12 posts categorized "Embedded Device Shipments"


Android to Transform Medical Device Market

In an increasingly mobile environment infused with continual technological innovation, OEMs are considering new platforms to develop embedded systems. While there are various platforms to choose from, Android has emerged as the foundation of many new embedded systems. It boasts natural advantages compared to other operating systems – iOS, Blackberry, and Windows to name a few – such as its robust open source user-interface, integrated connectivity, and royalty-free licensing, which can minimize cost and provide OEMs flexibility as they try to fit technology to specific industry needs.

Emerging tools in the medical space mark the potential innovation Android can bring to health care. New diagnostic methods and software systems in mHealth (mobile health) help medical care become more accessible to consumers. Android provides a flexible environment for developers and integrated connectivity between devices, making it a preferable tool in mHealth. Android-based applications can perform various functions, from simple tasks such as keeping track of medication schedules to more advanced measurement capabilities. Consumers can attach different add-ons to their Android devices and track vitals in real-time, from blood pressure and glucose level assessments to even ultrasound imaging.

OEMs can further streamline healthcare by creating embedded systems that perform multiple functions. Rather than switch between individual add-ons to test blood pressure and glucose level, doctors would be able to use a single device and even track results that can be shared to all of the user’s Android devices. Android systems provide great user interfaces and connectivity, two key parameters OEMs are considering in developing new medical devices. Although smartphones and tablets comprise of most of the current Android market share, medical devices exhibit the highest predicted growth at 71.7% annually.

While medical devices are a prime use-case for Android, the market is still in its infancy. OEMs remain reluctant to redesign systems to run Android (or any new OS) as it often requires considerable customization. Decisions by Google and other key market participants will also hold an influence and shape the growth of Android as a software solution.

Beyond the medical space, Android OS is expanding into other markets such as connected car systems and situational awareness systems. To better understand more specific drivers of Android adoption in the medical space and others, please read through the report's executive brief. The full report, Android in the Embedded Systems Market, discusses global market trends, device class forecasts, and important insights about ecosystem participants and end-users.

by Howard Wei


Embedded/Real-time Operating System Market - Uneven Growth in 2011 – Slower Growth Expected Over the Forecast Period

In 2011, growth in the market was uneven and the rate of growth below what VDC had forecasted from last year. Suppliers in the market expressed mixed views on the state of the market in 2011 and the challenges they faced during the course of the year.

VDC estimates that the market for embedded/real-time operating systems was greater than $1 billion in 2011, an increase of slightly more that 5% from a revised 2010 estimate. Over the forecast period we expect this market segment to grow at a combined annual rate of less than 6% per year through 2014.

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OEMs have been affected by the global economy where companies have reduced staff, yet productivity expectations are increasing – doing more with less. The economic uncertainty tends to drive lower project costs (hardware consolidation, hardware platform choices, free tools and software, etc.) and cause project delays or cancellations.

VDC expects that the fast changing pace of technology and new functionality demands will continue to affect OEM decisions in a move to commercially available software platforms creating growth opportunities.

Our recently published report, Volume 1: Embedded/Real-time Operating Systems, from Track 2 of VDC's Strategic Insights 2012: Embedded Software Market and Tools Market provide additional insight and trends affecting the Embedded/Real-time Operating System market. Please contact us for more information.



Converged Devices Cannibalizing Sales of Stand-alone Consumer Electronics Devices

But also driving the transition to multicore processors

The consumer electronics industry continues to foster a wide variety of innovations that bring cutting-edge technologies to the mainstream. Mounting demand for internet connectivity, inter-device communication, and device mobility have been the key factors driving this innovation. From televisions and set-top boxes to digital cameras and video gaming systems, the ability to access and share content via the web has become one of consumers’ primary device requirements. Similarly, growing interest in device mobility has fueled momentum behind handheld devices such as portable gaming systems, e-readers, and portable media players.

More than ever, today’s consumer electronics products are capable of serving a wide range of functions. Video game systems can play DVDs and Blu-rays, tablet computers can be used to play music, videos, and games, digital televisions and set-top boxes function as web browsers and media hubs, and so on. In many instances, this convergence of device capabilities has led to surges in demand for certain application classes while cannibalizing sales of others. Mobile phones have frequently been at the center of this phenomenon, as the growth of the smartphone market has in part come at the expense of digital cameras, stand-alone GPS devices, mp3 players, and other single-function products.

