202 posts categorized "Embedded/Real-time and Mobile Application OSs"


QNX Ex-Owner Harman International Acquires Red Bend Software


Harman International is best known as an audio electronics maker, owning numerous brand names targeting consumers and professionals, including AKG, Crown, dbx, Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon, Mark Levinson, and Revel. As old-school “car stereos” have evolved in recent years into multifunction “infotainment systems,” Harman has also become a major player in automotive electronics.

Red_Bend_Logo_HorizontalOn January 22, Harman announced its acquisition for $170 million of Red Bend Software, which is the leading provider of software and services for Firmware Over The Air (FOTA) updating for mobile devices and automobiles. (See press release here.) Harman simultaneously announced its acquisition of software services firm Symphony Teleca, although Red Bend has more interesting implications for IoT.

QNXBack in 2004, Harman had acquired for $138 million QNX Software Systems, developer of the real-time operating system QNX Neutrino, as well as a number of other embedded software solutions which have since become especially popular in the automotive market. Fast forward to 2010 when Harman sold off QNX for $200 million to Research In Motion (RIM, since re-named Blackberry Limited for its line of mobile phones). At the time, Harman said about its sale of QNX, “This move allows Harman to continue its relationship with QNX and the advanced software solutions it provides to Harman and our customers. At the same time, this deal achieves value for all stakeholders and is an important step in a new strengthened relationship with RIM.”

Perhaps Harman’s sale of QNX was influenced by economic conditions during the Great Recession, but it leads us back to Harman’s acquisition of Red Bend, and it raises a few questions:

  • Would Harman have been able to leverage synergy between Red Bend and QNX in the automotive market if it had retained ownership of both? If not, why not? If so, might the value of such synergy have outweighed the gains realized by selling QNX?

  • What value does Harman now see in Red Bend that it no longer saw in QNX?

  • Considering that much of Red Bend’s current business is in the mobile phone industry, does Harman view Red Bend as a stepping stone into that market?

  • What would it take for Harman to believe that a potential future sale of Red Bend might “achieve value” for stakeholders and produce “a new strengthened relationship”?

We‘ll leave these questions for readers to ponder for themselves


VDC Research is attending Embedded World 2015!

Contact us ASAP to schedule a meeting

VDC will be making the trip across the Atlantic again this year to visit the largest embedded technology tradeshow of the year, Embedded World in Nuremberg, Germany. Last year, the conference boasted 26,700 visitors and 856 exhibiting companies!.

While we are at the conference, we welcome the opportunity to meet with attending vendors to learn more about their embedded solutions and any show-related (or other recent) announcements.

You can arrange a meeting time with VDC by contacting us directly.

For meetings contact:

André Girard, Senior Analyst, IoT & Embedded Technology, agirard@vdcresearch.com, 508.653.9000 x153; or
Steve Hoffenberg, Director, IoT & Embedded Technology, shoffenberg@vdcresearch.com, 508.653.9000 x143.

Haven't decided if you're attending Embedded World yet?

Please check out the Embedded World website for more information on the conference program as well as information on all of the companies that will be exhibiting.

We look forward to seeing you at the show!


How Significant is ARM’s mbed OS?

For microcontrollers (MCUs) used in embedded devices, intellectual property supplier ARM is the clear market leader. In a recent forecast for VDC Research’s report “The Global Market for Embedded Processors,” ARM-based MCUs accounted for more than half of the unit shipments using non-proprietary architectures in 2013 (see chart).

MCU Shipments by Architecture

The Cortex-M series is the main line of ARM MCUs, and is the most prevalent architecture used in embedded devices for the IoT. So when ARM announced on October 1 at the TechCon convention and trade show that the company would provide a free operating system—the mbed OS—for the M-series, it created considerable buzz in the industry, as well as some consternation and a bit of confusion.

ARM has been using the mbed name since 2005 for “maker”-style development platforms based on Cortex-M series MCUs, along with a large community of developers and an extensive software library. But the new announcement greatly expands the original mbed concept. The mbed name now encompasses not only the new operating system, but also: a cloud connectivity platform (mbed Device Server); a set of development tools (mbed Tools); and an ecosystem of partners (mbed Partners). Effectively, mbed has become a line of both products and services. ARM says that collectively, mbed will “accelerate Internet of Things deployment.” In this blog post, we’ll focus on the mbed operating system.

