46 posts categorized "Surveys"


IoT Market Complexity Demands Buyer Personas

The complexity of the market for IoT products and services creates enormous challenges for the IoT solution marketer. An unlimited set of applications, a complex ecosystem of partners and channels, a wide range of decision makers and influencers, and a continuously changing competitive set can leave the marketer forever chasing his tail. Critical decisions about the content, placement, and timing of marketing messages become extraordinarily difficult in the face of these complex and dynamic conditions. 

Observing these challenges, VDC undertook a disciplined search for tools and methods that could help IoT marketers think and act more strategically, and achieve better results. Given how critical content marketing is in the IoT space, we focused on identifying tools and methods that would improve digital marketing effectiveness, defined as improving lead generation in terms of both lead quantity and lead quality. The tool we identified as being the most valuable – when deployed correctly – was the buyer persona.

Download our new whitepaper on the benefit of buyer personas for IoT marketers to learn more about they can help your company supercharge its marketing, sales, product development, and customer service.



Where's The Action On Security Concerns?

Recognition of Software Security Issues Are High; Mitigation is Not

I read an interesting report from Spiceworks recently about mobile security actions by IT departments...or perhaps, lack of actions might be more accurate. The report, which is free to download, shows that nearly all IT professionals are worried about security risks affecting mobile devices supported by their company. However, this level of concern vastly outweighs the level of action their organizations have actually taken to lessen security threats.

This central finding, while disappointing, does not come as a surprise. Year after year, we see a persistent gap between awareness of software security importance and the steps taken to mitigate these issues. To help inform our analysis of the software and systems development market, VDC conducts an extensive end-user survey of global development community. In 2014, only 7.7% of embedded engineers surveyed considered security “not at all important” on their current project; just 2% of enterprise/IT developers felt the same way. Yet 22% of the respondents in embedded and 12% from enterprise report their organization has taken no actions in response to security requirements on their current project.

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Need to Close the Awareness – Action Gap

The potential financial and safety impacts of software vulnerabilities have been clearly demonstrated by several recent and very public cases. Incidents, such as those exposing customer data from major retailers and software-related automotive recalls can dominate news cycles, damage brand equity, and more importantly - risk lives.

A growing reliance on software for embedded device functionality and to manage financial data has raised the importance of actively addressing security considerations during software design. Unfortunately, the velocity of software innovation is outpacing the application of safeguards and challenges continue to mount. Code base volume and complexity continues to rise. Development teams are increasingly utilizing alternative code sources including open-source software to meet their time-to-market windows. The number of potential entry points for malicious activities is increasing exponentially as more connected devices are deployed as part of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Teams designing software for the IT or embedded markets should start testing for security vulnerabilities early in the development lifecycle when resolution is the least costly. We recommend static and binary analysis as effective tools for finding the most common security defects such as buffer overflows, resource leaks, and other vulnerabilities. Use of these solutions should be incorporated as part of a comprehensive testing regime. Undoubtedly, the ramifications of software vulnerabilities are too severe to leave addressed by manual processes or chance.


More insight and Recommendations

For further investigation and discussion about this and other important trends in the automated test and verification tool landscape, as well as other disruptive shifts in systems lifecycle management, please see our 2014 Software and System Lifecycle Management (SSLM) intelligence service.


Agile2013: VDC Research is heading to Nashville - Music City!

The M2M Embedded Software team is excited to be heading to Nashville to attend Agile2013 (#agile2013). The growing adoption of Agile methodologies is one of the most important developments in the software lifecycle management solution market since VDC started covering it in 2000.

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Despite origins in the enterprise/IT software development world, iterative software development methods have also taken hold in the embedded market. In fact, nearly 50% of embedded engineers we surveyed in 2012 used Agile and Iterative methods.

As embedded systems continue to evolve, organizations still relying on traditional development methodologies are struggling to keep pace with their software content creation demands. Many of these OEMs are accustomed to the traditional, serial development workflows especially common within safety-critical application classes. However, updates to several software standards, such as DO-178C, have provided the embedded industry with better clarification and more guidelines around the new development techniques. As a result of these pressures and advances, we expect iterative development methodologies will continue to gain new adherents in the embedded market.


Hope to see you there

If you want to learn about the latest Agile approaches, methods, technologies, tools, leadership principles, management philosophies and processes, we hope you will attend Agile2013. Also, please check out some of our free research on Agile, DevOps, and software development tools.

