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Processor Architecture: Embedded System Engineering Survey Data

Engineer suivey data summary obseivations


As more and more engineering organizations look toward higher bit count and more powerful processors to meet the requirements of their next generation designs, the parallel, growing standard for software-driven intelligence continues to demonstrate its greatest impact on the highest end devices.

  • Engineers using 64-bit processors reported, on average, 46.6% of total development costs attributable to software development, the highest rate among the various demographics studied.
  • The functional requirements (and potential) seen within those systems employing 64-bit processors are also driving their users to spend a higher percentage (13.1%) of their development budget on commercial software licensing than any other communitywe surveyed.

In further corroboration of the growing impact of software across device classes, respondents reported that there were more software engineers on their team than any other type of engineer. Furthermore, this characterization held consistent for each processor segment highlighted within this report.

  • Also in concert with this overarching trend, engineering organizations are devoting more assets to software testing, with ‘Test/Verification/Validation’ enginners the second largest type of embedded system engineers reported on current project teams.

The impact of these rapidly evolving requirements that are shaping today's embedded devices can already be seen on the semiconductor supplier landscape. What has long been a somewhat steady and slow moving ecosystem is being forced to change.

For example, Texas Instruments (TI), while remaining a dominant supplier in the market with over 16% of respondents using their products, suffered a decline in share in almost all segments we covered as compared to last year's survey results.

  • Competition in the embedded market in general has grown increasingly fierce and the mobile sector, where TI once enjoyed relatively unfettered growth, has experienced the most rapid change. In fact, TI just recently announced in September that it would be shifting its focus away from mobile in order to pursue greater opportunities for profits within other embedded verticals.
  • While Intel has been doing its part to compete against ARM and gain mobile device design wins, they remain the most frequently cited semiconductor manufacturer in the high-end, 64-bit processor segment.

Market Segmentation, Estimates & Forecasts

Use of MCUs remains high in Industrial sector

Current Project Development by Industry
(Percent of Respondents)

About the Team

Chris Rommel, Vice President.

Steve Balacco, Director.

André Girard, Senior Analyst.

Jared Weiner, Analyst.

Table of Contents

Report Overview

  • Page 4: Report Overview

Critical Takeaways

  • Page 6: Engineer survey data summary observations
  • Page 7: Engineer survey data summary observations (continued)

Scope & Methodology

  • Page 9: Scope of VDCs research
  • Page 10: Scope
  • Page 11: Methodology

Market Definitions & Segmentation

  • Page 13: Definitions that apply to this report
  • Page 14: Definitions that apply to this report continued
  • Page 15: Definitions that apply to this report continued
  • Page 16: Definitions that apply to this report continued

Select Operating System Exhibits

  • Page 18: Use of processor architectures geographically
  • Page 19: Use of processor architectures geographically
  • Page 20: Use of MCUs remains high in Industrial sector
  • Page 21: Use of MCUs remains high in Industrial sector
  • Page 22: Processors are still selected first for now
  • Page 23: Processors are still selected first for now
  • Page 24: Software engineers remain dominant within respondents companies
  • Page 25: Software engineers remain dominant within respondents companies
  • Page 26: 64-bit MCU/MPU users report the highest costs of development
  • Page 27: 64-bit MCU/MPU users report the highest costs of development
  • Page 28: New designs cited by a majority of respondents
  • Page 29: New designs cited by a majority of respondents
  • Page 30: Software and test/verification/validation engineers represent a majority of engineer teams
  • Page 31: Software and test/verification/validation engineers represent a majority of engineer teams
  • Page 32: Project lengths vary from 15 to 22 months
  • Page 33: Project lengths vary from 15 to 22 months
  • Page 34: One third of respondents are behind schedule
  • Page 35: One third of respondents are behind schedule
  • Page 36: Complexity of the application and changes in specifications cited most attributable to project delays
  • Page 37: Complexity of the application and changes in specifications cited most attributable to project delays
  • Page 38: 32-bit architecture remains the most used
  • Page 39: 32-bit architecture remains the most used
  • Page 40: Multicore and multiprocessor architecture use growing with high expectations
  • Page 41: Multicore and multiprocessor architecture use growing with high expectations
  • Page 42: Processing units vary depending on architecture
  • Page 43: Processing units vary depending on architecture
  • Page 44: Processing units vary depending on architecture
  • Page 45: Processing units vary depending on architecture
  • Page 46: Texas Instruments leads most segments
  • Page 47: Texas Instruments leads most segments
  • Page 48: Texas Instruments leads most segments
  • Page 49: Texas Instruments leads most segments
  • Page 50: Processor family of processor(s) varies between architectures
  • Page 51: Processor family of processor(s) varies between architectures
  • Page 52: Processor family of processor(s) varies between architectures
  • Page 53: Experience programming multicore/multiprocessing designs rising
  • Page 54: Experience programming multicore/multiprocessing designs rising
  • Page 55: Operating system rated most ready of commercial software solutions
  • Page 56: Operating system rated most ready of commercial software solutions
  • Page 57: Operating system(s) used on target embedded system development vary
  • Page 58: Operating system(s) used on target embedded system development vary
  • Page 59: Operating system(s) used on target embedded system development vary
  • Page 60: Operating system(s) used on target embedded system development vary
  • Page 61: Compilers, debuggers and editors remain the most widely used tools
  • Page 62: Compilers, debuggers and editors remain the most widely used tools
  • Page 63: Over half of overall respondents outsource current project tasks
  • Page 64: Over half of overall respondents outsource current project tasks
  • Page 65: More engineers expect outsourcing to remain flat
  • Page 66: More engineers expect outsourcing to remain flat