The embedded industry is already rife with many dozens of operating systems, ranging from bare bones to fully-featured. These include commercially-licensed binaries (closed source), commercially-licensed open source, free open source, as well as proprietary in-house OSs.

For resource-constrained embedded devices, the free open source offerings have been popular but limited in the extent of their development. Generally, commercially-licensed OSs are more professionally designed, thoroughly tested, and robust.

Several aspects of the mbed OS are noteworthy. First, ARM says that its free OS will be commercial grade. By offering it for free, the mbed OS will compete with some of the commercial embedded OSs already on the market. However, in his keynote speech at TechCon, ARM’s CTO Mike Muller emphasized that the mbed OS will not be a real time operating system (RTOS). Many IoT devices require the time-critical determinism of an RTOS, most notably in safety critical applications such as avionics, automotive systems, factory automation, and the like. The lack of real time functions will limit the breadth of applicability for mbed OS, and the extent to which it will compete with many of the commercial OSs on the market.

Second, ARM said its main intention of releasing the OS along with the mbed Device Server was to ease embedded software development to handle the many security concerns and communications protocols used in IoT, as those are often sticking points for developers not previously experienced with connected devices. Zach Shelby, Directory of Technical Marketing for the ARM’s IoT initiatives, noted that even devices running competing commercial OSs will be able to take advantage of mbed Device Server connectivity services. As Shelby described it, ARM isn’t trying to compete with OS vendors, the company is trying to ensure that IoT developers have adequate support to bring products to market in a timely manner.

Third, although ARM did not mention this in its press information Shelby told VDC that much of the mbed OS source code would be made available as open source. He also said that a few specific software components (such as some security modules) would be released only as binaries, i.e. closed source, which is why the company hasn’t been touting the OS as “open source.”

And fourth, ARM’s announcement only described the mbed OS as being for the M-series MCUs, but Shelby told us that partners will be able to adapt the open source code for ARM’s other series of processors. Indeed, at least one hardware vendor on the show floor was demonstrating a working version of the mbed OS on a Cortex A-series microprocessor. However, the higher performance A-series line is often used with more fully featured operating systems (e.g. Linux), and VDC doesn’t consider it to be a major target for the mbed OS.

All-in-all, VDC believes that the mbed OS will be significant for how it should speed up development for new entrants in the IoT. It probably won’t cause a major upheaval in the broad market for commercial embedded OSs, but a few of the OS vendors at the low end of the market are likely to be adversely impacted.


Controlling In-Vehicle Innovation with IVI Design

Automotive differentiation is no longer driven by gears and grease. Electronic systems now control most aspects of a vehicle’s operation and the software within those systems has risen to account for an increasing share of their functionality and differentiation. Today, software content growth in the automotive industry continues to outpace most other embedded device classes. In no automotive sector is this trend more acute than in IVI.

Ivi ibm

The culture of conservatism, rooted in automotive’s safety-critical requirements, that has traditionally characterized the domain must adapt. The recent financial crisis imposed an unparalleled catalyst for such change. Entire supply chains followed the OEM leads into bankruptcy. The remaining engineering organizations, many of which lacked the level of development resources they had prior to the financial crisis, are being forced to reevaluate their incumbent development processes and tools in an effort to keep pace with the unabated growth in consumer expectations. In many cases, OEMs must be prepared to adopt new software development solutions to adequately address the complexities of UI design and consumer device integration.

VDC will be conducting a live webcast with IBM and Jaguar Land Rover on June 27th to discuss this emerging trend. Attendees will learn:

  • How open source technologies will impact tomorrow's automotive ecosystem
  • Why OEMs need to revisit their supply-chain strategies to promote new levels of collaboration  and innovation
  • What new development solutions should be considered to adapt

When: June 27th, 11:00am ET / 2:00pm PT

Register: http://bit.ly/136NjqJ


VDC to Present Embeddy Awards Live at Design West

Want to see the latest technologies and tricks for embedded engineering? Head to Design West next month in San Jose, CA!

Contact us ASAP to schedule a meeting

VDC will be attending the Design West/ESC conference from Tuesday April 23 through Thursday April 25.

At the show, we will be presenting our 9th annual Embeddy Awards. The winners will be announced Live during Thursday's morning keynote session.

So how can your company win the Embeddy award?

