IoT & Embedded Technology Blog

Graphics Titans Share the Cache and Heterogeneous Architectures Gain from It

by Daniel Mandell | 06/30/2013

Heterogeneous computing is picking up steam with the latest announcements surrounding AMD’s Kaveri chipset and NVIDIA’s Maxwell GPU. Both chips will employ unified memory technologies in which the CPU and GPU can access main memory in tandem. The vast benefits of bridging different processing technologies closer together is why both of these graphics titans continue increasing support and unveiling products featuring heterogeneous architectures. This is why heterogeneous computing will continue to gain traction in several applications, and why embedded end users should prepare for support now. Read more

Combating the Crush of Code Creation

by Andre Girard | 06/28/2013

We discussed in a blog earlier this week the growing reliance on software components to provide differentiation in the automotive vertical market. It is a trend that can be witnessed across a wide range of embedded industries and as a result, software volume and complexity is expanding rapidly. With these changes comes a growing appreciation for the value proposition of commercial software tools to manage the challenges borne by software development. The introduction of formal tooling to lessen the reliance on hand-coding and in-house developed tools is a strategy used by more and more organizations to address their development needs. Read more

Controlling In-Vehicle Innovation with IVI Design

by Chris Rommel | 06/26/2013

Automotive differentiation is no longer driven by gears and grease. Electronic systems now control most aspects of a vehicle’s operation and the software within those systems has risen to account for an increasing share of their functionality and differentiation. Today, software content growth in the automotive industry continues to outpace most other embedded device classes. In no automotive sector is this trend more acute than in IVI. Read more

OEMs Shift Their Use of Professional Services to a Gain Competitive Edge

In 2013, VDC is seeing dynamic shifts in strategy for many OEMs as they respond to market pressures and position their organizations for future opportunities. As the economy improves, the calculus behind the professional services decision may change but most OEMs still prefer to outsource non-core functions. Although the OEM may be losing some product margin to pay for the services consumed, it is a small price to pay compared to the expense and risk of bringing processes back in house. Read more

It’s Electric…Boogie Woogie Woogie!

by Andre Girard | 06/11/2013

As the world’s energy reserves continue to wane, there is an ongoing shift towards the use of renewable energy sources. Concurrently, developments in advanced electric power systems (EPS), more commonly known as smart grids, are catching the eye of utility and power companies worldwide. Using two-way digital communication technology, smart grids can generate and distribute sustainable, economic and secure energy supplies. Read more

Hardware-in-the-Loop: Not Just for Auto & Aerospace

by Andre Girard | 05/22/2013

Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) is a simulation technique that allows for the rapid development and testing of intricate, real-time control systems. Since such testing can be done without the creation of a physical prototype, HIL reduces product-related development costs and time-to-market, while increasing the overall quality and reliability of embedded control systems. Given the relative complexity of developing a HIL platform, this technology has traditionally been relegated to the development of capital-intensive equipment in the automotive and aerospace industries. However, the energy industry has recently taken notice of the benefits of HIL. Read more

Got Ugly Code? Test to See if Quality Runs Deep

by Chris Rommel | 05/22/2013

In today’s celebrity culture, inner beauty isn’t always a valued trait. But when it comes to embedded software development, beauty is truly on the inside. High quality, well-designed and reliable products necessitate high-quality and highly secure embedded software. Development Testing is one of the most effective ways to achieve this. Read more

At the Design West – Embedded Systems Conference – 2013 – Part 3

During the show, we met with Connect Tech Inc. who introduced us to two of their latest Xtreme PCIe/104 products, including the Xtreme/GPU product that can be ordered either with an AMD Radeon E6760 or an NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M. These modules can provide support for up to four displays, which is a lot of capability in a 3.77” x 3.55” form factor. If the solution needs Ethernet capability, the Xtreme/GbE packs 8 ports of Gigabit Ethernet connectivity into that same space.  Read more

New Media, New Opportunities - Extending the Value Proposition of Media Servers

by Daniel Mandell | 05/09/2013

The rampant adoption of all-IP networking infrastructures and continual advances in consumer electronics have allowed media content and services to evolve in tandem. Consumer requirements are intensifying with expectations of HD video, high data speeds, and superior audio quality – and will deepen with new, rapidly growing applications such as video conferencing and unified collaboration. The IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architecture has guided leading media server vendors to offer powerful and flexible hardware capable of supporting various formats and applications. Read more

At the Design West – Embedded Systems Conference 2013 – Part 2

In this blog we will continue to provide a few more highlights from the suppliers we spoke to at the 2013 DESIGN WEST / Embedded Systems Conference that was held last week in San Jose.

