Thought Leadership


By Colin Walls

I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview of the results from UBM’s annual survey of embedded developers. This survey is carried out every year and provides a valuable opportunity to see trends by comparing year on year changes. To be frank, a lot of the data is unsurprising and many factors never seem to change. However, from time to time, clear trends emerge and there can even be surprises. This year, there were two particular results that caught my attention …

First, among the factors that lead developers to select a particular CPU, the availability of a broad ecosystem, that supports the chip, is clearly seen as critical by respondents to the survey. To me, this was very pleasing, as Mentor Embedded anticipated this increasing requirement some time ago and has expended significant resources in helping a number of key semiconductor companies build comprehensive ecosystems.

The second was a big surprise. It was not just a surprise to me – the UBM guys said that they had double checked the data to be sure, but there is a clear trend showing that the number of projects being started, which use a custom OS [at least as one of the OSes in the system], is on the increase, having been in significant decline for many years. This is very mystifying [to me] and I am really interested in finding out what the motivations might be. Are developers dissatisfied with the products on the market? Are they unaware of the vast choice of products, both is terms of technical features and business models? Is there a perception [misconception!] that this might be a way to save money? If you have any suggestions or insights, I would love to hear from you by comment or email.

UBM will be presenting the full results in the Expo floor theatre at DESIGN West/ESC in San Jose, California on Thursday 29th March at 1pm. There will also be a webinar in April for those not at DESIGN West. More information about these results should be available then.


0 thoughts about “Trends
  • Colin,
    regarding the UBM survey and the usage of custom OS, I have seen for some time other surveys reporting what the UBM survey reports just now, i.e. that custom OS´s have the biggest share across embedded projects, e.g.

    I guess many companies are using their previous investment leveraging the software they have and which fits their needs, perhaps developed throughout many years, and which they know really well.

    However I do not think that many companies are starting now to develop an in-house OS from scratch. I agree with you that this is not at all a way to save money.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at