Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

ATEGO REDUX: ATEGO COMES OF AGE

Ignoring important business information in order to
save money is like saving up sex for your old age. What we learn from history
is that people don’t learn from history – Warren Buffet

 

Despite a plethora of negative publicity and bad relationships with the industry’s press, analysts and other vendors, Atego, due to the efforts of Dr Jay Gambrell its founding chairman,
has reorganized its management problems and proven that it is financially sound and technologically competitive. During these difficult times, the company has kept pace with the quality of its MDD (model driven development) products and has remained a leader in the Ada market space.

Let me state as a matter of full disclosure that I have in the past been a not-to-polite critic of Atego and its management. Hence it is only fair that I report on the positive changes that have occurred and address the topic that I previously found to be of concern.

A company is judged by factors not necessarily related to product offerings and quality. It is incumbent that a company maintains positive relations with the press and industry analysts. With all the changes at the company, it might be construed that the company is failing and it’s best to avoid dealing with it. It takes a strong executive, once having been made aware, to ensure that changes are made.

To summarize:

1) MDD developments have been shown to reduce development cost (as compared with similar
developments that didn’t use MDD) by more than 30%

2) Artisan Studio users enjoyed similar results that are comparable to IBM’s Rhapsody product

3) Atego has made management changes and placed an emphasis on positive relationships within the
industry.

4) Atego has reorganized their marketing efforts freeing up their staff to better interact
with customers as well as with vendors and the press.

5) Atego bought IBM Rational’s Ada product line to consolidate their marketing and sales efforts in this market
segment. Atego inherited Rational’s Ada customers, many of whom remain IBM customers for other products.

Let me address the rumors that Atego is financially vulnerable. Let’s face it – I’m capable of reading abalance sheet, but not sufficiently sophisticated to be able to detect financial slight of hand. While Atego now boasts a much larger balance sheet and revenue and profit line, I still believe when  it comes to ascertaining Atego’s financial well being I rely on IBM Rational, one of the best managed companies in the world.

For IBM to entrust Atego with their customer base that not only used their Ada products but many of the other IBM products as well, they certainly did a detailed and exhaustive analysis of Atego and their long term viability. For me, that is the most compelling reason to dispel any rumors of financial instability. And they did this in spite of the fact that Atego’s biggest competitor for modeling is IBM!

Let me point out that financial strength and operating profitability are different. Atego remains profitable, but their activities and expenditures are closely watched, as they should be in a responsibly managed company. Atego claims to be the largest independent embedded tools provider – a reputation they will have to earn again and again every day.

I find Gambrell, who has an extensive banking background, to be a most responsible executive – which also gives me confidence in Atego’s future.

As a former Executive VP of a public medical devices company, I have personally encountered problems with recalcitrant managers that tried to build personal empires at the expense of the company that paid their salaries. I was fortunate to have had feedback from our marketplace from individuals who were so incensed at their treatment that they took the effort to complain (loudly and without limiting their use of language for emphasis) to me personally. Some might consider these folks to have a pathological need to bitch – for me they were a godsend that enabled me to correct problems that could have adversely impacted our emerging company.

So it is in my business DNA to offer unsolicited (and perhaps unwanted) information. It is to Gambrell’s credit that he didn’t dismiss the bad news as being from a pain in the butt.

I did tell Jay that I’ll have to find a new target for my somewhat slanted sense of humor – but that I’m delighted for his success. Now I can focus my efforts on delving into the more recent and promised product offerings coming from Atego. There are several promising process related tools coming, so let’s see what a renewed focus from Atego will deliver. This will not keep me from being a critic if I see fit – but I’m excited for the industry that an alternative modeling compny has come of age

For those that might remember my comment that “the wheel is spinning but the gerbil is dead”, I’m glad toreport that the gerbil is doing fine.

 

2012 EMF Survey of Embedded Developers: Where Developers get their Most Trusted Information – Comparing EMF Blog Readers Responses to those of the Industry Respondents

A special link was sent to our Blog readers asking them to take the 2012 EMF Survey of Embedded Developers so that we could compare their responses with respondents from the embedded industry to questions regarding where developers get their most trusted information and other factors in their decision making process.

This is a brief summary – a more detailed paper will be developed later.

First we asked the following important question: Which of the following resources do you find to be the most useful for researching the purchase of RTOSes or compilers, simulation tools, requirements management tools, product management and program management tools for your designs?

