Trends in the Embedded Market: from Asia to North America and Beyond

By John Blyler

Change seems to be the key word for today's embedded market. Both hardware and software engineers are facing a new wave of technological and business changes. That's why this issue of Embedded Intel Solutions (EIS) magazine focuses on the important global trends that are driving many of these changes.

From across the Pacific, this issue of the magazine presents an exclusive interview with Mr. Han Yirong, the iSuppli Corporation's Sales Director for China (www.isuppli.com). Mr. Yirong was formerly with CCID Consulting, one of China's first listed consulting companies that focused on market research in high-tech areas. The interview with Mr. Yirong contains many insights into established and developing markets for China's high-tech industry.

To provide a balanced outlook of the global embedded marketplace, this issue also includes an interview with Mark Volckmann, Senior Analyst for Venture Development Corporation (www.vdc-corp.com). Mark shares his views on the many opportunities that face the embedded hardware and software community--especially with the ongoing migration toward multicore platforms.

Multi-core technology is continuing to catch the eye of many embedded developers. Compelling reasons for the use of multi-core platforms center on the efficiencies of the architecture, which allow increased performance without a significant increase in power consumption. This efficiency in performance per power enables the development of additional functionality into future products, such as improved capabilities for consumer and security applications. But these benefits come with a price--namely, that new methods must be learned to create multicore hardware platforms and software applications.

Readers will find several articles in this issue that deal directly with the nuances of multicore development. For example, Jim Kobylecky--staff editor for EIS magazine--looks at the real-world challenges of multicore processing. Another article, contributed Trends in the Embedded Market: from Asia to North America and Beyond By John Blylerby QNX Software, provides practical guidelines to help developers select the most appropriate form of multiprocessing for their application requirements. Selecting the best multiprocessing approach-- be it asymmetric, symmetric, or bound--will determine how easily both new and existing code can be integrated into a new multicore system.

Security application remains a growth market for the embedded space. Several stories in this issue focus on the hardware side of security products. Embedded developers will want to read the case study from Kilopass that encourages the use of nonvolatile-memory IP as a good way to protect digital content. On the other hand, all levels of hardware security designers will find the security overview by Safenet a good refresher in VPNs and basic security processing.

Be it multicore or single core, security-related or not, all successful embedded designs require an efficient software build system, hardware that lasts, and a development process that mitigates risk. All of these topics are covered in this issue. For example, the experts at Catalyst look at the importance of automated build systems in the development of both single- and multicore platforms. Looking at the ever-shrinking life cycle of embedded products, the engineers at ITOX share their insights on the advantages of obsolete-resistant motherboards. Finally, Jeff Jorvig explains how a predictable design flow extends beyond embedded tools and development flows.

If robotic applications pique your interest, then you'll want to read how China's leading technical university is re-shaping the academic education in that country. Such programs hold the key to creating engineers who can meet the growth markets of embedded robotics in both industrial and consumer applications.

These are a few of the major topics that we present for you in this issue of Embedded Intel Solutions magazine. Please send me any comments regarding the editorial content of this or future issues. I can be reached at jblyler@extensionmedia.com.