IoT & Embedded Technology Blog

Your Health… There’s an App for That

by Daniel Mandell | 12/31/2012

The advent of the smartphone has inexplicably changed the way we live – including how we take care of our physical selves at home. Such technology is making a number of traditionally hospital-only services and extended their availability to the general public at an affordable cost. Smartphones, combined with a peripheral sensor and mobile application, are capable of measuring temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital parameters. Such solutions make the smartphone a chief contributor to the rising adoption of telehealth systems and away-from-hospital services. Read more

Moore’s Law – Where Do We Go From Here? (Part 2)

by Eric Gulliksen | 12/31/2012

A few days ago, I posed the above question in a blog on these pages – and answered it, at least to a degree, by talking about single-atom transistors. Although one (count it – one) has actually been made, the technology is a long way from being ubiquitous. However, like global warming and climate change, the single-atom “wall” is real. And we are rapidly approaching it. Use of GPUs for general-purpose computing is a hedge against the wall; these have far more transistors than conventional CPUs and facilitate parallel computing. Read more

Embedded Security: The Bark is Bigger than the Bite, Part 2

by Andre Girard | 12/31/2012

In part one of this blog, we discussed findings showing the limited security actions taken to date in the Industrial Automation and Energy/Power industries. Unfortunately, the gap between stated interest in security and the actions taken to address these concerns is not limited to this vertical. For example, 29% of engineers in military/aerospace and almost 38% of automotive engineers reported their current project involves no security actions. Read more

Don’t Forget to Lock Your Windows

by Chris Rommel | 12/31/2012

Security is one of the most buzzworthy and sensationalized topics in the embedded market in recent memory. Even 60 minutes has devoted time to the topic. Although device security may not have been at top of Andy Rooney’s interest list, the threat is real. In the same way that the devices across all facets of our lives have become more intelligent and more connected, they have simultaneously come under a sort of evolutionary entrapment. Their increased functionality has made them both more valuable and more attractive targets of attack. And this dynamic extends from everything from mobile phones to medical devices. Read more

Situational Awareness – New Year’s Edition

In the last two days, I have written about two situational awareness applications for embedded hardware products. The first was toward the creepy side and the second much more acceptable on multiple fronts. I think you will find this somewhat in the middle. As the New Year’s Eve approaches, you might find this application provides you with actionable intelligence that you can really use. In Wednesday’s Boston Globe I read a story about a company called SceneTap and they provide a downloadable application that can give you current population and demographic information from local bars or hangouts that you might be interested in. How does SceneTap provide this product? The answer is quite interesting from both a technical and business perspective. Read more

Software Takes the Wheel

by Daniel Mandell | 12/28/2012

While embedded software and connectivity proves to be a massive challenge for automotive manufacturers, it also plays an increasingly vital role in providing a safer, more fuel-efficient, and differentiated user driving experience. Automakers are working closely with software developers and solutions providers to expand and improve upon both under-the-hood and in-vehicle applications. Consumer digitization has hit the automobile, and automotive OEMs must look forward with software in mind. Read more

Sandy Hook & Aurora Theatre - Can Embedded Technology be a Part of the Solution?

In yesterday’s blog we looked at some pretty creepy applications for situational awareness technology. Now, let’s look to how these systems can be employed in a much more socially acceptable manner. In the wake of the Sandy Hook School and Aurora Theatre tragedies, President Obama has made a governmental call to action with a task force being formed to examine every possible solution. Gun control will be considered as well as the NRA’s plan to use more armed guards. Neither extreme is likely to be a good standalone solution.  Read more

That TV You are Viewing Might be Looking at You

This blog related to a Verizon patent application is a follow-up to a previous VDC embedded hardware blog talked about the embedded computing capability being added to signage. The Verizon patent application is for similar applications/technology related to set-top boxes.  Read more

The Year in Review – Noteworthy Developments

As we near the holidays, I have decided to do a quick summary of the interesting embedded hardware stories of the year. Some of these you may be familiar with already, but if not, enjoy! AMD deploys servers with ARM. AMD announced in October that it will be launching Opteron chips built around ARM cores. These new processors are targeted at the microserver market. The alliance between AMD and ARM is further secured by their joint membership in the HSA Foundation along with Imagination Technologies, MediaTek and Qualcomm. Read more

The End of the World, Or The Beat Goes On

According to some Mayan predictions several thousands of years ago, the world is slated to end tomorrow. With increased uncertainty in the embedded markets these days, any number of corporate executives may be inclined to agree. But, let’s assume that these predictions do not come true, and focus on some more realistic predictions for 2013.  Read more

Moore’s Law – Where Do We Go From Here? (Part 1)

In case you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know this, in 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore predicted that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would double approximately every two years. Empirically based on economic factors as well as technical ones, his observation and conclusion has been so accurate that it has been given the title “Moore’s Law.” Certain pundits continually predict that we are reaching the end of the trail, and that the trend cannot continue because miniaturization technology will reach its limit. (It should be noted that Moore’s Law doesn’t specify the size of the IC die; logically one should be able to fit more transistors on a larger die – but that’s another story.) Read more

Taking Embedded Technology Too Far?

by Andre Girard | 12/14/2012

One of the trends mentioned in much of our research is the ever growing volume of embedded software. The size and complexity of code bases continue to swell while new products relying on embedded software are introduced seemingly daily. Although no one here at VDC Research is likely to be branded a luddite, there are some applications of embedded software that make us question, “is that too far?”  Read more