Contact us ASAP to schedule a meeting

VDC will be attending the Agile2013 conference Monday, August 5th and Tuesday, August 6th.

Contact André Girard, Sr. Analyst, M2M Embedded Software & Tools at:

agirard@vdcresearch.com or 508.653.9000 x153.

We look forward to seeing you at the show!



VDC Research is the leading M2M market intelligence firm that provides engineering leaders and technology suppliers with research-driven insights to help guide their product development and technology strategies. For over two decades, VDC Research has been conducting research and analysis of the global M2M market. Born out of its embedded engineering research practice, VDC Research surveys and interacts with thousands of engineers from all vertical markets including industrial automation, retail, manufacturing and medical devices, to gain insight into their project requirements, solution selection criteria, preferences and trends. 

Based on a unique blend of quantitative and qualitative analysis that offer granularity and breadth of coverage, VDC is organized around four practice areas, each with its own focused area of coverage. Together, they enable a unique 360-degree perspective of the opportunities and challenges resulting from The Internet of Things and M2M.

For more information visit: www.vdcresearch.com


Embedded Security: The Bark is Bigger than the Bite, Part 2

In part one of this blog, we discussed findings showing the limited security actions taken to date in the Industrial Automation and Energy/Power industries. Unfortunately, the gap between stated interest in security and the actions taken to address these concerns is not limited to this vertical. For example, 29% of engineers in military/aerospace and almost 38% of automotive engineers reported their current project involves no security actions.

Google has received a great deal of press about their progress in this area, developing their self-driving car. Aaron Robinson, a columnist with Car and Driver magazine wrote about security issues, as they relate to this notion of an autonomous car.

“But one thing is certain: Throughout human history, safety has typically lagged invention. The wheel came before the brake, the car came before the seatbelt. Likewise, the internet’s innovation continues to outpace its protections” – Aaron Robinson

Now I love many of the advances information technologies have enabled in even just the last few years. But turning over my keys to the IT department of Google or some other tech company, especially since I’ve seen lack of security measures? Suddenly “kernel panic” or the “blue screen of death” take on much more literal meanings.  

Eliminating the security interest-action gap will be one of the primary challenges facing OEMs across several verticals. Embedded solution providers should align their marketing and services initiatives. There is a large opportunity awaiting the vendor(s) able to encourage and then help navigate when OEMs take these important steps to address security.



Also in the next couple of weeks, the Embedded Software team here at VDC Research finishes publication of a series of vertical market reports. These studies examine embedded developers’ demand and requirements for commercial OSs and software development tools within key vertical markets.

Volume 1, covering embedded software technologies in the Automotive vertical is available now. Volume 2, available later this week, looks into the Industrial Automation and Control (IAC) and Energy / Power industries. Volumes covering medical devices, military/aerospace, and mobile phones will follow shortly.

Coming in 2013:

VDC’s Voice of the Customer Series: Security & The Internet of Things will give you the information you need to formulate and implement a best-in-class security strategy. From cars to smart-phones to the factory floor, security is becoming an increasingly critical consideration for enterprises, consumers, and the OEMs who provide them with a rapidly expanding range of Internet-enabled devices. This service will help you understand how organizations are approaching the big decisions of security risk management, technology and vendor selection, device deployment, and more. Learn about consumer awareness and perceptions regarding security across a range of device classes. This service is based on extensive primary research of engineering organization, enterprise and consumer behavior.

Embedded Security: The Bark is Bigger than the Bite, Part 1

Security has been top of mind with most executives of leading embedded suppliers who we spoke to in the past year. This should come as little surprise given the growing awareness of the potential impact of security breaches. As today’s devices and systems grow more complex and connected, this threat is growing exponentially. Time and again, we hear of some hacker or industrious engineering student demonstrating, either maliciously or as an educational warning, that a linked network may only be as secure as its most vulnerable element.

In a recent conversation with one of the foremost automated test and verification tool suppliers, an executive warned that while they hear overwhelming interest in security concerns across all verticals, actual investment in addressing the issue is not close to matching this professed concern.

Our findings do indeed confirm that within the Industrial Automation and Control (IAC) and Energy/Power industry, a distressingly high percentage of current projects involve no action to limit potential security issues. 

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Just over 42% of the engineers responding from IAC and energy/power market indicate no proactive actions have been taken to address security concerns on their current project. The fact that 40% state their current project has no specific security requirements should offer little relief. Our research indicates that many projects without specific security requirements certainly ought to have them. Lack of security prevention or mitigation does not mean no security threat exists. What should also be alarming is the percentage of respondents “very confident” their security requirements would be met on their current project was in the single digits!