To be considered,

First, fill out this on-line form: http://svy.mk/WU0abA

You must also schedule a meeting with VDC to discuss the announcement that you are making at the show. You can arrange a meeting time with VDC by doing one of the following:

For Software and Tools related meetings

Contact Jared Weiner, Analyst, M2M Embedded Software & Tools at:
jweiner@vdcresearch.com or 508.653.9000 x143.

For Hardware related meetings

Contact David Laing, Senior Analyst, M2M Embedded Hardware Platforms at:
dlaing@vdcresearch.com or 508.653.9000 x146.

Haven't decided if you're attending DESIGN West yet?

Please check out the DESIGN West website for more information on the conference program as well as
information on all of the companies that will be exhibiting. You can also click here to register.

We look forward to seeing you at the show!


Can Ubuntu Make a Splash in Mobile?

The start of the new year kicked off with an announcement that another open source mobile operating system will be coming to market… but this one is truly unique. The provider of one of the most popular Linux-based desktop operating systems, Canonical, recently announced a distinctive smartphone interface for its Ubuntu operating system. Aside from Android, open source platforms have had a checkered history with limited success in the smartphone environment (e.g. Openmoko, LiMo, MeeGo, webOS). Ubuntu faces much uncertainty with many challenges ahead, but its unique positioning and appeal could help it shine in an increasingly competitive and crowded market.

One of the primary goals of Canonical is to provide a unified family of interfaces for phone, PC and television devices utilizing the Ubuntu OS. Best-suited for high-end multicore “superphones,” the Ubuntu phone OS delivers a rich graphical touch interface with a full PC experience when docked with a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Canonical is also providing a free variant of Ubuntu designed to run on Android phones to immediately enter the mobile market. The OS will support web-based HTML5 and native applications.

Ubuntu has a lot of things going for it that past open source OSs did not. First and foremost, Canonical has been very successful in growing Ubuntu’s presence in enterprise desktops and server platforms across the world since its launch in 2004. The company amassed plenty of experience hosting cloud-based services and app stores, a major obstacle for new entrants to the mobile space, and developed a global market presence through leveraging partnerships with leading PC OEMs including ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo. Additionally, application support will be bolstered by Ubuntu’s considerable following of desktop developers and a Webkit made available by Canonical to help migrate applications from the desktop platform.

Though no open source platforms have been able to measure up to Android’s success in the smartphone arena, many network operators and OEMs would like to have an alternate available. They have recognized that the growing duopoly between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android in the market could stifle innovation and give them too much power over industry participants and users themselves. Furthermore, an alternative operating system, like Ubuntu, could help carriers and manufacturers gain a more substantive relationship with smartphone buyers by adding their own branded offerings.

However, Ubuntu faces numerous obstacles in its quest to make a splash in the smartphone OS market. The two biggest concerns, intensely growing competition and a lack of handset provider support, permeate throughout market for mobile operating system providers. The market already accommodates two huge platforms (Android and iOS) and two others with aspirations of greatness (Windows Phone and Blackberry), and that’s just at the top. By the time the first Ubuntu-based handset comes to market at the end of 2013 (earliest), the next versions of Android and iOS will have been deployed, Blackberry 10 will have finally arrived and Microsoft will be soon-updating its own mobile software. Also, Canonical has yet to disclose any commitments by operators or handset manufacturers to support the Ubuntu operating system and few big-name “superphone” OEMs are likely to be willing to risk a high-profile launch with an unproven mobile OS.

A lot will change the landscape in the meantime leading up to Ubuntu’s eventual mobile debut. The OS contains some very innovative and inspiring design ideas, and Canonical boasts unique core strengths that make their operating system truly different from any other open source OS that has crossed the mobile environment. The new OS will have the opportunity to be a significant player in emerging markets, as well as with people already committed to open source. Though more competition would force the pace of innovation to increase, Google and Apple will be heart-pressed to relinquish any market share and will continue to add to and enhance their own platforms in a bid to stay relevant. Demand for an Ubuntu-like platform exists; it’s just a matter of getting past the crowd at the door.


Your Health… There’s an App for That

The advent of the smartphone has inexplicably changed the way we live – including how we take care of our physical selves at home. Such technology is making a number of traditionally hospital-only services and extended their availability to the general public at an affordable cost. Smartphones, combined with a peripheral sensor and mobile application, are capable of measuring temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital parameters. Such solutions make the smartphone a chief contributor to the rising adoption of telehealth systems and away-from-hospital services.