The responses were:

  Industry    Blog Readers
Co-workers 57.3% 52.7%
Industry publications 47.2% 52.7%
Vendors’ Web sites 42.3% 41.8%
White papers 42.3% 52.7%
Online forums 39.9% 56.4%
Conferences 37.1% 25.5%
Webinars 32.7% 21.8%
Vendors’ sales representatives 16.5% 7.3%
Wiki blogs 16.1% 23.6%
Other 2.8% 1.8%

 

Not surprisingly, online forums, white papers, industry pubs and co-workers were the leading source of information for our Blog readers, while vendor’s websites replaced online forums among industry respondents.

Second, we asked the following important question: In general, what characteristics are the most important to you in buying embedded products and tools?

The responses were:

  Industry Blog Readers
Price/cost/value of product 69.1% 73.2%
Ease of use of product 61.4% 58.9%
Quality and reliability of products 57.7% 60.7%
Compatibility of products 41.5% 35.7%
Technical support 37.8% 48.2%
Speed/performance of products 28.0% 21.4%
Reputation of supplier/vendor 16.7% 12.5%
Leading edge technology 15.9% 16.1%
Sales service and support 8.9% 7.1%
Personal trusted relationship to rep or support people 8.1% 7.1%
Ease of dealing with vendors’ processes 6.5% 1.8%
Other  1.6% 0.0%

 

The responses were similar with our Blog readers’ emphasizing technical support and the quality and reliability of products.

The third question was: As Cloud Computing and Machine to Machine computing become prevalent, how important is cloud enabled to your future embedded products purchases?

    Industry    Blog     Readers
  Critical 3.2% 8.9%
  Very important 7.3% 8.9%
  Somewhat important 19.4% 21.4%
  Not very important 23.0% 23.2%
  Not at all important 43.1% 35.7%
  Responsibility of another vendor 4.0% 1.8%

 

EMF believes that in the future Cloud computing will usher in a new and large market for embedded designs and technologies, it seems that our readers are far ahead of the industry in recognizing its importance.

The fourth question was: How important is brand awareness (prior knowledge of the reputation and quality of the brand or company) in your selection of an embedded product or tool?

    Industry Blog Readers  
  Critical 3.6% 7.0%  
  Very important 26.9% 22.8%  
  Somewhat important 45.8% 45.6%  
  Not very important 16.2% 17.5%  
  Not at all important 7.5% 7.0%  

 

The responses were basically the same – brand awareness is important.

In a paper to be developed later, we will look at branding issues in which we compare responses from developers that are aware of a vendor with those of developers that aren’t familiar with a vendor (such considerations as ranking on search engine, geographic location, and accessibility to a sales person and references from current customers).

These data can be crucial to vendor’s sales efforts.

For those of you that have sales or marketing responsibilities and would like to gain such insight, please contact me at jerry@embeddedforecast.com  (508-881-1850) and I’ll be glad to chat with you.

Percent of Hardware Budget Devoted to COTS Hardware

 

Considerable attention and speculation has been given to the use of COTS hardware across different vertical markets, and whether this trend is expanding, remaining stable or declining. If the use of COTS is expanding, one would expect to see an economic benefit to its use – hence, a more important measure of COTS utilization would be reflected in the budgeted amount of COTS hardware as a percentage of total hardware cost.

In a recent 2011 survey of embedded developers (653 respondents), EMF asked respondents to report the percent of their total hardware budget that was devoted to COTS hardware.

Table I presents their responses according to vertical market. Whereas Aerospace/Avionics and Military had the highest response (these data reflect the percent of the COTS hardware budget compared with total hardware budget) Datacom and Electronic Instrumentation had a better than average response.

Percent of Hardware Budget Devoted to COTS Hardware
2011 EMF Survey of Embedded Developers
   
Industry Average 23%
Auto-Transportation 19%
Aerospace-Avionics 30%
Consumer Electronics 22%
Datacom-Networking 27%
Electronic Instrumentation 24%
Industrial Automation 20%
Medical 20%
Military 32%
Office Automation 14%
Telecom 23%

                   Table I

Table II presents developer responses according to chip architecture.

It is interesting to note that the budgeted percent of COTS hardware is consistent across all architectures, DSP and FPGA, but it is significantly larger for dual core and multi core developments. This might be due to the recent inclusion of multiple cores in embedded developments where the focus might be on software development within a mostly reusable hardware configuration. It will be interesting to see if this data is repeated in 2012.

 

 

Percent of Hardware Budget Devoted to COTS Hardware
2011 EMF Survey of Embedded Developers
   
Industry Average 23%
8-bit 21%
16-bit 22%
32-bit 24%
64-bit 23%
128-bit 26%
DSP 23%
FPGA 21%
Dual Core 28%
Multi-Core 35%

                             Table II

Information regarding the survey and data can be found at

www.embeddedforecast.com.