Small Form Factor Motherboards: At the VersaLogic booth we were shown several of their new small form factor motherboards, including the EBX format Copperhead that is powered by an Intel i7 processor and can support up to 3 independent displays. We also saw their COM Express Mini format Falcon and EPIC format Iguana that are powered by Intel Atom processors. Read more

M2M can Authenticate Actionable Intelligence for Hospitality Industry

During a recent conversation at VDC, the topic turned to a problem often seen by users of travel and restaurant advisor sites. It is often difficult to determine legitimate user ratings from those that were created by employees or competitors of the venue in question. We believe that Google, Apple, or another industry participant could mitigate this problem by using an M2M architecture solution. Here is how it would work. Read more

DESIGN West Bulletin

As noted Friday, VDC attended the 2013 DESIGN West Conference in San Jose from April 22nd through April 25th. We met with more than 40 companies to discuss product announcements and a variety of industry trends impacting the embedded market today. Friday’s post noted our Embeddy award winner, LynuxWorks, and new features within the company’s LynxSecure embedded virtualization technology. Read more

M2M World Congress – London – Highlights from Day 1 of 2

by Chris Rommel | 04/25/2013

VDC’s CEO Mitch Solomon is participating in M2M World Congress (one of the industry’s larger M2M-centric conferences) this week in London, and sent in the following post from the field. First off, the event is oversold and is standing room only, a testament to building interest in M2M (…and perhaps the strong promotional efforts of its producer). The day consisted of roughly a dozen presentations and panels, covering a broad landscape of topics. Speakers were largely from major wireless carriers, primarily European. Read more

IBM Bolsters DevOps Support with UrbanCode Acquisition

by Andre Girard | 04/22/2013

On Monday, IBM announced the acquisition of UrbanCode, a provider of software delivery automation solutions. UrbanCode’s continuous release and deployment tools will be integrated into the IBM Rational portfolio to bolster their DevOps capabilities.  Read more

Embedded Sensing & M2M Enable Advanced Efficient Agriculture

The VDC embedded hardware team received a very interesting briefing from RFMicron (Austin, Texas) on an IC component aimed at solving a problem seen with passive RFID tags. In addition to increasing the performance of the RFID tag, the new chip (called Magnus) actually allows the tag to perform additional functions and, as a result, we believe that this product has many potential M2M applications. Read more

3 Reasons Why You Need a Big Data Plan Today

by Daniel Mandell | 04/16/2013

The fuzzy ROI of Big Data technology can be a tough pitch for business stakeholders, but the potential for missed opportunities and dire consequences may mark major disruption, or even failure, to those organizations that ignore the path technology is headed. Big Data implications are business-wide across all departments, and will become a staple of nearly every industry. The proliferation of connected devices and competitive pressures will also urge non-tech companies (hospitals, banks, grocers, cattle farms), who have traditionally experienced relative ease in managing their modest data, to join other industries today in formulating and investing in a data-driven future. Read more

Don't Water-Scrum-Fail.

by Chris Rommel | 04/15/2013

Agile is a great weapon available to OEMs to fight the challenges inherent in device development today. It is not, however, a silver bullet. In a recent post, we explored how Agile projects are still finishing behind schedule, despite favorable comparables against standard V-model workflows. The truth of the matter is that Agile projects are subject to many of the setbacks as traditional ones. They can and will fail. It is more important than ever for engineering organizations to recognize what specialized or unique implementation strategies they need to use to increase their chance's for long-term success with Agile. Read more