LIST OF EXHIBITS

Appendix

  • Exhibit 1: Survey Respondents Segmented by Country in which Currently Working
  • Exhibit 2: Survey Respondents Segmented by Geographic Sub-Region
  • Exhibit 3: Survey Respondents Segmented by Geographic Region
  • Exhibit 4: Types of Company/Organization for which Respondents Work
  • Exhibit 5: Survey Respondents Segmented by Primary Role within Company
  • Exhibit 6: Number and Types of Embedded System Engineers at Respondents Companies
  • Exhibit 7: Number of Different Embedded Engineering Projects Started by Respondents Companies in 2011
  • Exhibit 8: Number of Different Embedded Engineering Project Starts Expected by Respondents Companies in 2012
  • Exhibit 9: Survey Respondents Best Estimate of the Fully-Loaded Labor Cost (including salary, benefits, overhead, etc.) for a Typical Engineer Involved in the Engineering of Embedded Mobile Systems/Devices, Software, Hardware, Processors, and/or Processor IP Products at their Location
  • Exhibit 10: Number of Different Embedded Engineering Products Shipped by Respondents Companies in 2011
  • Exhibit 11: Number of Different Embedded Engineering Products Expect to be Shipped by Respondents Companies in 2012
  • Exhibit 12: Percentage Embedded/Mobile Devices/Systems Shipped in 2011 by OS Type
  • Exhibit 13: Survey Respondents Product Design Type
  • Exhibit 14: Type of Product Being Developed in Current Project
  • Exhibit 15: Survey Respondents Segmented by the Target Industry/application of their Current Project
  • Exhibit 16: Survey Respondents Segmented by Automotive
  • Exhibit 17: Survey Respondents Segmented by Consumer Electronics
  • Exhibit 18: Survey Respondents Segmented by Digital Signage
  • Exhibit 19: Survey Respondents Segmented by Energy/Power
  • Exhibit 20: Survey Respondents Segmented by Industrial Automation
  • Exhibit 21: Survey Respondents Segmented by Medical Devices
  • Exhibit 22: Survey Respondents Segmented by Military/Aerospace
  • Exhibit 23: Survey Respondents Segmented by Mobile Phones
  • Exhibit 24: Survey Respondents Segmented by Office/Business Automation
  • Exhibit 25: Survey Respondents Segmented by Rail/Transportation
  • Exhibit 26: Survey Respondents Segmented by Retail Automation
  • Exhibit 27: Survey Respondents Segmented by Telecom/datacom
  • Exhibit 28: Intended Use of the Device under Development
  • Exhibit 29: Estimate of the Total Project Length in Calendar Months (Actual Time from Initial Specification to Shipment)
  • Exhibit 30: Estimate of the Number and Types of Full-time Engineers that are Working on Respondents Current Projects
  • Exhibit 31: Estimate of the Number of Units that will Ship per Year Once the Current Product has been Designed
  • Exhibit 32: Estimate of the Total Cost of Development (Includes labor, overhead, tools licensing, etc.)
  • Exhibit 33: Estimate of the Percentage of Total Development Cost Related to Software Development
  • Exhibit 34: Estimate of the Percentage of Total Software Development Cost Related to Licensing Commercial Software
  • Exhibit 35: Estimate of the Approximate per Unit Production Cost of the Current Embedded Product Respondents are Developing
  • Exhibit 36: Estimated Costs of Components as Percentages of the per Unit Production Cost
  • Exhibit 37: Estimate of the per Unit/Device Sale Price
  • Exhibit 38: Factors of Importance in the Development of the Product
  • Exhibit 39: Engineering Tasks Outsourced to External Companies
  • Exhibit 40: Expected Change in the Amount of Outsourcing for a Typical Project at Respondents Companies
  • Exhibit 41: Project Tasks in which Respondents are Personally Involved on the Current Project
  • Exhibit 42: Percent of Respondents Time Spent in Different Tasks over the Course of the Current Project