Survey data and the use of the EMF Embedded Dashboard used to compute these data can be seen at:

http://www.embeddedforecast.com/emfmip_videos.php

2010 Retrospective of Embedded Developer Choices and Market Trends

 

When we look at embedded developer’s issues – what they are doing, what issues are the most disconcerting to them in their embedded developments, and what we can take from changes that we have seen over the past several years – these stand out as emerging trends in an expanding embedded marketplace.

 

In summary:

 

  • There has been a shift in the RTOS marketplace from the traditionally powerful RTOSes (e.g., Integrity, VxWorks and LynxOS) to the smaller, highly efficient RTOSes (e.g., ThreadX, Micrium, Nucleus and MontaVista Linux).

 

  • Simulation-Modeling (e.g., Simulink, Rhapsody) tools are being used effectively in more designs, driven by code reuse, reporting of application software under conditions of changing of underlying hardware, and by the financial advantages that accrue.

 

  • Communication middleware use is changing from RYO to commercially available middleware (e.g., RTI) as the difficulties (and cost of maintenance) of network expansion proved unmanageable.

 

  • The use of testing tools is expanding in embedded applications including requirements and change management, validation and verification tools and static and dynamic testing. Companies such as LDRA are successfully integrating many of these tools into a single offering that is interoperable with DOORS and Rhapsody. EMF believes that integration with other tools sets – rather than stand alone tools – is the future.

 

  • The use of dual core and multicore processors for embedded designs is growing rapidly – notwithstanding the lack of excellent tools (particularly for symmetric multiprocessing). This need will create a new and substantial addition to the development tools marketplace.

 

It will be fascinating to analyze the results from the 2011 EMF Survey of Embedded Developers to see which trends continue, what markets appear to be in decline and whether new and important market insights appear.

 

As always, we welcome your comments and insights (jerry@embeddedforecast.com)

Comparing Embedded Design Outcomes With and Without Model-Based Design

Happy New Year to our readers

Jerry & Dolores Krasner

 

Announcing our first webinar of 2011 with The MathWorks All are welcome and will receive a complimentary copy of our report.

 

The landing pages for our webinar on Jan. 12th  2011 are now “live” on the website and collecting registrations:

 

9:00am session: http://www.mathworks.com/company/events/webinars/wbnr53412.html?seq=1

 

2:00pm session: http://www.mathworks.com/company/events/webinars/wbnr53412.html?seq=2

Where do those Embedded Forecasts come from – and why this question should make you nervous – Part I

The market, like the Lord, helps those that help themselves. But unlike the Lord, the market does not forgive those who know not what they do – Warren Buffett

Girlinroad 

The embedded marketplace is facing a financial tsunami that will have severe consequences for the largest consumers of embedded technology – the Tier 1 contractors. This in turn will significantly impact the lower tiers and cause a major upheaval for Tier 3 vendors – the embedded suppliers.

Steve Roemerman, CEO of Lone Star Aerospace a highly respected technology consultant to military and government agencies has written “The Aerospace and Defense Industries of the United States are poised to undergo one of the most significant changes since the end of the Cold War, perhaps the most significant since World War II. We believe observers who expect small changes are mistaken, fostering a false and dangerous sense of security across much of the industry and government”

 

This forecast and view is also strongly held by Ken Krieg, former deputy undersecretary for defense acquisition, and in publications from Booze Allen.

 

So you might be asking “Why haven’t we heard of this, Jerry and why are other analysts forecasting a very good year for 2010?” Being long in the tooth and having been here before when CompactPCI was being touted as the VME slayer and industry hopefuls along with participating analysts were forecasting a $2 billion merchant computer board marketplace (which EMF called a $zero billion market). Why were we correct and others in error? Because markets behave in predictable manners – even when disruptive technologies disturb the playing field. 96% of CompactPCI offerings were controlled by 3 companies – this represented a classic commodity market and there was little room for growth. It took 24 VME vendors to account for 75% of the VME market, by comparison – which made it a dynamic and growing market. VME is still around and holding market share. CompactPCI is now a custom product (not a COTS product) and is being abandoned by PICMG for PCIExpress.

The outcome was predictable. Today the Board marketplace is dominated by Kontron, GE, Curtis Wright and RadiSys. Gone are Motorola Computer Group, Force Computers and a litany of others.

The embedded world is characterized by a growing and vital marketplace that is forcing certain segments into commoditization while creating huge opportunities for those that take the time and invest the effort into understanding their market dynamics.

I love the following story – because for me it holds more than a kernel of truth.
 

Its late fall and the Indians on a remote reservation in South Dakota asked their new chief if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was a chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky, he couldn’t tell what the winter was going to be like. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared.