The Embedded Software Beat

A Q&A with Jacques Brygier, VP of Marketing, SYSGO This interview is the fifth in a series that we have conducted with embedded software solution providers to share their views on their company, products, and state of the market. VDC: SYSGO has been in the embedded software business for over 20 years; can you briefly introduce the company to our readers? LogoBrygier: SYSGO has been providing software solutions for the embedded market since its foundation in 1991. The company, headquartered in Mainz, Germany, has developed skills and expertise over the years into two areas, actually very complementary: industrial embedded Linux and safety and security certified RTOS. SYSGO has been quite innovative in addressing the needs of the applications requiring the highest levels of safety and security: Read more

Freescale i.MX 6: From Consumer to Industrial – A Broad-based Vertical Market Approach

Freescale recently announced its latest product family, the i.MX 6. With on-going trends towards display technology, the i.MX 6 line is targeted at a broad array of device types. The i.MX has historically saw the highest volumes from eReaders, with design wins in Kindles and a number of Sony devices. But, as the eReader market becomes more competitive, Freescale anticipates more future revenue from segments such as automotive (particularly infotainment), medical, and industrial.  Read more

That Sign You are Viewing Might Be Looking at You

While doing some research on small form factor embedded computers for our M2M reports, I ran across something I thought was very interesting, and I think you will find it interesting as well. I saw that a recently released Kontron embedded computer targeted at the digital signage market was pre-validated for use with Intel’s AIM Suite software. I thought that it couldn’t be AOL’s Instant Messenger so I wondered what it was. As it turns out, AIM stands for Audience Impression Metric and it uses video from outward facing cameras in the digital signage. By using the AIM software, the material being presented can be changed to improve response.  Read more

The Competing Visions of Connected Intelligence

Smarter Planet. Intelligent Systems Framework. Surround Computing. These are the phrases that IBM, Intel, and AMD have developed for their visions of the future of connected devices – the so-called Internet of Things. While all these visions may have subtle and competing qualities, there is no doubt that the big picture implications are largely the same: more devices, more connectivity, more intelligence. All these concepts are contributing to a future in which embedded technology takes a greater role in our lives. What do these competing visions have in common and how do they differ? To better understand this question, we summarize below our interpretations of these marketing frameworks.  Read more

Iron Dome vs. Patriot Missile Systems –Key Architectural Differences

I was pretty impressed when I read about the Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system and how effective it has been during the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. At first, I believed that it was a derivative of the Raytheon Patriot missile system and, although they share the same mission, there are some key differences related to embedded processing that make perfect sense when you consider them.  Read more

Agile Sucks! (less)

by Andre Girard | 11/13/2012

Remember just a few years back; when claiming the fewest dropped calls was the widespread advertising refrain from cellular providers? Limitations of networks and cell phone antennas meant some dropped calls, while frustrating, were to be expected. However, asserting your service will do the unacceptable (drop calls), but probably less often than those other guys, is hardly an ideal marketing angle. I always thought the tactic amounted to proclaiming “We Suck Less!”  Read more

Siemens buys-in to more cross-domain integration

by Andre Girard | 11/09/2012

Early Thursday morning Siemens announced plans to expand their product lifecycle management solution suite through the acquisition of LMS International NV. Read the complete announcement here. With the purchase of LMS, a leading provider of test and mechatronics simulation software to advanced manufacturing industries, Siemens aims to “close the loop” by extending their systems driven product development support through integrated test management.  Read more

The End of MIPS – Or Just the Beginning?

There is some big news recently in the world of processor IP. Imagination Technologies has officially acquired MIPS Technologies for $60 million, including the operating business of MIPS, 82 of its patents, and license to all right of the remaining patent properties of MIPS. An ARM-led group, Bridge Crossing, is buying MIPS’ remaining 498 patents for approximately $350 million. This development does not come as a complete surprise, as MIPS was likely feeling the squeeze between the colliding superpowers of the embedded space, ARM and Intel, and growing IP competitors like Imagination.  Read more

Overcoming The Hurdles of Big Data

With the growth of the Internet of Things through the proliferation of connectivity, a massive amount of data traffic is being generated. But it is not only the volume of data, but the vast variety of data as well. This amount of data is creating huge burdens for networks and challenging the business models of service providers. Individual users are increasingly online for more minutes per day and utilizing more bits/user than ever before, and this trend will only continue. The necessary investment in backhaul technology is slow in catching up the needs of this demand, and this hinders service providers ability to capitalize on their existing investments. This demand for data and rich media content is also shifting the hardware priorities for OEMs towards enabling greater connectivity and the ability to manage systems of remote connected devices.  Read more

Hurricane Sandy: A Wake-Up Call and (Perhaps) an Embedded Opportunity

As the Northeastern quarter of the United States undertakes the Herculean task of recovering from hurricane Sandy, perhaps the most devastating storm ever to hit the country, we expect to see renewed calls to make our cell phone networks more reliable in times of disasters, natural or otherwise.  Read more

Dude, what did you do in your car?

by Daniel Mandell | 10/31/2012

Data privacy has long been a hot contested topic fought between privacy advocates and governing bodies. The definitions of privacy laws and ownership of data are increasingly challenged as electrical systems today become more sophisticated and accrue more information. In recent years, the automotive industry has provided more kindling for the fire with the installation of event data recorders (EDR) – much like a black box in an aircraft – in most (85+%) new vehicles. Without regulation of these devices, whose presence is generally unknown, everyday drivers are potentially vulnerable to their vehicles’ data being misused by authorities and insurance providers for their own self-interests.  Read more