ALPR = Big $$ for Embedded Hardware Suppliers

An interesting opportunity for embedded hardware suppliers caught the attention of the VDC M2M Embedded Platform team. The opportunity was highlighted in a Boston Globe article this week about a local police department that equipped a cruiser with a $28K Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) unit. There were a number of eye-popping statistics starting with the fact that the unit apparently paid for itself in the first 11 days it was deployed.  Read more

Help ~ Someone Hacked my Toaster!

by Chris Rommel | 03/31/2013

In the PC world, security issues are generally well understood and often even addressed by the masses. It’s a different story in the M2M and embedded market. Recognition of security risks and the number of steps taken to address security vary across each level of the embedded ecosystem - by industry, manufacturer, component supplier, and end user.  Read more

ALM Connect Executive Day and EclipseCon, March 2013

by Andre Girard | 03/29/2013

VDC was excited to attend the ALM Connect Executive Day, which was run in parallel to EclipseCon 2013 in Boston this week. The objective of the executive day, to provide a platform for software delivery executives to discuss modern ALM practices in the context of business problems, is tightly aligned to our Software & System Lifecycle Management Tools research. Read more

Model That MIMO

by Andre Girard | 03/28/2013

Wireless networks have been pressed to rapidly evolve as ever greater numbers of subscribers utilize mobile devices to transmit an increasing volume of data. In fact, Cisco projects the number of mobile-connected devices, driven by a combination of personal devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, will exceed the world’s population by the end of this year and that mobile data traffic will expand at a CAGR of 66% through 2017. Read more

M2M Requirements Changing OS Selection Criteria

Embedded devices and systems have permeated where we live, where we work, how we travel, and the way we communicate. There are billions of devices shipping on an annual basis, spanning various applications that can include high availability, safety-critical, and security requirements. Historically, many of these types of devices would have limited resources with respect to processor performance, memory, and connectivity - creating islands of technology and disconnected data.  Read more

The U.S. Approach to Data Privacy is Better for Big Data

by Daniel Mandell | 03/22/2013

Big Data produced by our M2M world (and harvested from its inhabitants) has become immensely valuable in driving innovation, amplifying productivity/efficiency and encouraging growth. Such value cannot bear without compromise, and such is prevalent with globally diverse regulations of data privacy and control. In light of recent European litigation surrounding Google and the “Right to be Forgotten”, the topic has been rekindled in the United States where data privacy is moderated in a much-looser fashion. Read more

4 Reasons Tizen is Bad News for Android

bada. LiMo. Maemo. Moblin. MeeGo. At one time or another, these Linux-based mobile platforms were expected to have a significant impact on the smartphone market. In each case, however, potential and promise never became reality. Some were abandoned, some were merged. Partner organizations came and went. OEMs changed course. I’m not sure Apple or Google even noticed, let alone cared. Read more

The Next big Thing in Smart Phones is LITTLE

Last week, Samsung unveiled its latest Galaxy S4 Smartphone. The first wave of news indicated that it would be powered by Samsung’s new 8-core Exynos 5 octa processor. This is exciting to us because it represents one of the first commercial rollouts of the ARM big.LITTLE technology. Samsung intends to sell the Exynos 5 to other device makers as well. These types of processors although targeted for use in high-end mobile devices, may find M2M and embedded market traction as well because of the many functions that are included and the technology that balances processor speed and power consumption. Read more

Expect Quick Response to MISRA C: 2012

by Andre Girard | 03/19/2013

Yesterday, the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association (MISRA) announced the availability of MISRA C: 2012, an important update to the software development standard for the C programming language. Beyond providing support for the C99 version of C, the improvements also aim to reduce the cost and complexity required to achieve compliance. Read more

Is Yahoo’s Collaboration Strategy Flawed? M2M & People Play Key Roles

Based on my experience, there is a point to Marissa Meyer’s new policy at Yahoo. Collaboration can indeed happen when people work in a same physical area. When I worked as a product support engineer back in the late 90’s, our team would take calls from field engineers as the second tier of customer support. There was countless times where the team members would overhear a conversation from a person on a call and offer assistance because they had a good idea about what the problem was. If anything, the challenge back then was proving to people that collaboration could happen without everyone in the same space.  Read more