  • Exhibit 43: Adherence to Schedule for Current Project (or Best Estimate Upon Completion)
  • Exhibit 44: Respondents Estimation of Factors Most Attributable to Projects Delay
  • Exhibit 45: Processing Unit(s) Used on Current Designs
  • Exhibit 46: Processing Unit(s) Expected to be Used in Two Years
  • Exhibit 47: Processing Architecture Used on the Current Project
  • Exhibit 48: Processing Architecture Expected to be Used in Two Years
  • Exhibit 49: Respondents Experience Working with/Programming Multicore and/or Multiprocessor Designs
  • Exhibit 50: Respondents Rating of Training Available to Engineers to Learn Multicore Programming as Offered by the Following
  • Exhibit 51: Respondents Rating of Overall Capabilities and Maturity of Commercial Software Enabling Multicore Systems/Devices
  • Exhibit 52: Total Number of ICs/processors (on separate silicon) Used in the Current Project
  • Exhibit 53: Total Number of ICs/processors (on separate silicon) Expected Next Two Years
  • Exhibit 54: Total Number of Cores (across all ICs/processors) Used in the Current Project
  • Exhibit 55: Total Number of Cores (across all ICs/processors) Expected Next Two Years
  • Exhibit 56: Multiprocessing Methodology Employed for Current Project
  • Exhibit 57: Multiprocessing Methodology for Project Expected in Two Years
  • Exhibit 58: Multiprocessing Architecture Used in the Current Project
  • Exhibit 59: Multiprocessing Architecture for Project Expected in Two Years
  • Exhibit 60: Instruction Set Architecture(s) Used within the Embedded System/device Currently Being Designed
  • Exhibit 61: Instruction Set Architecture(s) Expected Use within Embedded Systems/devices in the Next Two Years
  • Exhibit 62: Semiconductor Supplier(s) Providing the Processors Used within the Embedded System/device Currently Being Designed
  • Exhibit 63: Expected Semiconductor Supplier(s) Providing the Processors Used within the Embedded System/device in the Next Two Years
  • Exhibit 64: Processor Family(ies) of Processor(s) Used within the Embedded System/device Currently being Designed
  • Exhibit 65: Processor Family(ies) of Processor(s) Expected Use within the Embedded System/device in the Next Two Years
  • Exhibit 66: Most Important Criteria When Selecting the Processor(s) Used Within the Target Embedded System/Device on the Current Project
  • Exhibit 67: Number of Operating Systems Required by the Target Embedded Device/System on the Current Project
  • Exhibit 68: Operating System(s) Used on the Target Embedded System on the Previous Project
  • Exhibit 69: Operating System(s) Used on the Target Embedded System on the Current Project
  • Exhibit 70: Operating System(s) Expected to be Used on the Target Embedded System on the Next Project
  • Exhibit 71: Issues Making it Difficult to Switch to a Commercial Product
  • Exhibit 72: Most Useful Resources for Informing the Selection/Purchase of Embedded Software Solutions
  • Exhibit 73: Other Software Stack Components Required by Current Device/system
  • Exhibit 74: Other Software Stack Components Expected to be Required by a Similar Project in Two Years
  • Exhibit 75: Current Target OS Same Supplier/Brand as Most Recent Similar Project
  • Exhibit 76: Importance of Embedded Operating System Characteristics during OS Selection for Current Project
  • Exhibit 77: Publicly Obtained Open Source Operating System(s) Used on Target Device for Current Project
  • Exhibit 78: Commercially Licensed Operating Systems Used on Target Device for Current Project
  • Exhibit 79: Commercially Licensed or Consortia Obtained Open Source Operating System(s) Used on Target Device for Current Project
  • Exhibit 80: Respondents Organization Policy towards the Use of Open Source Software
