Intelligent-connected mobile devices driving significant growth in embedded
The design of highly sophisticated systems has become the norm - with the
complexity of both software and hardware platforms continuing to advance. VDC
continues to find significant growth around intelligent, smart-connected
The average embedded system/device continues to require greater amounts of
software to serve the requirements of both suppliers and end users. Among many
other functions, today's embedded systems demand more sophisticated system
interfaces, increasingly complex graphical elements as well as advanced wired
and wireless communication capabilities.
While more complex system features often necessitate additional processing
resources and potentially more advanced hardware in order to enable new
capabilities, software design and test has become a critical part of the
embedded system engineering lifecycle.
As a result of a greater overall focus on software as means to enable
increased functionality, a large number of embedded systems manufacturers are
currently dedicating more of their resources to software engineering tasks. As
such, these companies are highly motivated to improve their software
engineering efficiency and are also looking for ways to initiate the software
design and verification process earlier within the system engineering cycle,
rather than wait until the hardware elements have been fully engineered.
Within the greater context of the embedded market are two complex topics .
safety and security.
It is difficult these days not to find articles, whitepapers, or webinar
announcements, in any of the major industry publications, web portals, and
embedded software solution and silicon providers' web sites. The discussion
around safety-critical is embedded, however, while a general search of the web
might indicate to some that most of the discussion on security centers around
the enterprise and desktop domains, it is clear that in the last year or so
the dialog and buzz around security and embedded devices has ratcheted up.
Strategic Issues, Trends & Market Drivers
New functionality demands are driving the complexity of device/system
Controlling software development costs and Security and the Common Criteria
time to market.
- For many years, operating system software for safety-critical systems has
been developed in-house or proprietary due to the developer's perceived risk
in lack of control and in-depth understanding of the behavior of COTS software.
- New functionality demands are driving the complexity of device/system
development, the volume of software that needs to be developed and tested, and
the proof required for certification.
- The increasing availability of COTS products for operating systems and
tools can offer developers a range of choices for safety-oriented software
Migration to more sophisticated processor architectures.
- Complexity of processor architectures, especially multicore, increases
unpredictability as a result of the lack of availability of mature diagnostic
tools or understanding by embedded engineers.
- Virtualization - Growing need to securely separate critical
processes/applications from user-facing functionality in safety - and
- Embedded hypervisors (sometimes referred to as microvisors) have emerged
as one of the primary software technologies associated with enabling embedded
The Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation (Common
Criteria/CC) was created in 1999 by a number of governments as a means to
agree on a set or framework of security criteria for Information Technology
- Since the introduction of the Common Criteria there have been outside
parties that have looked at the US implementation and raised some concerns
- The process is very costly and depending on the evaluation assurance level
being claimed can have an extended time frame measured in years for
- Sunset of the Separation Kernel Protection Profile (SKPP) by the NSA,
Information Assurance Directorate effective June 1, 2011.
- A fast moving COTS market for commodity platforms has resulted in
complexity and challenges to product assurance maintenance and costs.
- These issues are compounded by a fast moving market for commercial
products, especially processors, where an evaluated product can be obsolete
even before certification.
Market Segmentation, Estimates & Forecasts
More software choices result in growing use of COTS technology; Security
market may start small but expansion is imminent
Worldwide Shipments of Commercial
Safety Critical Software
Development, Runtime Technologies
& Related Services Through 2013
As a result of growing use of COTS technology, real-time operating system and
tool vendors provide a compelling value proposition to developers through
certifiable solutions that can reduce development and testing costs and
schedules. This can be particularly advantageous to developers using design
automation tools to model and specify the software, include production code
generation tools, and generate the documentation required to support
Over the forecast period VDC estimates moderate growth for this product
category as OEMs developing safety-critical products will have more
commercially available choices to leverage as a means to minimize project
costs and schedule risks, control quality and reliability, and increase
Is Security Important for the
Device / System Under
(Percent of Respondents)
Ubiquitous connectivity of systems has created security challenges that now
has OEMs seeking out COTS solutions to meet their security requirements. The
embedded operating system is one product area of growing interest from
embedded engineers as a means to meet assurance to whatever level of security
is defined for the device/system to be developed.
In 2010 VDC estimates the market to be small in scale for secure OS products
as compared to the safety-critical COTS software products market. However, we
expect that over the forecast period the market will expand significantly as
engineering organizations look to secure OS certified solutions not as an
afterthought but integrated into product development, as the foundation for
delivering embedded system security.
About the Team
Christopher Rommel - Vice President.
Steve Balacco - Practice Director.
Andre Girard - Senior Analyst.
Jared Weiner - Analyst.