Scandu, a relatively new personalized health electronics company, has developed a product targeted towards fitness enthusiasts, dieters, and data lovers that measures six physiological parameters in about 10 seconds. The Scandu Scout, available in late 2013 and selling for less than $150, takes readings with one small sensor-studded device that transmits data to the smartphone app via Bluetooth. This device is part of a new generation of consumer health tools that enable users to make informed decisions about their health and whether they should see a doctor – further decentralizing medical services.

Another health electronics manufacturer, Zeo Inc., provides consumers with a sleep management solution that records and graphs users’ sleep patterns throughout the night. The Zeo Sleep Manager transmits data via Bluetooth to a nearby iPhone or Android smartphone through three sensors on a headband detecting electrical activity in the skin of the forehead. By knowing how much restorative REM and deep sleep users actually get, they can better manage their health and overall wellness without conducting a professional sleep study.

The smartphone is a flexible medium in which consumers are familiar with and comfortable using. With different connectivity options, growing computing power, and extensive developer communities, smartphone devices will continue to be ideal for consumer health manufacturers in centralizing their solutions. It’s a win-win for end users and manufacturers alike – manufacturers have a steady platform to work off of and end users live healthier lives.

And with our last blog for 2012, VDC would like to wish everyone a safe and happy New Years!

Don’t Forget to Lock Your Windows

Security is one of the most buzzworthy and sensationalized topics in the embedded market in recent memory. Even 60 minutes has devoted time to the topic. Although device security may not have been at top of Andy Rooney’s interest list, the threat is real.

In the same way that the devices across all facets of our lives have become more intelligent and more connected, they have simultaneously come under a sort of evolutionary entrapment. Their increased functionality has made them both more valuable and more attractive targets of attack. And this dynamic extends from everything from mobile phones to medical devices.

So why then do engineers not extend the same consideration of security across of all these device classes?

Certainly, there are some device classes more inherently at risk than others. In fact, many of the OEMs building these devices already use a range of operating systems specifically designed (or at least marketed) as addressing security, such as Green Hills Integrity, Lynuxworks LynxOS, or Wind River VxWorks. It is time that other OEMs pay attention too. Security is important

Or are they already?

Approximately 2/3 of the engineers we surveyed said that security was important to their current design. The ratio varied little based on the target OS cited as used on the engineers’ current projects. The acknowledgement of security’s importance appears ubiquitous.

A few weeks ago, I was attending the Amphion Forum in San Francisco, a conference hosted by Mocana that focused on device security. At the conference, neither engineers nor vendors made much mention of one of the leading OS vendors in the embedded market, Microsoft.Secure-Windows

While Microsoft’s PC heritage may not lend a reputation of security staunchness, its embedded SKUs do offer augmented protection over many alternatives. Furthermore, Windows Embedded’s use within many of the more intelligent, connected devices means that engineers using the OS family should absolutely place a premium on security. So what gives?

  1. In many cases, engineers – especially those not working in safety-critical device classes – are not conditioned to care about security. But investment and attention often follow catastrophe.
  2. Some engineers also take security for granted, thinking that the use of a commercial OS yields hardened end products. Although commercial OSs can help, their increasing adoption makes them a more compelling target for potential hacking or attack.
  3. Microsoft needs to ante up. Some of the disconnect is due to marketing, but the rest of it is because of products. Operating systems will never solve the entire problem; Microsoft and its customers will benefit from a broader security-focused portfolio.

2013 will bring even greater security risk. It is time for OEMs and vendors alike to step it up.



The Embedded Software Beat

A Q&A with Jacques Brygier, VP of Marketing, SYSGO

This interview is the fifth in a series that we have conducted with embedded software solution providers to share their views on their company, products, and state of the market.

VDC: SYSGO has been in the embedded software business for over 20 years; can you briefly introduce the company to our readers?

LogoBrygier: SYSGO has been providing software solutions for the embedded market since its foundation in 1991. The company, headquartered in Mainz, Germany, has developed skills and expertise over the years into two areas, actually very complementary: industrial embedded Linux and safety and security certified RTOS. SYSGO has been quite innovative in addressing the needs of the applications requiring the highest levels of safety and security: the company was the first to introduce to the market a certified embedded virtualization solution that is both a full RTOS and a type 1 hypervisor. SYSGO is primarily addressing the A&D, industrial, transportation, medical and automotive markets, but the combination of Linux/Android, safety and security functionality of its offering attracts new customers in industry sectors like smart energy, high range mobile and even consumers.

