25 posts categorized "Embedded Engineer Population"


IoT Necessitates Changes in Both People and Technology

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

Register here:



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


M2M World Congress – London – Highlights from Day 1 of 2

VDC’s CEO Mitch Solomon is participating in M2M World Congress (one of the industry’s larger M2M-centric conferences) this week in London, and sent in the following post from the field.

First off, the event is oversold and is standing room only, a testament to building interest in M2M (…and perhaps the strong promotional efforts of its producer).  The day consisted of roughly a dozen presentations and panels, covering a broad landscape of topics.  Speakers were largely from major wireless carriers, primarily European.  Below are a few key insights (…derived from a much longer list), just hours after the last session of the day:

All speakers believe the much-anticipated M2M future has arrived, and they see rapid scaling in their business (as measured by M2M SIM card sales and deployments).  Most M2M business leaders within large mobile network operators are carrying aggressive growth targets (handed down from corporate), as their companies look to M2M to drive growth that far exceeds what can be achieved in their established voice and data businesses.

The words “complexity” and “challenges” were used almost as much as “the” and “it” during the course of the day.  The difficulties associated with actual M2M deployments were widely acknowledged, often in the same breath as the notion of how large the opportunity is.  Clever solutions to the biggest M2M deployment challenges were elusive (understandably, as silver bullets are usually are hard to come by), though familiar suggestions like “test, test, and re-test” and “standards can help” and “pilot first, then expand” were offered up. 

The only word used more than “complexity” and “challenges” was…”partner.”  Which makes sense.  It often takes partnerships to solve complex technical problems such as M2M applications.  Every carrier was touting its partnerships, some of which extend geographic coverage while others deliver value-added software and services beyond connectivity.  This is the age of M2M promiscuity, as everyone tries to seduce everyone else lest someone be left on the dance floor alone.

For a myriad of reasons, the discussions were largely focused on technology and vendor strategies (particularly carriers’) instead of OEM use cases and customer benefits (…something many audience members were a bit frustrated by).  Some attempts by panel members to address questions related to devices and OEM use cases were made, and some light was shed.  Overall, however a clear impression was made that senior people with M2M on their business cards are still working their own way up the learning curve (like many others in the industry) when it comes to specific examples of how M2M-based applications can benefit their OEM customers.  This knowledge gap could be indicative of carriers and/or senior leaders at carriers being one or two steps removed from OEMs’ application development efforts, rather than a deficiency in an expected area of expertise.

With the second and final day of the event tomorrow, my hope is that panel members will share more about how OEMs are approaching, evaluating, designing, and deploying M2M based systems.  Discussions of the supporting business cases would be particularly valuable.  If so, it will cap off a very worthwhile two days of M2M immersion in London.


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.


Embedded Engineering Job Market Improving

Here is an interesting chart compiled from VDC’s embedded engineering survey from the last three years.  The 2008 / 2009 recession and unpredictable economy caused many OEMs to lower spending by reducing development staffs and delaying or canceling project starts. This situation clearly created a grim perception of the health of the job market for many embedded engineers in 2009.
Fast forward two years.  An improving economy and new project starts at OEMs has embedded engineers feeling more positive on the health of the job market.

HealthThis type 0f 2011 survey data and more will be available from our Track 2, Embedded System Engineering Survey Data series of syndicated reports which are scheduled for publication in August 2011. Give us a call if you want to know more about the embedded engineer survey or our 2011 Embedded Software and Tools Market Intelligence Service or click here for additional information.


Growing Need for Hardware/Software (PLM/ALM) Co-Design Management Tools

In many cases, the current landscape of development solutions available to the engineering community evolved to address specific engineering challenges that were typically associated with just as specific engineering roles (this dynamic is especially true in embedded engineering organizations). Increasingly, however, the complexity of today’s systems is driving the communication and collaboration between once discrete domains.

As many of you know, tool vendors supporting software and system lifecycle management have been evangelizing this idea for more than a decade. This integration, however, has mostly been between different tools geared specifically at different software development tasks.