Big Data Identity Crisis: Business Intelligence or Business Analytics?

by Daniel Mandell | 02/26/2013

The proliferation of “Big Data” technology has shifted the fundamentals of business intelligence to a more prospective view. This change in concept, however, has failed to maintain a common definition throughout businesses across the world. The distinction between Business Intelligence (BI) and Business Analytics (BA) is becoming increasingly blurred, and will worsen with the maturation of Big Data.  Read more

VDC Initiating Coverage on SMARC Embedded COMs

Supplier interviews for VDC’s 2013 Embedded Hardware Service for Embedded Products are currently underway. As a result of a recent SGET (Standardization Group for Embedded Technologies) announcement, we will now be including SMARC as a separate form factor in VDC’s embedded COMs report. SMARC, formerly known as ULP-COM, comprises a Kontron-proposed SGET standard for ultra low power COMs. In 2013, Kontron has announced the release of 3 new SMARC products utilizing one of Freescale, TI, or NVidia ARM-based processors.  Read more

Mentor Graphics acquires automotive unit from MontaVista Software

In case you missed it, Mentor Graphics announced this past Thursday that it had acquired the automotive business unit of MontaVista Software. The MontaVista Automotive Technology Platform was the centerpiece of the deal, which gives Mentor Graphics a robust automotive solution that also includes its Linux- and Android-based automotive infotainment platform and the Sourcery CodeBench development suite.  Read more

Will Cloud Based Virtualization Solve Sony’s PS3 - PS4 Platform Migration?

This week, Sony announced some details for the next generation of the Playstation 3 (PS 3) game system. The new product will be called the Playstation 4 (PS 4) which makes sense because once you build a brand, you do not want to create confusion or disruptions with your customer base. From a technical perspective brand continuity is not as easily accomplished while making significant architecture changes between platform models.  Read more

Can Ubuntu Make a Splash in Mobile?

by Daniel Mandell | 01/22/2013

The start of the new year kicked off with an announcement that another open source mobile operating system will be coming to market… but this one is truly unique. The provider of one of the most popular Linux-based desktop operating systems, Canonical, recently announced a distinctive smartphone interface for its Ubuntu operating system. Aside from Android, open source platforms have had a checkered history with limited success in the smartphone environment (e.g. Openmoko, LiMo, MeeGo, webOS).  Read more

Advancing Embedded Medical Technology: Microsemi Radio for Implantable Devices

Microsemi Corporation recently announced the release of a medical network radio link that can be used in a variety of implantable medical technology. The ZL70102 radio transceiver chip enables high data rate radio frequency link that provides improvements over existing technology. Traditionally, medical OEMs had to utilize inductive link technology that was placed in close proximity to the implanted device and had slow data rates. The ZL70102 transceiver chip’s wider operating range also eases the burden of remote monitoring. Read more

Have Embedded Computing Systems Found a Home in Consumers’ Homes?

This is not to say that embedded computing products are not already found in the typical home. To be quite clear, embedded microcontrollers are used in almost every new appliance that has any type of display, or has features beyond the lowest cost bare-bones models. Embedded computing modules and integrated systems, however, are generally not found in the home, as they are much more expensive than functionally-comparable consumer products. Furthermore, embedded computing products are usually designed with ruggedized, but aesthetically plain, enclosures. Read more

Is Huawei’s New Device the M2M Equivalent of 3M’s Post-it Note?

We just saw a review about Huawei’s new Ascend Mate SmartPhone that features a 6.1” touchscreen, and it was far from positive. In summary, CNN Money’s Adrian Covert found the Huawei product’s market placement to be in the less than ideal “Phablet” zone between phone and tablet. We agree with Adrian in one area, it is probably not an ideal size for a phone. But, at the same time, we believe this class of mobile product can possibly experience the same type of success as 3M’s well known Post-It product. Read more