Reading (or Misreading) the Embedded Market Roadsigns




Co-authored by: Dolores Krasner, VP Market Intelligence, EMF


Remember the old song “Signs”? The lyrics went “signs, signs, everywhere signs, messing up the scenery blowing my mind – don’t do this do that, can’t you read the signs”?

With all of the FUD, claims and counterclaims of misrepresentation between embedded vendors, what is a developer, manager or executive to believe, and how is one to make sense of whether one product or another is best suited for one’s use? No wonder potential users are leery of advertised and promoted claims.

Is it possible that those making the most noise and creating the most FUD are those messing up the scenery for the rest of us? Moreover, are these disruptions taking us away from the real signs that are defined by developers and managers that detail their likes, dislikes, and issues of greatest importance? Finally, what are the market trends that are characterized by revenue growth, best practices and ROI calculations?

I chose the above graphic to illustrate my frustrations (and I suspect the frustrations of others) with the misleading hype that has unfortunately become part of our embedded market culture. What I loved about the graphic was the ridiculous message that hid the information of most importance to the reader – the bridge was out!

So what should the embedded market signs tell us – based on year-over-year EMF Developer Surveys, vendor reported shipments and EMF privleged information – about the road ahead and how to avoid the bridges that are out?


 Sign #1: Danger Ahead






There will be a ripple down effect from primes to Tier II suppliers to Lower Tier vendors. The larger embedded vendors will get hit but not as bad as smaller vendors that don’t plan ahead and create value. Consolidations may result with financially more stable companies picking and choosing technologies at fire sale prices. It wasn’t too long ago that Motorola Computer Group/Force Computers were sold off at 28 cents on the dollar.








Sign #2: Remind your Customers of Your Value 






It’s a good idea to not only remind your best customers how you are performing for them, making a contribution to their goals and saving them money. It’s best to show them (if you have the data) how developers and managers throughout the industry (or within a specific vertical) are performing with your products and support. 








Sign #3: Promote Yourself





Certain behaviors which are highly correlated with high performing product developments may also help suppliers target their preferred customers, and help promote being a high performance supplier.

EMF data was separated into two cadres: A ‘Leader” cadre tended to complete product development on, or ahead of schedule, and the delivered product met pre-design expectations.  A “Laggard” cadre tended to finish late and delivered products that missed pre-design expectations





Comparing these high and low performing organizations, we found that high performers:

  • Were more likely to use modeling for design, system architecture, algorithms and other components than laggards, who were less likely to incorporate modeling into the design process.
  • Were less likely to use CMMI.  Laggards were roughly twice as likely to use CMMI as leaders
  • Were more likely to use object oriented development.  Leaders were roughly twice as likely to describe their development processes as “object oriented” than laggards.
  • Were likely to use peer reviews and design walkthrough in their product design processes, and were more likely to describe their design processes as model driven.  Laggards were more likely to say they had no product development processes.
  • Were likely to have some budget for product developer tools, but were less likely to have large budgets.  Laggards were roughly twice as likely to have personal budgets of more than $25,000 for developer tools, than leaders.
  • Tend to use licensed (not free) Linux when Linux is used. They were, for example roughly twice as likely to use MontaVista, or LynuxWorks Blue Cat than laggards. This is consistent with prior EMF findings that “free” tools usually cost more in the long run.


 Sign #4






EMF’s report, 2009 Embedded Tools and RTOSes illustrates the growth of embedded market segments. RTOS/IDE has grown (through 2008) at a 11.2% CAGR while software tools grew at an 8.8% rate and the total embedded market grew at an 11% rate. Simulation-modeling grew at a substantially higher CAGR.






 Simulation Modeling (Model Driven Development – MDD – is the major component of this growth) is growing at a 17.5% CAGR based on 3 factors: 

  • It provides an enhanced (and documented) ROI
  • Systems and systems-within-systems represent the largest embedded growth market and require MDD
  • Product line engineering is predicated on MDD



Have you noticed that we didn’t include any signs for EAL or MILS certification?

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