But, being a practical leader, after several days, he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked,’ Is the coming winter going to be cold?’ ‘It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold,’ the meteorologist at the weather service responded. So the chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared.

A week later, he called the National Weather Service again. ‘Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?’ When told it would be severe he sent his people to pick even more firewood.

Two weeks later, the chief called the National Weather Service again. ‘Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?’ ‘Absolutely, ‘ the man replied. ‘It’s looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters we’ve ever seen..’ ‘How can you be so sure?’ the chief asked.

The weatherman replied…

 ‘The Indians are collecting firewood like crazy’ 

So how much does our industry influence itself? Is the embedded industry too small to understand its dependencies?

Continued in Part II

Part 2: Where do those Embedded Forecasts come from – and why this question should make you nervous

roadsigns

 

 

 

 

 

Forecasting involves two distinct activities;

 

 

 

 

  • Measuring the pulse of embedded developers to understand what they are doing, what success they are having, what are their deepest concerns and how do the use of different technologies (e.g., comparative RTOSes, development tools, communication middleware, testing processes, etc.) affect design outcomes (ROI, time to market, percent of designs completed ahead or behind schedule – or cancelled). Also it is helpful to compare final design outcomes to pre-design expectations.
  • Following purchasing trends, funding sources and levels, and whether purchasers are bringing developments and tools in-house or by purchasing.

It is important for embedded vendors to use available data and information and to be able to cross-correlate findings to search out relationships that help define market directions as well as to provide sales support materials to better pursue qualified leads.

EMF published research has used developer-based user surveys and collaborative industry/government based usage and funding insights to forecast market segments that are growing and those that are contracting (at least in the short term). Given these insights there are steps that vendors can take to minimize risk while maintaining a positive positioning.

These include:

  • A serious analysis of your competitive position is essential to not only getting qualified leads but also to having a competitive sales support program with which to follow up these leads. Customers are buying your competitor’s products. Do you know why? Do you know how best and affordably to find this information (talking to a few customers won’t get you there)? Can you prove that your products help your customers get to market faster?
  • You really need to know what your customers really need – how do you find out? In our surveys we discover what issues are most troubling to them and what would motivate them to move towards you (or away from you).
  • If your products and those of your competitors exceed the needs of current and prospective customers (notwithstanding how truly cool your products may be) mitigating factors will affect their purchasing decision – even if your product isn’t as cool as those of your competitors.
  • Be able to demonstrate your value (they won’t do it for you). Be able to provide factual information – ROI if you can.
  • Promote yourself. Is your marketing targeting the right customers and do they have compelling information to state your case? Be proactive – your competitors might have access to information that makes their case – and you wouldn’t know about it.

Be exceedingly careful as you look to expand your marketplace – either offensively or defensively. Vendors realizing the impending shortfall in mil/aero are looking to alternative markets without understanding the dynamics and true needs of those markets. Medical, for example, has been targeted by some of the larger mil/aero vendors stressing their DO 178-B and Common Criteria certifications. For the most part this is laughable given that the highest frequency response for monitoring a non-attended patient is 100 HZ.

We are seeing companies that have been successful in EDA (e.g., Synopsys) and IT communication systems (e.g., IBM) bringing their proven technologies to enhance systems development and deployment – which in turn change development paradigms by offering OEMs and systems integrators better long term solutions.

Smaller vendors need to be able to show their value and the ability to integrate their solutions with these more advanced solutions. IBM Rational’s Rhapsody is an example of a very powerful model driven development (MDD) tool that allows for competitor’s requirements management, RTOS, static and dynamic analysis technologies to be comfortably integrated.

Be careful where you get your information – and before you pay for it make sure you understand where it came from and how it was obtained.

Warren Buffett offers the following timely advice: “For some reason people take their cues from price action rather than from values. Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

Forecast 2010: What Is in Store for Embedded Developers

Taking a “dog’s-eye” view of what we might expect in 2010

Light at end of tunnel

 

 

 The year 2010 is just around the corner, and we are doing what we do best — forecasting. After all it’s our name. But we aren’t just guessing — we base our forecasts on historical facts and data. For the past 12 years, we have been tracking what developers are doing, what tools, OSes and processes they are utilizing and what their design experiences have been. We also report on what issues trouble them the most.

Now we are preparing our 2010 detailed and comprehensive EMF Executive Survey of Embedded Developers and Managers. We will be inviting you to take the survey to see how you our “loyal readers” compare with the larger statistically based responses (please contact us at surveys@embeddedforecast.com if you are willing to participate). Respondents who take the survey will receive a complimentary copy of our survey overview (a $399 value).

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