VDC believes this trend of device convergence is likely the primary determinant driving the growing adoption of multicore processors in this market, a topic which VDC has been following for a number of years. Clearly, single processor-based consumer electronics devices are on the decline, according to respondents to VDC’s annual Embedded Engineering Survey:

While multiprocessor designs exhibited the largest increase from 2010 to 2011, VDC expects that multicore will ultimately represent the primary architecture embraced by engineers in this space, particularly those developing devices with a broad range of capabilities. However – as VDC has noted in the past – the key question remains: how quickly will this transition take place?

VDC investigates this and other vertical market specific trends from across the embedded landscape in our upcoming report, Vertical Markets & Applications, from our 2011 Embedded Software & Tools Market Intelligence Service. This study will provide an analysis of individual vertical market standards, trends, current and emerging practices, and analysis of select applications within the following vertical markets:

  • Automotive/rail/transportation
  • Consumer electronics
  • Industrial automation
  • Medical devices
  • Military/aerospace
  • Mobile phones
  • Office/business automation
  • Retail automation
  • Telecom/datacom


Please contact us for more information.


Embedded Project Starts Expected to Increase Year-Over-Year

Every year VDC conducts an extensive worldwide survey of embedded engineers and their development projects to better understand engineering requirements, preferences, and trends. This information is available from VDC in unique cross tabbed reports to offer readers a detailed, in-depth, view of engineers in the development project trenches.

Quite frequently we receive requests from suppliers of the embedded community for statistics around company project starts as this metric is often seen as an important indicator of health and growth for the embedded industry. Based on VDC’s 2011 survey embedded engineers expect about a 15% increase in the aggregate in the number of project starts from 2010 to 2011. Certainly good news for embedded solution providers – both software and hardware.

However, while aggregate survey statistics are metrics of importance to many in the community, segmentation of data creates an additional lens on the information from which to analyze and develop product and marketing strategies. The following data is based on VDC’s 2011 embedded engineer survey and included in our Track 2 Volume 1: Operating Systems report which segments respondent data by the use different types of operating systems in their development projects.  The good news for suppliers is that all communities expect the number of project starts to increase year-over-year, however, engineers working at companies using no formal operating systems in there development project cite a much smaller percentage of increase.

Embedded engineering organizations continue to place value on development projects that do not require a formal operating system primarily around the requirements and functionality of the device/system under development. However, to a lesser extent commercial licensing costs, retraining, and protection of investment in legacy code can also be considerations for continued use of no formal OS in their development projects. The demand for new functionality, connectivity, and other capabilities is creating greater sophistication of devices and systems being developed and to be developed in the future. As such VDC continues to observe a migration of development projects to the use of formal operating systems creating increased opportunity for embedded software suppliers to offer their solutions.

How does your development project stack up? Let us know through your feedback.

Our recently published report, Operating Systems, from Track 2 of VDC's 2011 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service provides additional statistical insight and analysis around this and other trends affecting embedded system development.  Click here for additional information and access to a free executive brief highlighting other key findings from our research.


How would you feel if your new Blu-ray player got a virus?

Probably not very happy.  This may not have been an issue when you got your first VHS player, but it is an unavoidable consequence of the perpetual, ubiquitous connectivity of today’s embedded systems.  Over 50% of respondents in VDC’s 2010 Software and System Development Survey indicated that they expected a project similar to their current one to include a web component within the next two years - a 20% increase over current project values.

Clearly, embedded system engineering no longer implies work on isolated, autonomous systems.  Embedded engineering teams now need to be cognizant of potential security threats, in addition to mitigating possible deterministic, memory, and/or processing requirements.

Today, Wind River, a leading embedded operating system vendor, and McAfee, a leading security solution provider, announced a formal collaboration to develop a tightly integrated security solution for non-PC (embedded) devices.  Although the announcement of this strategic partnership may not be a huge surprise since both companies are now subsidiaries of Intel, we believe that it addresses a growing gap in the marketplace.Security

Although our research indicates that a majority of engineers are at least acknowledging that security could be an issue for their current projects, the jury is still out on how best to ensure it.  Runtime solutions, such as that suggested through Wind River and MacAfee or even a standalone hypervisor used to create a “securely” partitioned guest OS, are one approach; however, we believe that it is equally important for security to be “designed into” the application through the judicious implementation of development and coding standards combined with the use of automated test solutions, such as static analysis tools, to minimize the amount of vulnerable code that could possibly be deployed within an end device.

One thing is for certain, the evolution of embedded and mobile systems is already causing many embedded engineering firms to reevaluate their existing solution sets. 

How has your company changed to address this growing issue?

Stay tuned - VDC will be covering embedded system security as part of our Safety and Security report from our 2011 Embedded Software and Tools Market Intelligence Service.