Death by Defibrillator? - 2 Scary M2M Risks - Part 2

Last week's M2M post looking at the risks that have to be overcome for embedded defibrillators was pretty scary. Now, I have something M2M related that might be pretty scary even if you don’t have an implanted medical device. I have been pretty impressed with some advertisements about how users can connect with home DVRs and possibly other accessories from their mobile devices. In one advertisement I saw, a mother is able to view cameras, unlock the front door for her daughter, and turn off lights when the daughter forgets. The scary part is if she was doing this from a public Wi-Fi like one might find at a Starbucks. Here’s the problem: if the network is unsecured or only secured with WEP, anyone on the network might be able to hijack the session. The hacker can use the hijacked session to change passwords and/or start controlling those cameras and locks.  Read more

The Embedded Software Beat

A Q&A with Stefan Skarin, Chief Executive Officer, IAR Systems Group AB. This interview is the fourth in a series that we look to conduct during the course of 2012 with embedded software solution providers to share their views on their company, products, and state of the market. VDC was fortunate to catch up with Mr. Skarin in advance of the ARM TechCon where IAR Systems will be announcing and demonstrating new products. VDC: IAR Systems is a long-time supplier of software development solutions to the embedded market. Can you briefly introduce the company to our readers? Read more

Death by Defibrillator? - 2 Scary M2M Risks - Part 1

As we continue our VDC FastForward report on the Internet of Things (IoT), security continues to be a major focus point for all of the market ecosystem participants. This week, I saw an interesting article that highlights the challenges of securing mobile equipment that needs to be connected to each other and/or the cloud.  Read more

Is There a Market for Standalone Hypervisors?

The commercial market for mobile virtualization solutions was highly limited even before General Dynamics’ acquisition of Open Kernel Labs last month. Now, with several recent reports indicating that IBM is close to reaching an agreement to buy Red Bend Software, the commercial market may disappear entirely. But is this really that surprising?  Read more

Intelligence…Who Cares? Show Us More Smarts!

Intelligence is cheap. Moore’s Law has been eerily accurate since first discussed back in 1965. Processing power has increased exponentially while component size and cost has shrunk. Today we are “data rich” and getting richer, awash with more intelligent products and data streams of all sorts from sensors, cameras and other gadgets.  Read more

The Embedded Software Beat

A Q&A with Paul Anderson, VP of Engineering, GrammaTech This interview is the third in a series that we look to conduct during the course of 2012 with embedded software solution providers to share their views on their company, products, and state of the market. VDC: GrammaTech has been in the source code analysis business for over 20 years; can you briefly introduce the company to our readers? Logotop Anderson: We were founded as a spin-off from Cornell University to commercialize the results of research into interactive development environments.  Read more

A Big Week for Telecom in M2M - 2 Key Announcements

This week there were several interesting developments related to M2M and cloud services. The first was the announcement of an agreement between IBM and AT&T that effectively provides a comprehensive connectivity and cloud services package. Why is this deal significant? The primary answer is security. If there is one main barrier to M2M adoption, it is the concept of moving sensitive data through the internet. The other related barrier is about exposing a machine or thing to outside access through that same path. One example of security loopholes would be a “man in the middle” access and this is highlighted in the recent US House Intelligence Committee report looking at the entry of Huawei and ZTE into the US market. That report examined the risk that data passing through the Huawei or ZTE equipment could be remotely disrupted by and/or hi-jacked to a 3rd party which, in this case, would be the Chinese military.  Read more

Japan Aims to Rescue its Own, Struggling Renesas

by Daniel Mandell | 09/30/2012

Renesas Electronics has faced many challenges over the last two years and struggles to keep its head above water. Environmental disasters, dismal economic conditions and pressure from overseas competitors have plagued the company – effectively sinking corporate revenues year over year. However, a white knight has risen to restore the struggling MCU manufacturer and it seems as though Renesas will remain a Japanese powerhouse.  Read more

From the Big Dig to Big Data – Can M2M Cure Road Rage?

On my way into the airport today to attend Oracle OpenWorld (running late as usual), I found myself once again grateful for the ways technology has changed our lives and, more specifically, my commute. In this case, I cruised past a long line of cars waiting to pay tolls at exit 14 on the Mass Pike. Empowered by the EZ-Pass sitting on my dash, I skated through the tolls and was one step closer to Logan Airport. Although I find it hard to believe that there are still people who opt to pay cash for their tolls, I gladly accept the opportunity to pass them. But aside from this fleeting competitive advantage (and, yes, driving around Boston is highly competitive) that will eventually fade away as more drivers FINALLY see the light, I am left wondering how our infrastructure can adapt to finally make all of our commutes – and lives – just a little bit easier.  Read more

Are Modeling Tools Finally Generating Some Trust?

Engineering organizations continue to struggle keeping pace with the rate of content creation required to power many of today’s devices. One of the ways organizations have attempted to address this issue over recent years is through the use of modeling tools. While much of these tools’ original adoption centered on their ability to simplify software architecture design and documentation, their potential use cases - and benefits - can be much deeper.  Read more

Securing Your Place in the Evolving Internet of Things Ecosystem

With the start of the 4th quarter of 2012 VDC’s Embedded Hardware Practice is kicking off the project to produce the 3rd exciting volume in the FastForward: Insight for Leaders series. We look forward to your participation as we look to profile several dynamic companies that are active in the ecosystem that is driving the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution. Read more

Texas Instruments Flees Mobility: What?!