VDC: SYSGO recently announced it was acquired by Thales. What does this mean for SYSGO and its customers?

Brygier: This is great news for SYSGO! SYSGO remains the same with just more financial backup to move forward. The company keeps its identity, management team, full staff, and offices. It is Thales’ willingness to let SYSGO decide its own growth strategy, including the choice of market segments Thales is not involved with. We of course have to remain the technology innovator we are in the key sectors of A&D, transportation, and security, in order to provide to Thales (and others) the best-of-breed products they need to be successful. But we are free to continue to address the other markets such as automotive, medical, industrial, or even consumers when it makes sense. Thales’ investment is based on the long term. The requirements they have in terms of product features for their own benefits were part of our roadmap anyway: we just have more means to speed up their implementation.

VDC: What are the challenges engineers face today in designing and developing embedded devices and how are embedded software suppliers responding?

Brygier: More than ever, the embedded systems developers have to manage a tremendous increase of functionality requirements but keep a high level of quality at reasonable cost! New software environments like Linux, Java or Android give access to a wide range of graphics, peripherals, and networking capabilities. However, even as the hardware platforms become more and more powerful (thanks to a growing usage of SoCs, multi-core, specialized built-in devices, etc.), the usual requirement for performance is now combined with a growing need for more safety and, maybe more importantly for most of the markets, security. To say it differently, engineers need new ways of implementing software. That’s probably the reason why we see a growing interest in our safe and secure virtualization RTOS: having the ability on the same hardware (I mean processor) to mix real-time and non-real-time, critical and non-critical applications, legacy and brand new code is very attractive!

VDC: SYSGO’s flagship product, PikeOS, is a combination of an RTOS and virtualization platform; Can you explain the concept of PikeOS, and tell our readers what sets this platform apart from the competition?

Brygier: In the early 2000s, SYSGO decided to develop its own operating system approach based on the embedded virtualization concept. After having evaluated different approaches, SYSGO realized that the existing concepts couldn’t support the highest levels of safety and security requirements SYSGO’s customers were asking for. The result of this internal development is the PikeOS microkernel, which today is part of SYSGO’s product portfolio. The target markets are A&D, industrial automation, automotive, transportation, medical, smart energy, part of consumer electronics and all sectors requiring a high level of security. PikeOS enables multiple operating system interfaces to work on separate sets of resources within a single machine. Because of the resource separation enforced by the PikeOS microkernel, multiple applications with different safety and security requirements are able to co-exist in a single machine. Thus, PikeOS can be regarded as a MILS separation kernel as well as a hypervisor. Currently, PikeOS can host about ten different operating system APIs. Among them are ARINC-653, POSIX, certified POSIX, AUTOSAR, different Java virtual machines, Ada and several popular RTOSes such as Linux (SYSGO’s ELinOS is a natural choice), Android, RTEMS or iTRON. PikeOS is certifiable to safety standards like DO-178B/C, IEC 61508, EN 50128, or ISO 26262, and is currently involved in various security standard CC EAL certification projects.

What makes PikeOS different, besides the fact it has no legacy baggage (making it easy to use), is that it is a) truly processor agnostic, supporting a very wide range of processors and not relying on any specific hardware feature but able to use it if needed (I’m thinking about the use of hardware virtualization to manage multicore, for example), b) built on a single set of core components (no derived version or specific flavor depending on the nature of the application such as non certified or certified, safety oriented or security oriented, cost sensitive, resources constrained or large and complex systems), c) offering the widest range of Personalities of the market (12), and d) the first “hypervisor” certified DO-178B, IEC61508 and EN50128!

VDC: You recently released the latest version of your industrial grade Linux platform, ELinOS; How would you describe the state of the embedded Linux market today?

Brygier: We see an increasing demand for Linux functionality in almost all markets. There is a low but steady rate of growth. Our focus is industrial Linux, a distribution that minimizes the side effect of open source software (potential issues of liability, lack of control, roadmap visibility, documentation, etc…) and offers a ready to use, qualified and well-packaged solution. I don’t know if this gives you an idea of the Linux market but I can tell you that almost half of our PikeOS users are using the Linux Personality. Our understanding is that we cannot make Linux safe and secure but thanks to PikeOS we can make its usage in a system safe and secure.

VDC: SYSGO also provides support for safety & security certifications, two areas that have begun to converge in recent years; what is the relationship between safety and security, and what are some of the challenges engineers face as they pursue these certifications?