This represents a large, potentially lucrative market opportunity for suppliers of security solutions. But it should be unsettling to everyone else with even a passing understanding of the potentially catastrophic impact of vulnerabilities in these markets. Heard of Stuxnet anyone?


In the next couple of weeks, the Embedded Software team here at VDC Research finishes publication of a series of vertical market reports. These studies examine embedded developers’ demand and requirements for commercial OSs and software development tools within key vertical markets.

Volume 1, covering embedded software technologies in the Automotive vertical is available now. Volume 2, available later this week, looks into the Industrial Automation and Control (IAC) and Energy / Power industries. Data in the exhibit above is based on findings from this volume.


For more information on security findings, including statistics from other verticals, please take a look at part two of this discussion, coming here soon.


It Gets Better

The same end-of-one-year reflection that inspired our embedded software Top 12 of 2012 (part 1 and part 2), encouraged us to take a look back at a metric we continue to track: schedule performance.

In VDC’s 2012 developers survey, 35.3% of the respondents said their current project was behind schedule. Just last year over 40% reported schedule slippage. So perhaps 35% is an improvement; but it’s hardly a statistic worth boasting. With an average of twenty five embedded engineers per project, any delay can be detrimental to development budgets, not to mention the reputational damage.

Despite an understanding that adherence to schedule is crucial to project success and that management should focus on ensuring execution conforms to it, on-time delivery difficulties persist. In order to get the maximum benefit from minimal effort through the full development lifecycle, engineering organizations need to optimize the efficiency and accuracy of their team and resources.

The good news is our research suggests the schedule adherence improvement of this past year may be the start of a trend rather than an anomaly. We see more and more engineering firms applying the right tools, methodologies, and processes.

Some of our findings showing potential for improved schedule performance include:

  • Embedded suppliers continue to make functional improvements to the software and systems lifecycle management (SSLM) tools they offer. Beyond these advances, there is broader use of SSLM solutions by developers which offers several potential benefits. For example, effective requirements management solutions help avoid misunderstanding and unrealistic expectations while modeling tools can encourage greater code reuse.
  • There is increased adoption of Agile methodologies both in full adherence to the methodology and in a hybrid approach combining iterative aspects with elements from other methods.
  • Improving efficiency in the development of today’s devices which often require a tight coupling of electrical, mechanical, and software elements requires an evaluation of processes across project boundaries. This reinforces the potential benefits of cross-domain engineering integration, which we see is increasing.

These trends are encouraging. Our findings have shown that organizations using SSLM tools are more successful in meeting deadlines. Likewise, less developers using Agile methods (28.8%) or investigating cross-domain integration (26.2%) report being behind schedule than the average for the industry at large (35.3%.)

If embedded suppliers continue to improve their offerings and provide the support to make sure they are implemented appropriately, perhaps our 2013 findings will confirm the schedule improvement value of these solutions.


Host Development Platforms Used by Embedded Engineers

One of the areas of interest to suppliers of embedded software development tools is to make sure that they target their investments to the type of platforms engineers prefer to use for their software development. Based on VDC’s 2012 survey, a majority of embedded engineers cite the use of Windows-based systems as their preferred development environment.

The use of Windows 7 as a host development platform has increased year-over-year and according to survey respondents could reach almost 50% within the next two years as engineering organizations migrate from Windows XP.  Windows 8 as a selection, while not included in this year’s survey, will be in our 2013 survey. It will be interesting to receive engineers feedback on the use of Windows 8 in 2013 and what the expected use of Windows 8 as a host development platform could be going forward.

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How does your development project stack up?  Will your engineering organization look to migrate to Windows 8 in 2013? Let us know through your feedback.


An A+ for C++

C++ now the most widely used programming language among VDC survey respondents

A common end-user data-related inquiry we receive here at VDC is about the types of programming languages used by embedded software engineers. C and C++ have long held the top spots, as we have previously noted, with C++ closing the gap in recent years.

This year, however, C++ actually overtook C as the most widely used programming language among our survey respondents:

We expect the growth of C++ to remain strong in the coming years, as object-oriented languages gain further acceptance within the development of safety-critical systems.  In particular, the Object Oriented Technology and Related Techniques (OOT & RT) supplement to DO-178C (which among other things provides guidelines for templates in C++) is expected to be particularly influential in this regard.