Recent news stories are suggesting that Texas Instruments is moving away from mobile. This comes as a surprise as the OMAP processor line seemed so directly targeted at applications like smartphones and tablets. The OMAP 4 went into the Droid Razor and the Kindle Fire. The OMAP 5 is soon to launch with a Cortex-A15 at 28 nm. This product line seemed so destined for great things in mobile, one wonders what could have possibly changed.  Read more

Host Development Platforms Used by Embedded Engineers

One of the areas of interest to suppliers of embedded software development tools is to make sure that they target their investments to the type of platforms engineers prefer to use for their software development. Based on VDC’s 2012 survey, a majority of embedded engineers cite the use of Windows-based systems as their preferred development environment.  Read more

Software Development Tools Market Update

The embedded market has evolved since the early nineties when market players were compartmented and offered RTOSs or software development tools. Over time, players converged at the center, either through acquisitions and mergers, internal development or some combination of both, in offering a software solution that spans operating systems and tool chains. Regardless of the direction of convergence, the focus was on providing an integrated and supported solution from a single vendor.  Read more

Are Server Cooling Problems becoming “Things of the Past”?

As is well known in the industry, cooling comprises one of the biggest problems in embedded computing. Although use of multi-core and low power RISC processors has somewhat mitigated the issue for applications and systems that do not require massive computing power, other applications are still faced with the daunting task of keeping components cool without incurring major costs. Data centers, which may include hundreds or even thousands of rack mounted “pizza box” servers, are particularly impacted by this problem. Air cooling is often insufficient, particularly in larger installations in warmer climates, and liquid or spray cooling has, until now, been both cumbersome and expensive.  Read more

A New COM Standard and a New Organization to Oversee It

Recently, Kontron AG (München, Germany) announced the development of a new COM (Computer-on-Module) standard called ULP-COM. The “ULP” portion of the standard’s title is an acronym for Ultra Low Power. Historically, the COMs industry has been quite x86-centric, with only about 5% of modules shipped using another type of processor (usually RISC).  Read more

Tighter Integration - Coming to a Toolchain Near You?

Based on the growing volume and importance of software, it is relatively easy to understand why tighter integration across the software development cycle is becoming much more important. It is, however, only part of the equation. Over recent years - the lines between software, electrical, and mechanical engineering have been gradually blurring, with each discipline’s functionality becoming increasingly dependent on the others. And in the same way that the traditional serial and siloed development processes have difficulty supporting today’s rate of software change and content creation, the complexity of today’s projects necessitates a higher frequency of communication and coordination between all project/product team members, across and between the various engineering disciplines. Read more

An A+ for C++

A common end-user data-related inquiry we receive here at VDC is about the types of programming languages used by embedded software engineers. C and C++ have long held the top spots, as we have previously noted, with C++ closing the gap in recent years. This year, however, C++ actually overtook C as the most widely used programming language among our survey respondents. Read more

VDC to Explore Storage Trends within Embedded Integrated Computing Systems

For the last decade, storage has been a commoditized component of Embedded Integrated Computing Systems (EICSs) with the most cost effective solutions utilizing hard drives. Hard drives have maintained market dominance with respect to cost per MB stored as form factors have gone down and data rates and capacities have increased through higher rotation rates and platter densities. The largest weakness for this mature technology is the higher likelihood of problems because of the spinning media and sensitivity to vibration, impacts, and environmental conditions.  Read more

KISS: Keep it Simple…

As software code continues to account for ever greater portions of company’s value propositions, the amount of stakeholders needing access to monitor progress or provide input on requirements definition and change management is increasing. In order to keep projects on schedule and within budget, developing well-written requirements and effectively communicating them early in the development lifecycle has become increasingly critical.  Read more

Hot Dog Theory for Embedded Systems

With summer quickly drawing to a close and Labor Day barbeques just around the corner, I thought a staple of American cuisine deserved a momentary spotlight: The Hot Dog. Whether you prefer them with mustard, ketchup, relish or onions, just about everyone seems to have a special place in their hearts for hot dogs.  Read more

Samsung vs. Apple: An Opening for Intel?

The on-going patent infringement case between Samsung and Apple is full of classic corporate legal drama: two behemoth companies facing off, hordes of attorneys filing tons of paper work to back their claim to mobile dominance, and a feisty judge who asked one lawyer if he was on crack. But all the courtroom episodes aside, it is in fact a very interesting case that could have repercussions in the mobile sphere for years to come.  Read more

VDC’s Embedded Hardware Practice Gives Compuverde a Green Light

Last week VDC was host to Compuverde, a Swedish company with a compelling set of software products designed for the distributed storage market. In the briefing provided to VDC by CEO Stefan Bernbo and Executive Chairman Mikael Blomqvist, they highlighted several features of the products and claimed that the performance of the Compuverde solution was significantly better than at least two market competitors. As we are actively covering the Embedded Cloud as well as Rich Media/Big Data markets, we were very enthusiastic about the presentation.  Read more

Image Sensor Applications Provide Significant Opportunities for Embedded Processing and Storage Suppliers

In 2012, the VDC Research Embedded Hardware team has been covering several markets including Mil/Aero, and the Embedded Cloud, where we focus on Scalable Edge Nodes (SENs). In this blog, we will look at a several interesting items that stress the need for embedded processing and storage.  Read more

Embedded Technology: Potential Solution to Friendly Fire?

