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It’s Becoming an Embedded World

Ron-Exler-sq
by Ron Exler

The nascent Internet of Things (IoT) market is prompting significant provider changes as they hope to pursue opportunities. One area changing rapidly and significantly is embedded systems. This week, news from the Embedded World conference in Nuremberg, Germany highlights these changes.

On Monday, Dell said it entered the embedded systems market with a series of ruggedized and fanless products. Dell claims its “established business heritage” provides scalability and support that Dell claims are missing in the embedded market. The first of Dell’s two categories of devices are intended to address space-constrained applications such as in kiosks, vending machines, and vehicles. The second series is focused on performance and I/O scalability for industrial use cases. Dell said that the Embedded Box PC 5000 Series and 3000 Series will be available in select countries in summer 2016 starting at USD $1,099 and $1,699, respectively.

Already deeply involved in embedded systems and IoT with a platform and developer kit, Intel said it will showcase at the conference “a range of new tools, software, and technologies designed to help IoT developers break through many of those complex barriers and accelerate time to market for new products, services and experiences.”

Meanwhile, Luxoft Holding, Inc. expanded its embedded software expertise into the growing automotive segment. Luxoft announced that it acquired Symtavision GmbH, a provider of automotive software tools and consulting services focused on scheduling analysis, architecture optimization, and timing verification. Luxoft focuses on the cockpit engagements involving Human Machine Interface (HMI), infotainment, navigation, autonomous driving features and telematics. Luxoft is a global IT service provider for the automotive, aviation, energy, finance, telecom, and travel industries.

But the embedded world is not without challenges. This week the Barr Group said that the industry is not taking safety and security seriously enough, according to its 2016 Embedded Systems Safety & Security Survey finding. The key findings: bad design of devices can lead to injury or death, security is less important than delivering on schedule, and software code analysis and testing are inadequate. Fortunately, reliability is a focus of embedded systems designers. And the Embedded World program’s focus is “Internet of Things and Security & Safety”.

As we’ve said before, the biggest challenges for expansion of the IoT are security, interoperability, and data management. As embedded components are critical to the IoT infrastructure, their developers must adequately address all three challenges in the design phase. Applications such as autonomous vehicles and other equipment are key targets of these technologies. So while Dell’s entry into the marketplace and the other new products add promise, there needs to be laser focus on what can go wrong.