Press Release  


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

IoT and Embedded Operating Systems Market to Reach 11.1B Units by 2021, According to VDC Research
Amazon, Automotive, and Open Source are Three Key Developments

NATICK, MA | January 25, 2018 - The focus in the IoT and embedded operating systems (OS) market is shifting rapidly towards unit shipment wins as revenue for traditional, licensed operating systems faces increasing pressure from free competition, according to a new report by VDC Research entitled The Global Market for IoT & Embedded Operating Systems 2017 (click here for more information). Global unit shipments of IoT and embedded OSs, including free/non-commercial OSs, will grow to reach 11.1B units by 2021, driven primarily by ECU-targeted RTOS shipments in the automotive market, and free Linux installs on higher-resource systems. After accounting for systems with no OS, a bare-metal OS, or an in-house developed OS, the total yearly units shipped will grow beyond 17B units in 2021.

VDC’s findings indicate that unit growth will be driven primarily by free and low-cost operating systems such as Amazon FreeRTOS, Express Logic ThreadX, and Mentor Graphics Nucleus on constrained devices, along with free, open source Linux distributions for resource-rich embedded systems.

With Amazon’s entrance into the IoT and embedded OS market by taking stewardship of the popular FreeRTOS operating system, Amazon continues its tradition of moving aggressively into mature, low-margin markets. “By offering a free, robust OS for the billions of MCUs that ship yearly, AWS is lowering the barrier to entry substantially for low-level embedded developers to take advantage of cloud storage, sync, analytics, and control,” said Roy Murdock, IoT & Embedded Technology Analyst at VDC Research. “AWS will now control a substantial portion of RTOS/MCU-level developer attention and mindshare, assets which resource-rich engineering companies will need to control in order to ensure long term success,” explained Murdock.

IoT and Embedded Operating Systems Market to Reach 11.1B Units by 2021, According to VDC Research

Engineers expect to move away from traditional commercial OSs slowly, with commercially or consortia obtained open source also expected to see a slight uptick in adoption but not as fast as free, open source OSs. “Commercial vendors are slowly being squeezed by free offerings from both the hardware and software side, and will now need to contend with an Amazon-funded FreeRTOS,” said Murdock. “Vendors with strong footholds in safety-critical verticals will be somewhat sheltered from the migration, but the trend towards free, open source is quite clear.”

The full market report examines the market for IoT and embedded operating systems, quantifying and qualifying 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.

Click here for more information on this research.

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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