When you think of military embedded technology, you may think of some high end FPGA embedded in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology or large racks of supercomputers deep within some command bunker. You are probably less likely to think of the advanced equipment that is increasingly making its way into the hands of individual soldiers on the battlefield. Equipment that is potentially more critical to saving lives than any of the advanced technology presently deployed.  Read more

Unlike the IT Service Market, the Embedded System/OEM Service Market is Growing

As we kick off the VDC Research project focused on engineering and support services provided by embedded computer system suppliers I could not ignore the recent news about HP’s charge of close to $8 billion related to its services business. This was big news in that the services business for HP had represented approximately 28% of total revenues. Despite this setback for HP, the outlook for services for embedded computer suppliers is still positive.  Read more

Embedded Bits and Bytes – In case you missed these recent announcements……

AdaCore, provider of tools and expertise for the mission-critical, safety-critical, and security-critical software communities, announced that SmartSide, a Paris-based company providing Smart Metering and Smart Grid management solutions, has adopted the Ada programming language and AdaCore’s GNAT Pro development environment for the implementation of their Smart Devices platform.
 Read more

Cleantech – Update on Microinverters

In a recent blog, I wrote about microinverters and since then, I have received some feedback and new guidance that I believed to be material enough to make an update. Electrolytic Capacitors: One of the marketing points made by SolarBridge is that their microinverters do not use electrolytic capacitors. This is significant in that these components are often viewed as being one of the weakest links with respect to long-term product reliability. One of the things that decrease electrolytic capacitor life is heat and solar panels on rooftops can get quite hot.  Read more

Are You Going To Be Ready For The Third Industrial Revolution?

As hordes of soot covered factory workers poured from the bowels of London Olympic Stadium to rip up and haul away remnants of the pastoral agrarian countryside set, my young son struggled to understand how the opening ceremony celebrated British history. Perhaps the sprouting smoke stacks (piping in real sulfur smell!) were more celebratory in person. Read more

Huge Opportunity for Security Solutions Vendors

With Black Hat 2012 in Las Vegas wrapping up late last week, security has been top-of-mind for many within the embedded systems industry and beyond. As we’ve discussed in several recent blog entries, the growing connectivity/interconnectivity requirements of embedded devices have begun to raise the awareness of OEMs with regard to the need for improved security. However, they often remain unsure of how best to address these requirements, and in many cases fail to address them at all.  Read more

Cleantech – Microinverters Can Drive the Solar Panel Market for Residential/Embedded Use

This week I was writing a company profile for SolarBridge that will be included in the Cleantech edition of the 2012 VDC “Fast Forward-Insights for Leaders” series of reports. SolarBridge is a start-up company that makes microinverters for solar panels. Microinverters are a very interesting product and can enable solar panel installations in places that would have marginal or negative ROI otherwise. As a result, they will likely increase the market for residential solar panels.  Read more

Might Air Flow through Northrop Grumman’s Air-Flow-Through Technology Patent?

A couple of weeks ago, an interesting press release appeared in my Inbox, announcing that Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions (CWCDS) was introducing a new version of their VPX6-490 DSP board, which utilizes dual NVIDIA GPGPU MXM modules and NVIDIA’s Fermi architecture. Besides the fact that this board appears to have extraordinary capabilities, this new version also utilizes Northrop Grumman’s air-flow-through (AFT) cooling technology, which CWCDS was the first to license. Read more

Big Data, Big Opportunity Missed?

A  common thread among next generation embedded Cloud deployment is the increasing volume of data being transmitted and the subsequent need for solutions to turn that information into actionable intelligence – often on a real-time basis. Read more

What You Really Need to Know About Google I/O

As we wrote last week, Android has had limited success in penetrating markets beyond smartphones, tablets, and eReaders, though interest in the platform within the embedded space has been widespread. As such, many in the embedded community had been eagerly awaiting Google I/O 2012 in anticipation of any announcement that would help further Android’s migration to other areas. Read more

When Good Devices Go Bad

There are a lot of great movies out there in the world, but Maximum Overdrive is probably not one of them (even if some circles may debate its stature as a borderline cult classic). If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing it yourself, it is an all-too-80’s action thriller starring Emilio Estevez. Its plot centers on a day when a range of machines are suddenly possessed and go on a homicidal rampage. While cinematic commentary is beyond the typical purview of this blog, the movie raises some interesting ideas about the risks associated with all types of everyday devices.  Read more

Quality, Quality, Quality: The 3 Most Important Factors for Automated Test Tools

It’s common knowledge that code bases have continued to grow in size and complexity and that more product end value is reliant upon software. This growth requires organizations to commit more and more of their time and resources to software development. With OEMs under mounting pressure to find new and more efficient ways to maximize their software content creation without proportionate increases in software engineering man-power, engineering organizations are utilizing more third-party code sources as well as more sophisticated tools that can generate production ready code from higher level designs. Read more

Enterprise Mobile Application Security: It’s All About the App

A number of factors are contributing to the increasing importance of mobile application security within the enterprise. For one, the mobile enterprise application market is rapidly growing as businesses have increasingly rolled out aggressive mobile app development plans. Mobile device management (MDM) has proven effective in supporting bring your own device (BYOD) policies, but does not bring security and policy control directly to the enterprise app itself. To deliver effective, secure applications the enterprise must bring security to the application level while making the experience seamless to users.  Read more

ALM/PLM integration, who's going to lead?

The complexity of today’s embedded devices and systems has escalated across all industries, coupled with a growing requirement for connectivity and mobility. To meet these challenges, developers’ use of software and system lifecycle management (SSLM) tools has expanded across a broader range of challenges than the specific engineering tasks for which they were originally developed. To support this usage, many suppliers are shifting away from point solution offerings towards integrated platform/suite solutions addressing a broader portion of the software development lifecycle. Read more

State of the Market: Android in Embedded

Together with Apple’s iOS, Android has helped to redefine expectations with regard to user interaction and functionality in the smartphone space. The widespread success of Android and iOS are among the major factors contributing to changes in OS strategy on the part of traditional market leaders Nokia (a shift from Symbian to Windows Phone) and Research In Motion (acquisition of QNX Software Systems and shift to a QNX-based platform). Furthermore, the ubiquity of smartphones has begun to impact UI expectations in other devices classes, with interest in utilizing Android to serve these requirements continually mounting. Read more


