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An insider's view of the 2008 Embedded Market Study

September 01, 2008

rich.nass-September 01, 2008

The results of the 2008 Embedded Market Study are now in. In some cases, the results are exactly what you might expect, and in others, they're quite startling. Recently Contributing Editor Michael Barr and I sifted through the data and discussed what it all means. This article shares our thoughts and analyses of why the results are what they are.

If you're not familiar with our annual study, here's the scoop. Earlier this year, we (Embedded Systems Design magazine) sent the survey out to a select list of our readers and people who attended one of the Embedded Systems Conferences. There's a good chance that you were one of the folks who received the study. About 1,100 people responded, which makes it a fairly representative sample of the embedded systems market.

If you filled out the survey, you know that it was quite comprehensive. Depending on how you responded to the questions, you may have had over 50 questions to answer. What I always find interesting about the Embedded Market Study is the year-on-year data, showing the trends from one year (or multiple years) to the next.

First I'll go through the profile of the respondents. The top ten application areas you're working on are (in order): industrial control, video and imaging, consumer electronics, aerospace, automotive, medical, military, computers and peripherals, data communications, and telecommunications.

Your job functions include writing software/firmware, debugging software/ firmware, integrating hardware/software, selecting or specifying architecture, designing or analyzing firmware/software, managing projects, and debugging hardware.

More than half of you are working on a product upgrade, rather than a new project. More than half of those upgrades are taking advantage of a new microprocessor, hence requiring software changes.

For those projects that include a wireless capability, more than half use Wi-Fi as the connection medium. That's up about 20% from 2007. ZigBee is also up about 20%.

The size of the average design team increased slightly, from 13.6 people to 15.2 people. But it's interesting to note that the number of software engineers on the team increased by almost two, meaning the number of hardware engineers stayed the same or was slightly reduced.

Still worried about deadlines
As shown in Figure 1, meeting schedules is still the number one concern for developers. In fact, that concern actually increased by about 10% over last year.

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