In case you aren’t familiar with it, EETimes and Embedded.com have been conducting the study annually for over 20 years, though it wasn’t done last year. The industry missed it last year, as the survey is among the most thorough studies of the embedded design markets.
What did we learn?
Some things that weren’t a big surprise: Among the publications’ registered users, 50% said the IoT would be “critically important (7%),” “very important (18%),” or “important (25%),” with “sensor-driven (39%)” and “industrial (42%)” applications being the primary (81%) focus of their development activities. While the study found 45% of respondents saying they are already taking security measures, we anticipate that number growing rapidly.
We also learned that a relatively small number (16%) of respondents were using “advanced technologies.” These included Embedded Vision (50% of those who said they were using advanced technologies), Machine Learning (25%), Embedded Speech (23%), Virtual Reality (14%) or Augmented Reality (11%) in their current embedded projects. Respondents expected to increase their consideration for adoption 50% (to 24%) in their next projects, with machine learning (47%) making the biggest gains by nearly doubling.
Survey respondents said their biggest challenges were debugging (23%) and meeting schedules (22.5%). And the survey found engineers often reuse their code–87% of respondents said they reused code from existing designs.
Over the past several iterations of the study, the percentage of respondents using 32-bit MCUs has hovered around 2/3; this year’s study showed a small drop with commensurate small gains in the use of 8-bit and 64-bit embedded processors. Meaningful? We will have to wait and see.
As in the past–and justifying ST’s ongoing significant investments in the STM32 Open Development Environment–more than 2/3 of respondents said the ecosystem (tools, software, support) was the most important factor in choosing an MCU.
We were especially pleased to see that users recognize this effort, moving ST into a top-3 ranking in an unaided, fill-in-the-blanks, list of vendors and even more important, naming the STM32 family as the first 32-bit chip family they “would consider for [their] next embedded project,” for the third consecutive study.