The computing world is undergoing another transformation, one that may well change the way many of us live and work with information. This transformation is the rapidly evolving migration to cloud-based applications and services. As most of you are probably aware, the “cloud” refers to cyberspace, specifically the Internet. Cloud computing finally comprises the realization of Sun Microsystems’ long-term motto, “the network is the computer.” Applications and files can “live” in the cloud, and be accessed by users as needed through such devices as thin clients.  Read more

Heterogeneous Processing Shakes-up the Embedded Processor Landscape

The competitive landscape of the embedded processor market has shifted again. Facing the encroachment of giant Intel, an alliance has formed to counter-balance the vast Intel ecosystem. On June 12th, AMD, ARM, Imagination Technologies, TI, and Mediatek announced the formation of the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation in order to develop a unified, open industry standard architecture for heterogeneous computing. This sets the stage for a number of interesting developments.  Read more

Metro cells versus Micro cells: Which is Winning?

Based on research for VDC’s soon to publish Track 2, Volume 2: DSPs, GPUs, and Media Processors report, VDC observed that metro cells are currently beating out microcells. In the course of this blog, I aim to analyze this trend and the market dynamics that are underlying it. Read more

IPv6, M2M and the Internet of Things – The sky is the limit now

With the launch of IPv6 yesterday the internet of things is now unburdened by the previous restriction of IP addresses. The IPv4 system was limited to 4.3 Billion devices that could be directly connected to the internet. This sounds like a huge number but, if you consider that there are approximately 7 billion people on the planet that own an increasing number of things that could be connected, that 4.3 Billion was eventually going to be used up. Read more

Navigating the FUD on Multicore Software Development

As you may have seen on our blog or in our research, one trend that we have been following over recent years is the usage of multicore processor configurations within the embedded market. Clearly this is a topic that has received a significant amount of industry attention over recent years, largely led by silicon manufacturers’ marketing initiatives as well as the community’s general familiarity with the technology from PC and server class devices.  Read more

Is Agile the New Norm for Embedded Systems Design?

There are at least four certainties in life: birth, death, taxes and the continued increase of software complexity. As a function of the latter, software development organizations long ago realized that many traditional software development methodologies can become burdensome when applied towards the development goals of today’s projects. The sheer volume and velocity of software content creation has left many organizations searching for more flexible ways to adapt to the changing requirements of their projects.  Read more

Alcatel Lucent and Radisys New Product Strategies to Drive Embedded Networking Shares

Yesterday’s news of Alcatel-Lucent attempting to gain share of the lucrative Core Router market with the introduction of the 7950 routing system is making things interesting. This new 7950 product line would be leveraging their market share in the edge routing market in order to compete with Cisco and Juniper for a share of the core market. The new 7950 system is claimed to have a 400 Gbps processor capable of handling 70,000 high definition video streams. While this capability is impressive it is also worth noting that it achieves this at a much lower rate of electrical power usage. Read more

Can Google Defend Open Source Software?

As you probably know, Google is currently entrenched in a battle with Oracle over the use of Java in Android. The trial may be only a month old, but the war began with the original suit filed in August 2010 for alleged copyright and patent infringement related to the Java programming language. However, this case is not just about Google defending its use of the technology or simply lining its pockets. The outcome of this trial has the potential to cripple the Android ecosystem and other open source projects as well.  Read more

Extracting Elusive Value from the Embedded Cloud – A Consumer Perspective – Part 2

As we continue this blog series looking at the embedded cloud, I thought I would look at a few more typical household/consumer activities as a place where M2M could deliver value to many stakeholders. In this part 2 we look to food storage and preparation. Read more

Intelligent Opportunities: Rich Media and Big Data Reshaping OEM Requirements and Business Models

The Internet of Things. Intelligent Systems. M2M. These terms are now commonly heard in the world of embedded computing. And one of the most important related trends, often erroneously associated exclusively with enterprise computing, is that of big data and rich media. The explosion in the number of devices, the connectivity between them, and their ability to generate large and continuous data streams from sensors, cameras and a range of I/O devices will fundamentally reshape the world in which we live and the embedded computing industry.  Read more

Security Requirements Driving Major Changes In Embedded Computing Ecosystem

In a strategically important move driven by significant changes in embedded computing, ETAS recently announced their intent to acquire security solution provider ESCRYPT. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the modeling tool vendor confirmed that the acquisition is intended to strengthen the independent professional services division that they first established in January. Read more

Extracting Elusive Value from the Embedded Cloud – A Consumer Perspective – Part 1

As part of a series supporting the recently published M2M/ Embedded Cloud reports, I explored a few M2M benefits for the industrial machine markets and wind power industry. As I extend this blog series, I wanted to look at a few ways that Machine to Machine M2M connectivity can provide many benefits to consumers in their everyday life and, as a result can provide more revenue opportunities to the businesses that embrace this new age of embedded cloud M2M connectivity.  Read more

The Embedded Software Beat

A Q&A with John Carbone, Vice President of Marketing, Express Logic This interview is the first in a series that we look to conduct during the course of 2012 with embedded software solution providers to share views on their company, products, and state of the market. VDC: Congratulations on the 15 year anniversary for Express Logic in the RTOS business. Can you briefly introduce the company to our readers? Carbone: Express Logic is a software company, focused on real-time operating systems (RTOS), related middleware, and development tools for embedded systems.  Read more

Embedded/Real-time Operating System Market - Uneven Growth in 2011 – Slower Growth Expected Over the Forecast Period

In 2011, growth in the market was uneven and the rate of growth below what VDC had forecasted from last year. Suppliers in the market expressed mixed views on the state of the market in 2011 and the challenges they faced during the course of the year. Read more

So Whatcha Gonna Do With That Modeling Tool?

