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. However, VDC also believes that the expectations of engineers are not always indicative of future adoption, as exhibited by the projected use of virtualization by 2008 survey respondents.
When considering these respondents segmented by vertical market, engineers developing mobile phones have exhibited the highest rate of use of MEV solutions, and the expected usage nearly doubled when looking forward to a future project. This rate of adoption is among the factors driving the success of leading mobile virtualization provider Open Kernel Labs and was likely one of the key determinants influencing Red Bend Software’s decision to enter this market through the acquisition of VirtualLogix. Furthermore, the potential opportunities within the market for mobile virtualization have re-stimulated the interest of enterprise/IT virtualization leader VMware, who recently announced a partnership with Samsung around the integration of VMware solutions within Samsung mobile devices.
Beyond mobile phones, engineers developing retail automation devices and consumer electronics represented the next highest level of adoption, while telecom/datacom and medical device developers exhibited high potential for future growth. However, VDC does not believe that MEV revenue growth will be limited to these areas. Because the potential benefits of virtualization can differ from industry to industry, solution providers may simply need to dedicate more resources toward the education of embedded engineers in order to stimulate growth in other areas.