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Embedded Design Trends

Last week, EE Times had an interesting piece by Rick Merritt that catalogued ten trends in embedded design. The trend results are from a survey that was taken earlier in the year.  (Here’s the link where you can see the full list and the underlying survey data it’s based on.)

The first trend found is that, while WiFi is still “twice as popular as the second most used wireless transport”, which is Bluetooth (LE/Smart), as is number three (Bluetooth classic), Bluetooth is gaining ground and momentum. We’ve seen this demand, and we have a Bluetooth expansion kit (based on LSR’s TiWi-R2 Transceiver Module) for our MitySOM-335x development kits.

Another trend: more multi-processing, with an even, 50-50 split between the single processor camp and those with designs based on multiple processors. The average number of microprocessors employed among respondents was 2.4. (Four percent of respondents used more than ten!) Our customers are part of this trend, with a number using the MityDSP-L138, which features a dual core (ARM-DSP) processor.

And it looks like 8-bit processors are on the way out. (Sixteen-bit, too.) Nearly two-thirds of current designs use 32-bit processors. This is certainly consistent with what we see among our customers. What we haven’t seen so much is the trend that EE Times spotted: the steady decline in the use of FPGA, which has decreased in use “from 45% six years ago to 31% last year, rising very slightly this year to 32%.” We’re advised to “Stay tuned to see whether we have we hit the bottom or the decline continues.” We’ll be on the lookout among our customer base, too, but we’re still seeing a fair amount of interest in FPGA’s.

A trend which caught our eye was the one that noted that “skeds are slipping.”

…respondents said their embedded design teams are getting a little smaller and slipping schedules more often. In 2014, 41% of all projects finished on schedule or ahead of schedule, and 59% finished late or were canceled.

Not to blow our own horn too loudly, but one of the best ways to deal with smaller teams and slipped schedules is to use a SoM from Critical Link!