Embedded World 2020: Trends to Watch This Year

Embedded World 2020, a leading international trade fair for embedded systems technology, took place in Nuremberg, Germany at the end of February. The challenging circumstances of COVID-19 resulted in a significant cancellation rate among exhibitors and a much lower visitor count than last year. About 200 companies, including big names such as ARM, Intel, Microsoft, Nvidia, and dSPACE withdrew their participation. However, Auriga’s experts decided to go ahead and meet with the customers, prospects, and partners who managed to make it.

Embedded systems technology is a core interest for Auriga with its 30 years’ experience in embedded and system-level software development and testing. Hundreds of state-of-the-art embedded solutions that have been delivered by our skilled engineers to medical device manufacturers, connected vehicles vendors, next-generation telecom providers, and other customers, always make us strive for progress. Our goal is not to merely keep pace with our competition but to be ahead. Embedded World is our annual chance to investigate the latest trends and what the future holds for the embedded systems industry.

Here are some of the main takeaways we observed and discussed at Embedded World 2020.

System-on-Chip Solutions

The global system-on-chip (SOC) market is projected to reach $205.4 billion USD by 2023 according to Allied Market Research. Embedded World 2020 featured many companies offering SoC solutions. Among them was AnSem, a Cyient company that designs and delivers analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits. Auriga partners with Cyient in the MedTech segment and AnSem presented its ASIC solution at the event. The benefits of ASIC include high performance, small size, low cost, low power, and IP protection. ASICs are particularly valuable for medical wearable manufacturers as they help achieve the necessary size, weight, and power requirements for their devices.

HIL Simulation

Most analysts expect the Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) simulation market to double in size in the coming years. At Embedded World 2020, several companies exhibited their platforms for HIL simulation. Some of them offer rich capabilities for simulating analog signals while others offer very high-speed and high-performance frameworks (for example, to simulate high-speed data buses). We were happy to meet with HIL simulation solution providers, whose platforms we are using in our simulation projects and discuss our experiences and the new functions they are currently developing for their products.

Static Code Analysis

The sharpening focus on cybersecurity, reducing fraud, and early error detection—particularly in strictly regulated industries such as healthcare—is expected to drive the static code analysis software market in the very near future. Embedded World 2020 featured several competing static code analysis tools, each of which we have implemented in Auriga’s projects, including solutions for Parasoft, our partner in embedded software test automation. We were excited to learn about how other companies use these tools and what difficulties they encounter and share our own experiences in static and dynamic code analysis in medical device software development projects.

IoT Security

The Internet of Things remains a top trend in the industry and the problems of IoT security will only increase in the future. Current IoT solutions imply that AI makes decisions based on data; however, is this data safe? Nobody can guarantee it because MQTT and other IoT protocols might be riddled with vulnerabilities that can lead to data breaches, malware, and targeted cyber-attacks. In our modern IoT landscape, “secured” likely means “tested” and “verified” (i.e. “works as expected”) rather than “encrypted.” We at Auriga keep track of the latest advancements in IoT protocol security. There remains no “ideal” solution of how to provide efficient IoT data protection, although many ideas were touted at Embedded World 2020.

In Summary

The list of trends in the embedded systems industry can of course go on indefinitely because of the new developments and improvements that are being currently developed. The span of topics addressed at Embedded World 2020 included the rise of AI and embedded vision technology, “connecting embedded intelligence” and how to process huge amounts of obtained data, e-mobility, and energy efficiency.

Embedded World 2020 featured an abundance of new advanced development tools. It is no longer sufficient, as in the old days, to write a program, somehow debug it, and then put it into production. Modern software developers use special tools for code analysis, automatically generate unit tests, and use HIL simulation and advanced debugging tools. This all helps significantly in solving non-trivial tasks and developing high-quality innovative solutions.

In the absence of market leaders, many mid-sized and small companies offered their own HIL platforms, bare-metal hypervisors, and other complex solutions. This year’s event was less crowded but provided more time for networking and conversation; we are already looking forward to visiting again next year!