As we’ve mentioned in this space before, the level of software content and system complexity is rapidly expanding in multiple verticals such as automotive and avionics. Given the challenges of these industries, it is not surprising they have been long time user of modeling tools. In fact, modeling tools have emerged as the tool of choice to address a number of complex design challenges.  Read more

Don’t Rely Solely on Mil/Aero, the Largest Software & Systems Modeling Tools Segment

As code bases grow in complexity and organizations commit more of their time and resources to software development, embedded engineers and enterprise developers are increasingly turning to software modeling tools to help manage this complexity while still meeting ever greater time-to-market pressures. The considerable market opportunities for modeling tools as one of the methods depended upon to clarify requirements, understand behavior, and design the functionality are highlighted in VDC’s recently published Software & System Modeling Tools report.  Read more

Will Ultra-low-power Finally Crush the 8-bit MCU?

A new class of MCU is on the rise, which is designated by many vendors as the ultra-low-power class. Based on recent product announcements by TI, NXP, STMicroelectronics and others, the ultra-low-power class is quickly ramping up. These new MCUs represent an opportunity for 16-bit and 32-bit performance, but more within the power envelopes and price points of 8-bit MCUs. VDC believes this will hasten the departure of 8-bit architectures as well lead to new MCU device opportunities.  Read more

Curtiss-Wright Controls Sharpens Focus

Curtiss-Wright Controls, parent company of Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing (CWCEC), announced on January 9 the formation of a new business unit, Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions (CWCDS). The new unit will incorporate both CWCEC and the firm’s former Electronic Systems unit. Read more

Embedded Bits and Bytes – In case you missed these announcements from the last several weeks...

AdaCore, provider of tools and expertise for the mission-critical, safety-critical, and security-critical software communities, announced that Embraer Defense and Security has selected the GNAT Pro Ada development environment from AdaCore as a primary tool set to develop the Operation Flight Program for the AMX Modernization program. Read more

Extracting Elusive Value from the Embedded Cloud

In the past few months as work progressed on the VDC Embedded Cloud report, I posted a few blogs on classic examples of M2M connectivity and the values that can be obtained by many stakeholders. Even so, I believe many M2M cases do not fully extract all of the value that can be obtained by that connectivity and, in particular, the data that is collected, processed, and stored in the cloud. In this blog, I thought I would explore in more detail two examples of M2M connectivity to look for that elusive added value. Read more

Need to Strengthen Your Engineering Skillset?

We have discussed a great many embedded development trends and challenges in this space in recent months. From security concerns to the continued adoption of multicore and the importance of adhering to certification standards in certain industries, there is no shortage of complications impacting today’s embedded engineers. Read more

Four Big Takeaways from the Design West / ESC Show

In this last ESC show related blog, I will summarize several of the discoveries and themes we saw for embedded hardware products. We had lots of great conversations and observed many product demonstrations and presentations. These four takeaways were some of the most interesting.  Read more

Design West / ESC Show Highlights - Part 2

In this blog I will continue to explore some of the VDC Embedded Hardware team experience at the Design West ESC show. We saw a lot of great product demonstrations along with some excellent detailed briefings and meetings so it’s difficult to boil it all down to a reasonable size blog but here we go. Read more

Design West / ESC Show 2012 Highlights - Part 1 The Embeddy

VDC attended the 2012 DESIGN West/Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose from March 27th through March 30th and met with more than 30 companies to discuss product announcements and a variety of industry trends impacting the embedded hardware market today. Read more

Security ~ Does Perceived Importance Lead to Change?

As you can see from the statistics shown here collected in our 2011 Embedded System Engineering Survey, security is becoming top of mind at many engineering organizations. Not only are more and more devices becoming connected to each other and the enterprise over the embedded cloud, but their software functionality is representing more value to end users and, in many cases, its compromise or failure can result can significant financial liabilities for OEMs. Read more

Perpetual & Pervasive Consumer Engagement Platforms Shaping Semi Market

From TVs, twitter, and mobile phones, the amount of electronic information with which we are presented on a daily basis has exploded and we have become increasingly conditioned to want this information on a at our fingertips real-time basis. We have almost gotten to the point now, however, that we – as a society – have developed a Device Attention Hyperactivity Disorder. So within the retail automation, at the same time that we want a more immersive consumer experience, it is becoming both more difficult and important to capture customer attention and loyalty.  Read more

DESIGN West Bulletin – Part 1, Best of Show!

VDC attended the 2012 DESIGN West/Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose from March 27th through March 30th and met with more than 30 companies to discuss product announcements and a variety of industry trends impacting the embedded market today. The conference was abuzz with many of the same topics that dominated embedded world earlier in the month, namely M2M, the Cloud, security, and Android. Be sure to visit the UBM site for complete details and other news items associated with the show. Read more


Approximately six weeks ago, ADLINK Technology, Inc. (New Taipei City, Taiwan) announced the 100% acquisition of LiPPERT Embedded Computers GmbH (Mannheim, Germany), providing a major increase in market share for modular computing products. ( )  Read more

Deepsea Challenger: Bringing Embedded to the Bottom of the World

Titanic and Avatar director and filmmaker James Cameron recently completed an epic adventure to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest location under the Pacific Ocean. In order to reach this location and survive the crushing pressures of the massive ocean above him, Mr. Cameron rode in a custom designed submarine called the Deepsea Challenger.  Read more

Can Connected Cars Drive Automotive Ecosystem Evolution?

