Thought Leadership

Not the Embedded Systems Conference

By Colin Walls

Next week, the Embedded Systems Conference will take place in San Jose, California. Except that it has a new name: ESC is now part of DESIGN West, which is an aggregate of a number of conferences. Personally, I do not care for the new name, as the word “design” has a very broad meaning way beyond electronic systems. But I guess I will get used to it.

The event will be interesting from many viewpoints. It is the largest trade show and conference in North America dedicated to embedded systems, so there is something for everyone. With indications that business is beginning to recover from the recent financial challenges, I am looking forward to seeing what innovations are being showcased this year.

Of course, Mentor Embedded will be there, but we are taking a different approach this year …

The usual format for trade show booths, at ESC and elsewhere, is to have a number of “demo pods” – small desks with a computer, manned by an engineer keen to show visitors the latest features of their product. We realized that this was not really the best use of floor space. Such demos are rarely very productive, as time pressure and the distractions of the trade show environment mean that going into much depth is not possible.

So, it was decided to build a booth with three areas:

  • In the theater, a series of highly focused and succinct technical presentations – each no more than 15 minutes – offer the latest information on key technologies, such as low power design, open source and embedded Linux. These are supplemented by hourly briefings from some key partners of Mentor Embedded, like ARM, Freescale and MIPS.
  • In the hands-on workshop area, you can have the chance to develop and debug an actual Linux application on a PandaBoard using the Sourcery CodeBench IDE.
  • On the demo stage, come and meet “Stella” a low power, self-balancing robot.

Full details may be found here – do come along and see us on booth #1908. If you would like copies of any of the theater presentation slides, please email me.

For me personally, the show will be an exciting time, as, all being well, we will see the first copies of the second edition of my book, Embedded Software: The Works, which will be hot off the press. We will have some viewing copies on our booth. If you would like to buy a copy, the publishers, Elsevier/Newnes [Booth #838] will have some stock. As with the first edition, my employers have generously allowed all royalties to be paid to a very worthwhile charity.


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