipsed the iPhone and approaching the Blackberry in share of smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter. Although it’s arguable that the recent launch of the CDMA iPhone for Verizon might dent Android’s growth in the US mobile phone market, the Linux-based OS has enjoyed a meteoric-like rise in OEM and consumer adoption since it was first announced in 2007 – as demonstrated by the string of Android-focused announcements at last month’s CES as well as the anticipated product launches at the upcoming MWC.  Read more

Android Advances Across the Embedded Community, the open collaborative organization that promotes Power Architecture technology, announced on February 9, 2011 the first Android operating system (OS) port available as open source code for the embedded community. A collaborative effort between IBM, Mentor Graphics, XGI (now part of SIS) and AppliedMicro, the code is now available for download at and  Read more

SanDisk and Toshiba Reaffirm Memory Alliance with New Fabrication Facility

SanDisk and Toshiba are coming together to construct a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for NAND flash memory. VDC believes this indicates these companies anticipate continued strong demand for NAND memory products for storage of digital media and data. Based in Yokkaichi, Japan, the facility will come online in mid 2011, meaning Toshiba and SanDisk hope to capitalize on continued demand from this time frame onwards.  Read more

VDC to Attend Embedded World March 1-3

We will be making the trip across the Atlantic again this year to visit the largest embedded technology tradeshow of the year, embedded world in Nuremberg, Germany. Last year, the conference boasted over 18,000 visitors and over 700 exhibiting companies!  Read more

VDC Research Participants Donate More than $800 to FIRST

Last fall, VDC offered engineers an opportunity to have $10 donated to FIRST, an organization intended to promote engineering and the sciences in young people, by participating in a survey on software and system development practices. We are happy to report that we had over eighty engineers elect to have the donation be made to the non-profit in lieu of receiving a cash prize themselves – for a total of more than $800.  Read more

The Next Domain in Systems Modeling

Initially, software and system modeling tools emerged out of the need to solve and/or simplify specific engineering problems. The Unified Modeling Language (UML) was designed to address software problems while proprietary languages were developed for siloed engineering tasks such as MATLAB for algorithm design. Over time, however, engineering organizations began utilizing the technologies for additional tasks, ultimately leading to the introduction of new feature sets, new products, and new language subsets altogether such as SysML for system level design.  Read more

The Smart Grid is Creating New Opportunities for Embedded Processors

There is much talk about the so-called ‘’Smart Grid’’ but sometimes little explanation of what this term actually means and what kinds of technology opportunities exist in its development. The Smart Grid will actually involve several systems including the electrical grid, a communications network, and a hardware and software system to control the distribution of electrical power more efficiently than ever before. A smart grid increases efficiency by monitoring the supply and demand for electricity, and managing the use of it.  Read more

Has VME Learned From xTCA?

Despite VME guru Ray Alderman’s (in)famous comment that CompactPCI was a “dog” and ATCA a “dog with fleas,” it appears that VITA and the VME industry may be moving along a path first blazed by PICMG and xTCA. Late in 2002, PICMG released the first version of the Advanced TeleCommunications Architecture (ATCA) standard. This defined the first true blade-based architecture, wherein all communication across the backplane was via a high-speed serial switch fabric, rather than over a shared, parallel, multidrop bus. This was followed by the Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) standard in 2005.  Read more

Deep Packet Inspection (DPI): Cavium Networks Introduces TurboDPI

On January 10, Cavium Networks announced the introduction of TurboDPI, the industry's first off-the-shelf multi-function security software solution optimized for OCTEON II processors. TurboDPI utilizes Cavium Networks new Uniscan technology that is incorporated in all multi-core OCTEON II processors to simultaneously block malicious or inappropriate URLs, identify hundreds of widely used protocols and applications, help block thousands of different intrusion attempts and locate over a hundred thousand varieties of virus and malware threats, all with just a single scan of the data stream at up to 40Gbps. Read more

Windows 8 Support for ARM ~ Another Nod to PC/Embedded Convergence

What Happened? Today, Microsoft ended months of speculation and announced at CES that the next version of Windows will support SOC architectures, for x86 – and ARM. VDC’s View Given the recent rise in popularity and buzz around the ARM architecture, a number of media outlets touted the potential addition of support for ARM as a necessary game-changer for Microsoft. Many of the related articles, however, forgot to mention that Microsoft has offered OSs supporting ARM for years through Windows Embedded Compact/CE and its progeny, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.  Read more