  • Exhibit 81: Respondents Familiarity with the Concept of Virtualization for Mobile/Embedded Systems
  • Exhibit 82: Current Development Project Using Virtualization Run-time Software
  • Exhibit 83: Expected Future Development Project Use of Virtualization Run-time Software
  • Exhibit 84: Primary Advantages from the Use of Virtualization
  • Exhibit 85: Primary Disadvantages from the Use of Virtualization
  • Exhibit 86: Is Security Important for the Device/System under Development?
  • Exhibit 87: Are you using either of the following solutions for the development of your embedded software/system (Do not include their use for support of your host development platform or corporate server)?
  • Exhibit 88: Types of Security Issues that are Important
  • Exhibit 89: Current Development Project Actions Taken to Limit Potential Security Issues
  • Exhibit 90: Confidence in Meeting Security Requirement for Product Under Development
  • Exhibit 91: Respondents Company Approach to Selecting an Embedded/Mobile OS
  • Exhibit 92: Components that Respondents Company Selected First for Current Project
  • Exhibit 93: Primary Host Development Environment Used for Current Development Projects
  • Exhibit 94: Primary Host Development Environment Expected to be Used for Development Projects in Two Years
  • Exhibit 95: Other Types of Devices Considered to be a Good Fit for Android
  • Exhibit 96: Number and Types of Embedded System Engineers at Respondents Companies
  • Exhibit 97: Approximate Cost Budgeted for All of the Tools Respondents are Using on the Current Project
  • Exhibit 98: Expected Change in Respondents Tool Budgets
  • Exhibit 99: Percent Change in Respondents Tool Budgets
  • Exhibit 100: Types of Tool(s) Used for Current Project
  • Exhibit 101: Most Important Characteristics When Selecting Tools Used on Current Project
  • Exhibit 102: Respondents Use of an IDE for Current Project Development
  • Exhibit 103: IDE(s) Used for Current Project Development
  • Exhibit 104: Source of Development Tools for ARM- or MIPS-based Current Development Project
  • Exhibit 105: Number of Commercial/third Party Lines of Software Code in Final Design for Current Project
  • Exhibit 106: Number of Open Source/third-party Lines of Software Code in Final Design for Current Project
  • Exhibit 107: Number of In-house Developed Lines of Software Code in Final Design for Current Project
  • Exhibit 108: Source of In-house Developed Software Code for Current Project
  • Exhibit 109: Expected Percent Increase (or Decrease) in the Total Lines of Software Code for the Next Project
  • Exhibit 110: Language(s) Used to Develop Software for Current Project
  • Exhibit 111: Description of the Health of the Current Engineering Job Market in the Country of Respondent
  • Exhibit 112: Annual Salary of Survey Respondents
  • Exhibit 113: Level of Product Criticality to the Success of Current Project
  • Exhibit 114: Engineers Perception of the Return on Investment for the Products Used for Current Project
  • Exhibit 115: Engineers Perception of Impact on End Product Quality by Tools Used for Current Project
  • Exhibit 116: Engineers Perception of Impact on Project Schedule (Time to Market) by Tools Used for Current Project
  • Exhibit 117: Engineers Likeliness to Use Same Brand of Tools on Future Projects
  • Exhibit 118: Engineers Rating of Ease/Difficulty in Learning to Use Tools
  • Exhibit 119: Engineers Rating of Importance of Integration with Other Tools Being Used
  • Exhibit 120: Engineers Perception of the Products Impact on the Development of Respondents Multicore/multiprocessing System
  • Exhibit 121: Engineers Rating of Tool Suppliers Support and Service
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