In addition, we have witnessed a surge in the use of Java over the last several years, in large part driven by the growing interest in Android, which of course utilizes the Java-based Dalvik virtual machine, beyond mobile. Furthermore, we anticipate that Java may also benefit from Oracle’s renewed focus on the embedded space.

Lastly, we believe that the Ada language, while holding steady around the 3% mark for the last several years, may receive a small boost following the official release of Ada 2012, which was first introduced in November 2011. The previous stable release of Ada was last amended in 2007.

VDC investigates these and other data-related trends – including segmentations by operating system type, development tool type, and processor architecture – in our recently published Embedded Systems Engineering Survey Data series of reports from our research service Strategic Insights 2012: Embedded Software & Tools Market. Over the next few weeks we will continue to share with our readers’ additional metrics and findings from the 2012 survey results so stay tuned!

So how does your development project stack up? Please let us know through your feedback, or contact us for more information.


Are You Going To Be Ready For The Third Industrial Revolution?

As hordes of soot covered factory workers poured from the bowels of London Olympic Stadium to rip up and haul away remnants of the pastoral agrarian countryside set, my young son struggled to understand how the opening ceremony celebrated British history. Perhaps the sprouting smoke stacks (piping in real sulfur smell!) were more celebratory in person.

While one might quibble with some of the directorial decisions of the ceremony, there is little debate of the progress enabled by the 18th Century industrial revolution launched in Britain. A compelling special report in The Economist labels this mechanization of manufacturing as the first and mass production, introduced by Ford in the early 20th century, as the second industrial revolution. The report goes on to explain how we are now in the early stage of a third industrial revolution, the digitization of manufacturing.

In his keynote address at PlanetPTC Live, PTC president and CEO Jim Heppelmann referred to the third industrial revolution and discussed how manufacturers will have to adapt to remain competitive.

“Over the past few decades, global manufacturers have made massive investments in technology and process change aimed at improving operational efficiency,” said Heppelmann. “Today, however, we are reaching the limits of the competitive edge these investments can deliver. Manufacturers need to be operationally efficient to stay in the game, but they can no longer achieve meaningful advantage from that alone. The time has come for a new source of competitive advantage – product and service advantage – from technology and process change that improves strategy decision-making across the enterprise, from engineering to the supply chain to sales and service networks.”  PTC president and CEO Jim Heppelmann

In several embedded industries, requirements management and specification has always held a paramount position of importance within the development cycle as a means to document processes and artifacts for various industry standards. But with the digitization of manufacturing, engineers will be increasingly pushed to use more advanced lifecycle management tools.

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VDC’s research shows high use rates use of Requirements Management (RM) and Source/Change/Configuration Management (SCCM) tools across a number of embedded verticals. This should come as little surprise given our 2012 Software and System Development survey indicates changes in specifications, customer induced changes in requirements, and inadequate specifications were cited as leading causes of schedule delays (as cited by 26.0%, 21.1%, and 14.9% of respondents, respectively).

Tomorrow manufacturers, however, will need to become even more nimble utilizing smarter software, web based services, and a number of technological advances such as 3D printing or additive manufacturing. We believe it will be increasingly critical for RM and SCCM tool vendors to provide flexible solutions, tightly integrating ALM and PLM to help manufacturers respond to disruptive changes of the third industrial revolution.

VDC will investigate these trends, market drivers, and challenges in Volume 3 of our Software & Systems Lifecycle Management Tools Market Intelligence Service, Requirements Management/Definition & Source/Change/Configuration Management Tools. Please contact us for more information.



What Do Engineers Prefer for a Host Development Platform?

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.

Engineers use numerous tool types in their development projects. Tools range from compilers, debuggers, editors and build tools to software and system lifecycle management tools such as automated test and verification, modeling, and virtual prototyping tools. Some of the factors most important in the selection of tools include price/cost, technical capabilities, ease of use, and past experience.

One of the areas of interest to suppliers of embedded software development tools is to make sure that they target their investments to the type of platforms engineers prefer to use for their development. Based on VDC’s 2011 survey, embedded engineers cite the use of Windows and Linux-based systems as their preferred development environments.  Windows Vista has had minimal impact on PC’s used by engineers even looking back on VDC’s 2010 survey results, however, engineers expect development environments to migrate in significant numbers to Windows 7 from Windows XP over the next two years.

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

Our recently published report, Development Tools, 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.

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