Going forward, we anticipate that more organizations will begin trying to take this strategy to the next level by enhancing integrations between different engineering domains (software, hardware, mechanical, silicon, etc.) in order to promote any potential operational efficiencies as well as more comprehensive, high level management of the systems at large. We also believe that the growing importance – and commoditization – of software components is also amplifying this trend as more organizations look for proven methods (such as PLM) for improving management and visibility into their software supply chain. 
PTC’s planned acquisition of MKS as well as that by Dassault of Geensys in 2010 underscores this movement of solution vendors looking beyond their native engineering domain into new disciplines. Some source/change/configuration (SCCM) tools, for example, are already used for RTL (Register Transfer Level) and hardware design so the extension of the products to address mechanical and BOM components is not beyond reason, especially as more organizations look for greater visibility into their engineering processes and for ways to maximize asset reuse across their development projects/products. Whereas many engineering organizations are not yet at a stage where they are currently embracing high levels of PLM and ALM/SSLM integration, our research does indicate that many organizations have already begun evaluating it.


Within the embedded domain in particular, we also believe that the ability to manage engineering across multiple domains concurrently will become increasingly critical going forward. Given the compartmentalized and often serial nature of embedded system development, tools that can help organizations accelerate and parallelize as many workflow design tasks as possible (i.e. enable more software development work to be conducted in advance of the finalized hardware designs) should help them make further progress in addressing the shrinking time-to-market windows and project schedules that are becoming a staple of device development.

VDC explores this topic among other industry trends in further detail within its recently published report, Source/Change/Configuration Management Tools, the fourth volume from its Software and System Lifecycle Management Tool research program.


Related Posts:
• The Next Domain in Systems Modeling
• Dassault Systèmes Acquires Geensoft


Embedded World Bulletin – March 2011

VDC attended the 2011 embedded world Exhibition & Conference in Nuremberg, Germany March 1st through 3rd. This bulletin presents a summary of the event.

This is the second time VDC Research has attended embedded world and, according to the show closing report, there were over 800 international exhibiting companies and 19,022 trade visitors. Both represent another year of record numbers of exhibitors and visitors participating in the conference.

Not surprisingly given the conference’s location in Germany, many trade show exhibitors used the venue to highlight a number of automotive announcements and reference designs.  From AUTOSAR to infotainment stacks, it was clear that this rebounding industry held particular traction among conference attendees.

Beyond just the automotive market, however, the conference offered an overall atmosphere and buzz of excitement and interest, a dynamic that has been somewhat lacking from many industry events in recent years.  Although the German economy remains stronger than that of many other geographic areas, we expect and hope that this conference’s momentum will carry over to the upcoming Embedded Systems Conferences and spell continued success for the embedded industry at large on the heels of the recent global recession.

The complete press release and more information & downloads for embedded world can be found here.



Best of Show

VDC awards our software “Embeddy” best of show to Esterel Technologies for their announcement of SCADE System and SCADE Lifecycle.  We believe that the addition of SCADE System, which targets SysMLEsterel Embeddie based development, will become an increasingly valuable piece of Esterel’s portfolio as a growing percentage of engineering teams attempt to generate higher level designs of entire embedded systems, beyond just the control application modeling that Esterel Studio has been used for historically.  Additionally, the company also announced SCADE Lifecycle, which will serve as the main platform driving integrations between Esterel’s products as well as other lifecycle management solutions such as requirements management tools, for which it announced the availability of SCADE LifeCycle Requirements Management Gateway. 

Horable Mention 

Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Embedded Compact 7.  In recognition of the growing requirement across embedded device classes for advance used interfaces, the release of Compact 7 includes the addition Silverlight for Windows Embedded UI Framework, based on Silverlight 3.0, which enables developers to create user interfaces via Microsoft Expression Blend 3 and Windows Embedded Silverlight Tools.  The release also included the platform’s first support for symmetric multiprocessing, which should become increasingly valuable as more OEMs look to incorporate multicore processors into the mobile device designs.




ALT Software announced a large design win at the conference, stating that it had been selected by Singapore-based Anuva Technologies to provide graphics drivers for their new XMC embedded graphics module.

ARM announced the extension of its Keil MDK-Professional tool suite to support development on its Cortex-M series processor IP.  The company also announced a new licensing agreement with Fujitsu Semiconductor that features its Cortex-A15 processor and Mali graphics.