Brygier: In terms of objectives, safety is quite different from security: one aims at removing any bugs while the other one tries to prevent any hostile attack. But they share in common the fact that they are required in a growing number of systems, increasingly in a jointly manner. There are some features/attributes PikeOS offers that apply to both areas: strict partitioning, controlled communications, availability of system resources, etc. If you combine the rigorous development process of DO-178B Level A and the formal verification of the microkernel, you tend to have a pretty good piece of software. But, even if they share some aspects of the evidence to be provided to comply with their respective standards, the certification process is quite different in spirit and in ways to assess the compliancy. For safety certification, engineers have a set of guidelines that are now quite familiar and easier to handle when you have some experience. A security certification requires first identifying your assets, the threats you envision and the adverse actions the threats can use to harm your assets. In a sense, the objectives must be very specific. The way for the accredited lab to challenge your equipment depends of course on your security objectives but is mostly not known by you. This explains why the timeline of a high level of security validation is usually more difficult to estimate.

VDC: Thank you, Jacques.

Interested in participating in VDC’s “The Embedded Software Beat” series of interviews? Please reach out and let us know.

BrygierJacques Brygier has spent more than 20 years in the business of high technology and computer science where he has acquired a deep knowledge of the software industry, its evolution and its main application fields. He has been more specifically involved in the development of mission-critical and safety critical software solutions. His primary focus has been embedded and real-time applications. Jacques obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science in University of Lille, France and then joined Alsys to work on Ada compilers and produce the first Ada products available on the market. After working in different technical positions, he obtained his degree in International Marketing and Business in Minneapolis, USA. As the Marketing Director for Aonix, Jacques spent 5 years in San Diego, USA, developing and promoting software development tools before returning to France where he took the position of VP Sales for 3 years. He then became VP Marketing with worldwide responsibility for product strategy, product management and marketing communication. Jacques joined SYSGO in February 2007 to initiate and lead Product Management and Strategy. As VP Marketing he is in charge of all global marketing activities. His main task is to develop the SYSGO portfolio that includes the safe and secure virtualization RTOS platform PikeOS and the Industrial Grade Embedded Linux ELinOS.


The Embedded Software Beat

A Q&A with Stefan Skarin, Chief Executive Officer, IAR Systems Group AB.

This interview is the fourth in a series that we look to conduct during the course of 2012 with embedded software solution providers to share their views on their company, products, and state of the market.

VDC was fortunate to catch up with Mr. Skarin in advance of the ARM TechCon where IAR Systems will be announcing and demonstrating new products.

VDC: IAR Systems is a long-time supplier of software development solutions to the embedded market.  Can you briefly introduce the company to our readers? Iarsystemslogo

Skarin: IAR Systems was founded in 1983 and actually launched the world's first C compiler for the 8051 microprocessor. Since, we have grown from a local Swedish company to a global player with ten offices all over the world, and 14,000 customers in all industries. We have developed more C and C++ compilers than any other company in the embedded industry, and I would say we have accumulated a unique understanding of embedded developers’ needs. We are proud to support the market's widest range of architectures, and we are continuously enhancing our products and adding new functionality that we believe developers will benefit from. Our suite of development tools for embedded applications is called IAR Embedded Workbench and provides a complete set of C/C++ compiler and debugger tools.

VDC: What are the challenges engineers face today in designing and developing embedded devices and how are embedded software suppliers responding?

Skarin: Embedded systems are becoming more and more complex, and at the same time the time to market for new products is becoming more and more crucial. These factors create needs for simplified, flexible workflows. Companies are streamlining their development to avoid delays, and of course also to maximize the return on investment. So basically, developers need to get up and running quickly, and work faster, as the same time as their assignments are becoming more complicated. We are aiming to supply tools that are easy to use, while at the same time offer high performance and advanced functionality. To have the ability to reuse code can also help increase productivity. It is also important for software suppliers to simplify integration between tools and systems. Whether or not the supplier is able to offer you technical support when and where you need it, to help you keep production going according to schedule, is of course also a major differentiator.

VDC: Power consumption is a critical design objective for battery operated embedded devices. How do IAR software development solutions help developers improve and manage battery life?

