Press Release  


Eugene Won
Senior Director of Marketing & Client Services
VDC Research
(508) 653-9000, ext.122

IoT & Embedded Operating System Vendors Face Consolidation,
According to New Research by VDC

Pressure Increasing from Free Alternatives and Silicon-Integrated Platforms

NATICK, MA | November 29, 2016 - VDC Research has released a new report estimating that the market for IoT & embedded operating systems is expected to grow at a relatively sluggish, 5-year CAGR of 2% through 2020. The study, entitled The Global Market for IoT & Embedded Operating Systems 2016, quantifies and qualifies market dynamics by vendor, industry, region, and OS type. It also includes an in-depth discussion of recent mergers and acquisitions, end-user trends, and vendor strategy.

IoT & Embedded Operating System Vendors Face Period of Consolidation due to Pressure from Free Alternatives and Silicon-Integrated Platforms


Although embedded operating systems serve as a foundational piece of the software stacks that ship in billions of new devices every year, the embedded OS is losing its standalone commercial value due to pressure from free, open source projects. OS vendors need to find new ways to differentiate in order to combat declining pricing power and lower demand for commercially-licensed products.

“The embedded OS will not lose its importance as the foundation of the entire software stack, but it will lose its value when disintegrated and sold separately from that stack.” - Roy Murdock, IoT & Embedded Technology Research Associate at VDC Research.

Free and/or publicly available, open source operating systems such as Debian-based Linux, FreeRTOS, and Yocto-based Linux continue to lead new stack wins, with nearly half of surveyed embedded engineers expecting to use some type of free, open source OS on their next project. The prevalence of commercially obtained, non-open source operating systems continues to decline, albeit slowly, with only 1 in 5 embedded engineers citing usage as a primary operating system on their current project.

Frequent acquisitions and restructurings are adding volatility to the market as companies across both the hardware and software landscape navigate the challenges of producing, marketing, and selling IoT-enabled products.

“In the long term, the IoT services platform will be the key combination of integrated products with a connected device-focused business model that will allow the successful IoT & embedded vendors to thrive,” says Murdock, a Research Associate at VDC Research. “Tightly, vertically-integrated portfolios that span hardware, software, and services will shorten time to market while providing vendors with a steady and reliable revenue stream from a growing number of connected devices. Independent software vendors need to think long and hard about positioning and partnerships as market forces push vendors towards this new paradigm.”

About VDC Research
Founded in 1971, VDC Research provides in-depth insights to technology vendors, end users, and investors across the globe. As a market research and consulting firm, VDC’s coverage of AutoID, enterprise mobility, industrial automation, and IoT and embedded technologies is among the most advanced in the industry, helping our clients make critical decisions with confidence. Offering syndicated reports and custom consultation, our methodologies consistently provide accurate forecasts and unmatched thought leadership for deeply technical markets. Located in Natick, Massachusetts, VDC prides itself on its close personal relationships with clients, delivering an attention to detail and a unique perspective that is second to none.



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