Thought Leadership

Embedded World – “This is not EDA”

By Colin Walls

Last week, as I previously previewed, was Embedded World in Nuremberg, Germany. Now that I am back home, footsore and tired [and still harboring the symptoms of a head cold that makes traveling even less fun than normal], I can reflect on my experiences.

When I return from such events, it is always expected that I will have gained a firm impression of what the event was all about and what trends were apparent …

I have to confess that I am always rather daunted by requests to critique conferences, trade shows and suchlike. The reason is that I always feel that I have lacked exposure. I just never have the time to explore the show floor in any depth and very rarely get a chance to attend many conference sessions. So, what impressions I do have come from brief glimpses of the conference and a perusal of the program, along with talking to people who visit our booth.

Some observations:

  • The trade show is thriving – 5 big halls, full of booths and throngs of visitors.
  • The conference is well managed and organized, with a minimum of sales pitches.
  • The “Big Thing” that everyone seemed to want to talk about was the Internet of Things [no surprises there!].
  • Multicore continues to be a strong theme.
  • There was a lot of interest in Automotive. This was partly a reflection of the strong push that Mentor Embedded has in this direction and the fact that we were in Germany, where they are passionate about cars.

So, no big shocks or unpredicted trends. The IoT bandwagon is quite entertaining, as many companies are trying so hard to find a reason to use the terminology. One RTOS vendor has announced an “IoT ready” version of their kernel, which they have scaled down to around 20K. We feel that Nucleus RTOS is on the large side for some IoT applications – and it can scale down to more like 7K!

I did have an intriguing conversation …

A long term discussion issue has been the differences between embedded software and electronic design automation [EDA] – specifically when we look at business models, pricing and marketing. Ever since Mentor Graphics acquired Microtec nearly 20 years ago, these differences have not been well understood by die-hard EDA folks. This year, a colleague of mine, who is a veteran in the EDA world, came along to Embedded World to see for himself what all the excitement was about. His comment to me, on seeing the vitality and the vast array of different kinds of businesses at the show, “This is not EDA. Now I understand what you guys mean when you say it is a different marketplace.” I am glad that he saw the light.

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