While we were at Embedded World last week, Intel announced two initiatives focused on the “connected car” concept:

  • The opening of a new product development center in Germany and launch of a related academic program
  • The launch of a $100 million Intel Capital Connected Car Fund, which “will invest in hardware, software and services companies that are developing leading-edge ingredient technology and platform capabilities that support Intel’s focus areas in automotive technology innovation”

 Read more

Enabling M2M Applications to Cloud Services Using Scalable Edge Nodes - Part 1

During the ongoing VDC report on the embedded cloud I have been hearing about many different interesting Machine to Machine (M2M) applications including several that distinctly feature products that we consider as Scalable Edge Nodes (SEN). During the next few weeks, I thought I would touch on a few of these interesting application cases and what the scalable edge node brings to the table.  Read more

Engineer Experience with More Complex Architectures

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

Remember 99.999% Reliability?

After spending literally billions of dollars acquiring spectrum and building out infrastructure, Verizon Wireless’ LTE network has been plagued with outages. On Wednesday the network went down…for the fourth time in just the past three months.  Read more

Growing importance of certification adherence drives professional services opportunities

Earlier this week, LDRA announced the establishment of a professional services division to help companies developing certification ready products. The LDRA Certification Services (LCS) group is tasked with providing know-how, tools, and services to customers to assure they achieve full compliance at a fixed price. Regarding the expertise of the team selected to lead the LCS division, Operations Director, Ian Hennell states.  Read more

The Embedded Cloud – A Logistics Based M2M Solution to Many Worldwide Problems

As we read the news on an almost daily basis we see stories where counterfeit and/or inferior products are being sold to unsuspecting consumers and companies. In other similar cases, the products are correct and/or close to what they should be with respect to quality and identity but their places of origin have been misrepresented. Then, we have the cases where products have been mishandled or contaminated but tracing them back to the sources is almost impossible or at least time consuming.  Read more

Media Processing: Unseen but Powerful

As I watched yesterday’s SuperBowl, I was painfully aware of each moment of the Patriots’ loss to New York. One thing of which I was blissfully unaware at the time was how much media processing was going on to bring me the crystal clear image on the massive HDTV in front of me. Media processing is what enables on-field action captured by NBC network’s cameras to be then consumed on a high-def television, or ultrabook, or smart phone, or tablet, etc.  Read more

Is Android Coming to a Secure Device Near You?

In case you missed it, the National Security Agency (NSA) announced last week the initial public release of a security-enhanced (SE) version of Android based on SE Linux. As stated by the NSA, the primary objective of SE Android is to “identify and address critical gaps in the security of Android.” The enhanced security features of SE Android are designed prevent malicious attacks by restricting the permissions of Android applications (superseding user-approved settings) while also isolating individual apps from each other.  Read more

Ditch the Dictionary, “Spell Check” Your Way Through Source Code Analysis

Anyone still keep a dictionary and thesaurus next to your writing station? If you’re like me, the computer is where you write and automated spell checking in email and word processing programs have long since relegated these once essential writing tools to dust collecting duty on a bookshelf.  Read more

GE’s 4th Quarter: The Industrial Crystal Ball for Embedded Hardware in 2012?

General Electric released its 4th Quarter 2011 earnings today. As many know, GE has grown from its humble beginnings in light bulbs to provide a spectrum of products from aircraft engines to financial services. While GE Intelligent Platforms makes embedded hardware, GE as a whole goes far beyond the world of embedded. As a former GE engineer myself, I have seen firsthand the world-class technology GE brings to market. Since it is a global company with diverse industries, it is typically seen as a bell-weather indicator for the general economy that drives the vertical markets of the embedded industry.  Read more

Transportation Embedded Computing: Cruise/Insurance Industry can Learn From Trucking Industry

In the days after the Costa Concordia disaster several things are known. Approximately 30 people died and the cruise industry (Carnival in particular) and its insurers have experienced huge financial losses. Some say that the ship can be salvaged and back in operation within a year or two but, even so, the losses will be staggering both outright from the lawsuits and loss of cruise business as well as the rescue operations, environmental cleanup, and repair/replacement of the ship. In the aftermath there will be many questions raised about how this could have been prevented and, in my opinion, some of the answers lie within the trucking industry. Read more

Security concerns represent a market growth opportunity for Embedded Cloud

As I am now working on the latest VDC report on the Embedded Cloud, I have great interest in how suppliers and their customers can take advantage of market opportunities. One obstacle to adoption by many IT and business executives has been security. This concern springs from the idea of sensitive data being transmitted over the cloud. The current VDC report looks at edge node devices that can be used to facilitate connections while, at the same time adding security layers.  Read more

Quanta Case versus AMD Underscores Importance of Component/Assembly Testing - Part 2

In the last week’s blog we looked at the semiconductor manufacturing process and the various testing steps that happen as raw silicon is turned into finished devices. In this week's follow up we continue looking at the testing process on the product manufacturing side. Last week we noted that Quanta was manufacturing notebook computers. Because of this, I want to make two observations about the product designs and manufacturing process for notebook computers.  Read more

Quanta Case versus AMD Underscores Importance of Component/Assembly Testing - Part 1

This week I read of the lawsuit filed by Quanta Computer Inc. against AMD and its ATI division. The lawsuit alleges that components that they sold Quanta turned out to have heat tolerance related issues that caused the laptops they were used in to fail. It seems a little strange to me that Quanta is the only company with the problem unless they are buying a unique product or batch of products from AMD/ATI. Even so, with a multi-layered testing process the type of problem claimed by Quanta should not happen.  Read more