Skarin: This is an area where I believe software suppliers have a major role to play, and we are putting a lot of effort into helping developers minimize power consumption. A couple of years ago, we introduced our innovative Power debugging technology. This technology provides software developers with information about the power consumption in their specific application. The information is coupled to the source code and enables the developers to find any power spikes, and to test and tune the application for power optimization. Earlier this year, we launched the debug probe I-jet, which enables even more refined power measurements.

To have highly optimized code is a great way to minimize power consumption. Our compiler creates extremely compact code that runs fast and saves on the power needed to complete the tasks. We have worked extensively with compiler optimization technology for several years, but we are still able to further tweak this, and are continuously trying to beat our own records.

VDC: Today’s embedded systems have grown increasingly complex and software is coming to define a greater portion of the end product value. What’s your view on the use of modeling tools within the product development lifecycle to help engineering organizations manage this complexity?

Skarin: I believe we will see more of modeling tools as systems keep gaining in complexity. As I mentioned before, it will be even more important for software suppliers to offer extensive possibilities for integration between tools, for example modeling tools. The entire development workflows need to be well-connected and interaction between different tools need to be seamless and easy to work with.

IAR Systems supplies the state machine toolset IAR visualSTATE. It is based on a subset of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) and is used to design, test and implement embedded applications based on state machines.

VDC: In safety critical applications, regulations and compliance requirements are driving the need for increased use of automated test tools to ensure code reliability and quality. How do IAR Systems software development solutions assist developers in meeting regulatory and compliance requirements?

Skarin: We have many customers working with safety-critical applications, mainly within the medical and automotive industries. Our tools comply with industry standards and we use several commercial, and in-house developed test suites to make sure we conform to the standards. IAR Embedded Workbench features automatic checking of MISRA-C rules to ensure compliance during development, and also performs type checking during the linking process and runs extensive diagnostics, which ensures the reliability of the generated code. Our tools are also well integrated with test platforms supplied by companies such as Parasoft, LDRA, PRQA, and VectorCAST.

VDC: If you were to take a look a look into your crystal ball, how do see the opportunities for the embedded software market shaping up for 2013?

Skarin: The number of embedded devices is growing rapidly, and that gives a good potential. For us, the focus is on supplying the tools that the market needs. I see those tools as being able to handle complex applications, while ensuring safety and reliability of the code. The need for low power consumption is of course highly relevant during 2013, and I expect that all software suppliers will need to do even more in this area.

VDC: Thank you Stefan.

Interested in participating in VDC’s “The Embedded Software Beat” series of interviews? Please reach out and let us know.

Stefan Skarin was appointed CEO of Nocom Drift, now IAR Systems Group AB, in 2000 after Stefan Skarinestablishing an outstanding track record of sales and corporate development in the IT software industry. In 2003, Mr. Skarin turned Nocom around from bankruptcy to its best profit in 20 years. He went on to double the company’s profit year over year in both 2004 and 2005, and Nocom became the best share and best IT share at Stockholm Nasdaq. In 2005, he acquired IAR Systems and, in reshaping the focus of IAR Systems as a leading provider of software for programming embedded systems processors, Mr. Skarin made 24 acquisitions and investments in Europe.

Mr. Skarin consistently focuses on achievement. During his first year as CEO of IAR Systems, he grew the company by 22 percent, and the company experienced its best-ever sales year in 2010 across all four regions. In 2011, IAR Systems grew 26 percent and achieved record profits.  This year, IAR Systems boasts the greatest share growth in the IT sector so far in 2012.

Mr. Skarin started his career at Ericson Mobile in 1985 when the Ericson mobile phone was launched. He moved on to Oracle Nordic starting out as the finance director, and then moving on to accomplish an impressive number of sales achievements. He was Finance Director in 1987, and became CEO of Oracle Spain in 1991, where he led a major company restructuring. At 29 years old, Mr. Skarin became the youngest CEO in Oracle when he became CEO of Oracle Eastern Europe in 1992. During his tenure there, he reached the highest quota in the company –22 MUSD – and established Oracle in four countries in Eastern Europe.

After Oracle, Mr. Skarin served as CEO for Interleaf Nordic and then worked as Sales Director at Adobe, where he established Adobe Finland. His successful sales accomplishments resulted in two personal awards for the two biggest global deals in Adobe’s history.

Mr. Skarin has served on the board of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL) in Sweden for three years, global SoL for two years, and he is a founding member of Academy for Change. Mr. Skarin has also had a number of speaking engagements with organizations including Save the Children International and World Wildlife Fund International in United States, Europe and Asia Pacific.