National Instruments (www.ni.com), released its 2012 Embedded Systems Outlook report on Feb. 27, which shares the company’s conclusions about the direction of the embedded systems market. The report lists technology and business-level trends that impact the development of next-generation embedded systems. Companies can take advantage of this information in a wide variety of demanding embedded control and monitoring applications within industries such as energy, industrial control, life sciences and transportation.
According to NI with insight from the report, engineers and managers can strategically implement best practices for developing and maintaining innovative embedded systems. The 2012 report discusses the following major trends:
* Embedded Platforms: Technology providers are helping design teams build complex embedded systems faster by developing platforms that combine hardware with an integrated software framework.
* Reconfigurable Computing: Advanced embedded control and monitoring systems are driving an increase in designs that make the most of programmable logic.
* Mobile Devices and the Cloud: Design teams are taking advantage of the proliferation of new mobile devices and cloud technologies within next-generation embedded systems.
* Innovating With Smaller Teams: Smaller design teams around the world are creating a more efficient way for companies to bring disruptive innovations to market.
* Future Proofing Through Software: With the ever-changing requirements and standards for embedded systems, design teams are adopting a “software first” mindset for upgrading products over time.
Todd Dobberstein, group manager, Embedded, National Instruments, Austin, talked with Automation World to emphasize the parts of the report in which AW readers would be most interested.
Regarding embedded platforms, Dobberstein reflected on the Apple iPhone that holds about 8.7 percent of market share by volume, but about 75 percent of market share of profit. "Apple develops hardware and software under the same roof to insure these integrate well together. This is the key trend in embedded devices."
Dobberstein points to products such as from Xilinx with a combined ARM processor and an FPGA, which gives the benefit of different processing elements on one piece of silicon. NI has developed dashboards for iPad and Android platforms, because there is a big demand from customers for NI to interface its embedded control systems to mobile devices.
"One area we've seen excitement in the 'Future-Proofing Through Software' category is on the grid--electrical power and utilities. They have a lot of investment with ever-changing standards. Systems must be upgraded constantly and remotely," added Dobberstein.
To read the 2012 Embedded Systems Outlook, readers can visit www.ni.com/eso.