The requirements of the devices composing the Internet of Things are changing rapidly. The embedded market no longer consists of dedicated-purpose devices that may or may not be connected. Engineering organizations and deploying enterprises must now design scalable system topologies that can integrate new devices and adapt to the IoT’s evolution. While these next-generation systems are required to facilitate downstream device/node management as well as efficient upstream data transfer and analytics, they must also do so dynamically, allowing for more intelligence and flexibility in node role and workloads within sub-network architectures.
This recognition of a need for change in legacy technologies can already be seen in the shift in programming languages used by embedded engineers. In the past five years, the percentage of engineers using Java in the embedded market has more than doubled. Embedded industry stalwarts such as C will certainly maintain a substantial footprint going forward given the existing software assets and expertise at OEMs, but the results confirm that the market is rapidly looking to new and/or multi-language development to satisfy the requirements of next-generation projects.
IoT Skill Set Gap Exacerbated by Existing Embedded Resource Gap
The existing embedded engineering resources unfortunately cannot keep pace with the IoT’s time-to-market and content creation requirements. Already this community has been struggling to meet the needs of pre-IoT development projects. Now, the industry is faced with a dynamic in which not only does it need more efficiency, but the existing population of embedded engineers also cannot scale organically to meet the new software content creation requirements. Today, there are just over 1 million embedded engineers globally, with only 35% of that community holding software engineering-specific primary roles. In order to adapt to the new IoT development demands and respond to this dearth of traditionally skilled resources, OEMs must look to new labor pools.
The global Java community, which is estimated to consist of approximately 9 million developers, offers an opportunity to draw upon an increasingly relevant labor and expertise pool. The value of traditional embedded engineering skill sets has already been partially devalued due to IoT system evolution. Now, knowledge of connectivity stacks and UI development often must be placed at a premium over skills such as footprint optimization. Furthermore, technology like Java’s virtual machines create an abstraction layer that can reduce hardware dependencies and the subsequent rework and optimization that would have previously required more traditional embedded firmware engineers. Despite the already rapid adoption of Java (by embedded standards), we believe that the impending blurring of the distinction between embedded and IT Java developers will reinforce the technology’s adoption and relevance going forward. The wide access to the existing ecosystem of Java tools and third-party software, combined with a growing embedded partner ecosystem spanning semiconductor/IP companies, tool, and hardware/system manufacturers will no doubt further reduce switching costs and any lingering reservations held within many embedded industries.
We will be exploring the business and technical impact of the IoT in a webcast tomorrow with Oracle:
Date: Thursday, June 19, 2014
Time: 9:30 AM PDT, 12:30 PM EDT, 17:30 GMT
Join this webcast to learn about:
- Driving both revenue opportunities and operational efficiencies for the IoT value chain
- Leveraging Java to make devices more secure
- How Java can help overcome resource gaps around intelligent connected devices
- Suggestions on how to better manage fragmentation in embedded devices