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ARM A15 to Drive Embedded OSs into the Enterprise

It is now well publicized in the non-tech media that the Intel and ARM IP-based processors are waging a turf war as their once disparate and discrete domains have begun to blur.  ARM, once the underdog primarily relegated to developing its technology for mobile phones, has made significant inroads into a number of embedded verticals as power performance has risen to the top of many OEMs requirements as a function of the ubiquitous trend toward mobility.

As ARM’s product roadmap has continued to target larger, more sophisticated devices and Intel, drawn by the allure of high unit shipments, has simultaneously begun to retarget embedded and mobile systems, the most obvious battleground has been that for converged devices (i.e. high-end smartphones, MIDs, netbooks, tablets, etc.).  Additionally, although Intel’s lead in the traditional PC market has been largely unchallenged, the growing functionality and use of mobile devices has begun to cannibalize its future growth potential.  The one area where Intel’s dominance had remained largely unassailed was its presence in the IT server market.

ARM’s announcement of the A15 certainly is an overt challenge for the future of this evolving market.  If nothing else, the proliferation of embedded and mobile devices has vastly increased the volume and frequency of information processing between systems and devices, and across the cloud.  The subsequent need for real-time interpretation and analysis of this data is already beginning to tax existing infrastructure.  This looming need for additional server storage and processing power – combined with the growing focus on power efficiency – should present ARM with ample opportunities to gain traction in this domain going forward.  Although it may be years before any ARM IP design wins begin appearing in enterprises in a noticeable frequency, the potential shake-up to the enterprise ecosystem is more intriguing. 

As you might expect, the x86-dominated server market has a relatively conventional landscape of operating systems in use – predominately Windows, Linux, and other UNIX variants.  The embedded market, on the other hand, has a much more heterogeneous set of OS suppliers offering an array of proprietary and open source options.  As a result, the entrance of ARM into the server market might destabilize the competitive dynamic between the operating systems currently used in the domain.  For example, although Microsoft has embedded offerings available for ARM architectures (Windows CE/Mobile/Phone 7), Red Hat and Novell distanced themselves from  the embedded market long ago.  At the same time, however, we have also seen one of the leading embedded real-time OS suppliers (Green Hills Software) begin proactively targeting the enterprise with the announcement of their INTEGRITY Global Security subsidiary.  Will an Intel-owned VxWorks ultimately follow suit (for either x86- and/or ARM-based servers)? Will public/RYO embedded distributions of Linux continue their rate of growth in this new segment?

One thing is for certain, the status quo is losing some of its inertia and ARM is going to do its best to stop it all together.

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No, the OS Market hasn’t Frozen over, but, Yes, Those are all Penguins:

Commercial Mobile OS Suppliers Learning to Co-exist as OEMs Look to Increase Adoption of Open Source Platforms


Today’s mobile devices are more dependent on robust, complex operating systems capable of supporting a diverse ecosystem of new software applications. According to VDC’s recently published report on mobile operating systems, these  and other software  components  play a vital role for OEMs in the differentiation of their mobile devices, as advanced user interfaces, maximized use of hardware capabilities, and other unique user experiences are enabled by these software products.


However, operating system platforms maintained by industry consortia and through other open source projects are becoming increasingly popular in mobile devices, a trend which has impacted commercial suppliers in this market. While the commercial market is dominated by Microsoft, momentum behind consortia-based platforms has driven other commercial suppliers to broaden their product and services portfolio to offer additional support and services for open source platforms in addition to their proprietary offerings. Many of these new services are centered on Android, including Enea’s Android Competence Center, Mentor Graphics’ services and support for Android-based devices, MontaVista’s Rapid Deployment Program for Android, the Wind River Platform for Android, and others.


These product and service offerings are not new initiatives however.  Rather, they are the continuation and evolution of strategies employed by operating system vendors over the past decade. The unrelenting maturation and adoption of open source technologies such as Linux have placed constant pressures on traditional embedded operating system vendor business models and bottom lines.


However the bigger question today is - If few OS vendors could achieve profitability around Linux before Android, can any make money now when there is an even greater reliance on professional services?


VDC explores these and other critical issues within the market for mobile operating systems solutions in the recently released report, Mobile Operating Systems, Volume 3 from Track 1 of VDC’s 2010 Embedded Software and Tools Market Intelligence Service.


Taking a Bite Out of Apple's Playbook

Microsoft Licenses ARM Architecture

What happened?


On July 23rd, ARM (NASDAQ: ARMH) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced that an agreement was signed between both parties and that Microsoft will be an ARM licensee.  In case you missed it there was also an interesting piece in the Business Insider by Jay Yarow on ARM that can be found here.