Coverity, GrammaTech, and Klocwork were also all in attendance highlighting their latest announcements regarding their static analysis technologies and attempting to drive further growth in the EMEA region.

Enea featured two announcements that were both focused on multicore technology.  The first highlighted their support for the Multicore Association’s Multicore Communications API with their LINX middleware.  The second announcement introduced their Enea Multicore Migration Platform (MMP), which is intended to ease the migration of legacy applications from unicore to multicore architectures. 

In addition to the extension of ThreadX’s support for Renesas’ Electronics’ RX600 Series 32-bit microcontrollers, Express Logic introduced downloadable application modules for its RTOS that now allow applications to dynamically receive additional instructions from local mass storage or networks, thus reducing the need to increase software footprint or memory on the end device.

Green Hills Software had several announcements in concert with the conference.  On March 1st, the company announced that its INTEGRITY real-time operating system has been optimized for the Power Architecture Variable Length Encoded (VLE) Instruction Architecture, which is used within the Freescale Qorivva Power Architecture automotive microcontrollers.  The company also launched the Green Hills Platform for Smart Energy, which positions their runtime, development tools, and professional services solutions for this growing sector.

Software and system lifecycle management solution vendor LDRA was also in attendance and featured two announcements, the first of which highlighted enhancements to its TBmanager tool aimed at providing greater traceability and transparency of tests and test plans across the development team and development cycle.  Their second announcement focused on the addition of support for the IEC 61508 and IEC 61508:2010 functional safety standards in which the LDRA tool suite now automatically checks compliance and provides a mechanism for generating automated documentation.

McObect exhibited at the conference and highlighted the use of their XtremeDB and Perst embedded databases across a range of embedded systems.

MKS, which counts automotive OEMs as their leading vertical market customer segment, was also in attendance and featured their Integrity software and system lifecycle management solution.

Oracle also exhibited at the conference, highlighting the use of its Java solutions for embedded and mobile systems development.

Pentek was in attendance and announced enhancements to its ReadyFlow board support package for its Cobalt, Xlinx Virtex-6 based, FPGA module family with the intent of speeding its customers overall embedded system development.

Programming Research (PRQA) announced the addition of a new dataflow analysis module to its flagship QA·C and QA·C ++ toolsets that includes a Satisfiability Modulo Theories (SMT) solver engine.

Real-time Systems also used the embedded world conference as a venue to highlight their flagship solutions, which include a real-time hypervisor as well as an IEEE 1588 software stack solution.

EDA vendor Synopsys highlighted four different announcements over the course of the exhibition: the support of PCI Express 3.0 by its DesignWare IP, the introduction of Proteus LRC for lithography verification, the availability of a HAPS-600 High Capacity FPGA-Based Prototyping Solution, and their collaboration with Xlinx to product a methodology manual for the FPGA-Based Prototyping of SoC Designs.

SYSGO announces today the release of version 3.2 of its PikeOS, which extends SMP support from x86 to ARM, PowerPC and SPARC architectures and also includes a new SMP capable Linux Personality, performance improvements, and many enhancements in tools.

Wind River announced a 64-bit version of it VxWorks RTOS, updated certification evidence for the industrial IEC 61508 standard as well as the extension of its On-Board program to a number of new partners.

Other leading embedded systems exhibitors included, Adacore, dSPACE, ETAS, Elektrobit, HP, IBM Rational, IAR, Inchron, Intel, Kontron, LynuxWorks, Polarion, QA Systems, Quadros, QNX, Texas Instruments, Vector Informatik, Willert Software Tools, and many, many others.


VDC Research Group (VDC) is a technology market research and strategy consulting firm that advises clients in a number of technology markets including: Embedded Software and Tools, Automatic Identification and Data Collection, Embedded Hardware and Systems, Industrial Automation and Control, Mobile and Wireless, and Power Conversion and Control. Using rigorous primary research and analysis techniques, the firm helps its clients identify, plan for, and capitalize on current and emerging market opportunities. We strive to deliver exceptional value to our clients by leveraging the considerable technical, operational, educational and professional experience of our research and consulting staff. During our nearly four decades of ongoing operation, we have had the pleasure of serving most of the world’s leading technology companies, many high-profile start-ups, and numerous blue-chip early and later stage investors. Our products and services consist of research reports, annual research programs, and custom research and consulting services. Founded in 1971, the firm is located in the Boston area. Please visit our Web site at www.vdcresearch.com to learn more.