VDC’s View


Both companies have had a long-term business relationship with Microsoft’s Windows Embedded CE and CE-based operating systems including Windows Mobile/Phone supporting the ARM architecture in device designs. Types of devices in addition to mobile phones include consumer electronics, mobile handheld terminal devices, and others.


Microsoft certainly understands the increasing use of ARM technology and has benefited based on their current operating systems support for various device types on ARM-based technology.  Based on the announcement, VDC ran an analysis of embedded engineer survey data from the past several years to determine what impact and adoption ARM technology has had on development projects - almost double between 2007 and 2010.

Arm Picture 

By licensing ARM IP, Microsoft is in the position to create processors that could be optimized for their embedded/mobile-based software platforms - a situation similar to Apple’s licensing of ARM technology to develop the A4 chip that’s part of the iPad and iPhone4.  This news takes the relationship to a new level with endless speculation around what it might mean since “details of the agreement will remain confidential”.  But let’s put aside the question of who might produce any new processor chip(s).  


Microsoft has many strategic alliances that span the ecosystem of hardware and software and has designed and created numerous products of their own (i.e., Zune, Xbox, etc.). Clearly achieving optimization between the hardware and software is critical to device design and this type of relationship would allow Microsoft to “enhance their research and development activities”.


There is fierce posturing going on within the mobile device segment as companies and industry consortia/foundations battle for the hearts and minds of and adoption by OEMs, carriers, enterprise, consumers, and application developers for their software stack and development toolkit solutions. Acquisitions such as HP acquiring Palm (WebOS) and RIM acquiring QNX Software Systems are important developments in a dynamic market segment that must have competitive analysis groups within these and other organizations working overtime.


There’s the increasing influence of Android within the smartphone segment while companies look to take Android to other device types. There is also the relationship between Intel and Nokia via MeeGo with Linux at the center of the platform and growing expectations of numerous, and what would potentially be high-volume, device shipments with Intel technology.


What this announcement means is hard to say with certainty at this time. There are tough choices ahead for companies, including Microsoft, in a mobile device market that offers tremendous growth opportunities but requires constant scanning of the horizon and over your shoulder.


Stay tuned. VDC will provide additional reporting and analysis on this announcement as more information becomes available.


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More Changes at Microsoft: Bach Stepping Down



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Now Available: Embedded Systems Market Statistics

Embedded Software 2008 Market Intelligence Service
Track 3: Embedded Systems Market Statistics

VDC Research Group is pleased to announce the release of seven reports on embedded systems market statistics, as part its 2008 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service. The statistics are based on detailed Web survey responses from hundreds of embedded developers and VDC’s proprietary embedded systems market statistics model. This model is a tool for estimating and forecasting the global population of embedded engineers, the global number of project starts, and the Total Market for Embedded Software Engineering (TMESE). Each volume focuses on one of the following key vertical markets:

Volume 1: Automotive/Transportation
Volume 2: Consumer Electronics
Volume 3: Industrial Automation
Volume 4: Medical Devices
Volume 5: Military/Aerospace
Volume 6: Mobile Phones
Volume 7: Telecom/Datacom

Research Highlights

Through a combination of modeled estimates and end-user data analysis, each Embedded Systems Market Statistics volume includes but is not limited to the following information:

  • Demographics (Geographic region, primary role, type of product developed, and application type)
  • Key Industry Trends (General market and system engineering trends)
  • Project Statistics (Number of project starts worldwide, average per company, project length, time-to-market, cost of development, percent of cost attributed to software development)
  • Labor Statistics (Number of embedded systems engineers working for embedded systems manufacturers, distribution by engineer type, average number of engineers working on current development projects, average age and years developing embedded systems, annual salary)
  • Solution Statistics (Total spend on commercial embedded software solutions and percentage by product type, average umber of units shipped by company for 2007 and distribution by operating system type, average number of lines of code developed in-house, number of commercial/third-party lines of code, type of operating system used in current project, type of processor used in current design, use of key programming languages, as well as annual tools budget for software/system engineers)
  • Total Market for Embedded Software Engineering (Total spend on commercial products and embedded systems manufacturers labor)

Report Scope

These reports provide key embedded system engineering statistics for seven key vertical markets. These reports rely on information from VDC’s proprietary embedded systems market statistics model. This model is based on information gathered through VDC’s primary and secondary research and includes detailed analysis of our 2008 Embedded Systems Engineering survey.

To access the full version of this brochure as well as other information on these reports, click here.


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