The Embedded Systems Industry Bulletin is published as part of VDC’s Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service. VDC has been providing embedded systems market intelligence for over 20 years.

Published by VDC Research Group, Copyright 2011, all rights reserved.


What is the primary role of a software engineer?

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.

So what is the primary role of a software engineer? The fact is that engineers today who consider themselves to be software engineers are responsible for working a number various tasks within the development project that would not be associated with software engineering. This speaks to the multi-discipline approach to project development where team members are no longer stovepipe in one aspect of development or another but need to be well versed and prepared to work on multiple tasks.

Tasks Involved in on the Current Project for Software Engineers

(Percent of Respondents)


As you might imagine, this situation is similiar for all types of engineers ( project managers, system architect/engineers, hardware and test engineers, etc.) working a development project – all are expected to be responsible to work different tasks within the development project 

How does your experience as a software engineer working development projects stack up? Let us know through your feedback.

Our recently published report, Embedded System Engineer, from Track 2 of VDC's 2010 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.

This is the blog post based on data collected from VDC’s 2010 Embedded Engineer Survey. We will continue to share survey highlights with our readers’ over the next few weeks so stay tuned!


Vertical Market Embedded Systems Market Statistics

VDC is preparing to launch research for a series of reports providing insight into the dynamics of different embedded vertical markets.  Reports will be published highlighting the following industries:

· Automotive/Rail/Transportation

· Consumer Electronics

· Industrial Automation/Energy/Power

· Medical

· Military/Aerospace

· Mobile phones

· Retail Automation/Digital Signage

· Telecom/Datacom

So what insights and statistics will be provided in these individual vertical market reports?

· Global number of embedded system project starts

· Global number and types of embedded system engineer

· Total Market for Embedded Software Engineering (TAM)

o    Total OEM Spend on Commercial Embedded Software and Tools

o    Total OEM Spend on Engineering Labor

· Statistics on engineering projects, technology use, solution selection, and developer preferences, among other factors

· Analysis of other leading business and technological trends affecting these industries

Please let us know if you have any questions on this research.  More information can be found here.


Tapping into the Next Phase of Linux's Growth

A recent study from the Kauffman Foundation stated that from 1977 to 2005 firms within the first year of their founding generated nearly three million new jobs per year within the United States.  In the engineering world, new jobs mean new project starts and new development seats.  While entrenched tools and development processes can make it difficult – and costly – to capture mindshare and R&D spend from mature organizations, these fledging engineering firms are proving to be an incubator and launching pad for new technologies and trends.


It is no secret that over the last ten years Linux has steadily extended its presence within the embedded market, altering the dynamics of the market and fate of commercial software vendors in the process.  Although debates around Linux and its value in the embedded market often seem to turn to disputes bordering on religion, its decade-long ascension has now provided it an unassailable position within engineering organizations as a leading operating system choice for both host and target systems.

Os co size host blog

Research from our recently completed 2010 Embedded System Engineering Survey has shed further light on these emerging trends.  Not only is Linux’s (both public and commercially supplied) use as a host and target OS increasing in embedded projects, but there is also a distinct correlation between the use of the platform as a host and target OS in current projects as well as across the migration plans for respondent engineers’ future plans.


While the directional trending of these statistics might not be a huge surprise, this next facet provides them with even greater weight – the use of Linux as a host operating system within small engineering companies (less than 50 engineers) is outpacing that within mid- and enterprise-size organizations.  What perhaps makes the future impact of this trend even more acute is the fact that these smaller firms are embracing public Linux in an even greater frequency.  Although cash flow considerations are certainly influencing the use of public Linux in some small companies, the increasing use of the platform will continue to help drive the development of the Linux ecosystem as well as the level of in-house expertise and software assets supporting the platform within growing organizations.


Clearly, software and tool vendors should take notice of these emerging market dynamics and reevaluate the current positioning of their products, services, and partnerships in order to maxmize mind share within these smaller organizations and potentially channel and/or redirect this market momentum in their favor.

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