Why is TARA Systems, with its GUI technology Embedded Wizard, still a member of the ST Partner Program? The question might startle or even shock some readers, but it’s a business case study that is too often overlooked. Indeed, why would a company specializing in UI and UX services still work with and support ST, which provides TouchGFX, a free-to-use UI framework? Not only that, but Embedded Wizard is one of the most recognizable names in the ST Partner Program, thanks to its constant flow of new demos that ST takes pride in featuring in our events and product pages. Clearly, Embedded Wizard occupies a unique space in the ST ecosystem. We thus talked to the company to learn why.
Table of Contents
- The history of the collaboration between ST and TARA Systems
- The innovations made possible by the partnership between ST and TARA Systems
The history of the collaboration between ST and TARA Systems
Fun fact 1: the partnership started nearly 20 years ago
As Manuel Melic, Managing Director BU Embedded Wizard at TARA Systems, explained, one of the reasons his company still plays an active role in the ST Community is that the collaboration started nearly 20 years ago around set-top boxes and digital TV. As we were launching the STi7100 family of SoCs, the market was increasingly clamoring for a way to build UIs rapidly and efficiently. The Embedded Wizard team thus stepped up and worked with ST and our customers to deliver critical graphical interfaces and optimized experiences. Interestingly, all future UI innovations on STM32 platforms stem from this first collaboration. Indeed, as ST and Embedded Wizard grew closer, we continued to work on delivering faster and smoother user interfaces.
Taking a step back, the story of our partnership with TARA Systems teaches the importance of a long-term history between collaborators. Today, too many businesses quickly fall in and out of favor with one another, making long-term business partnerships nearly impossible. Embedded Wizard and ST show that historical commitments have long-lasting beneficial effects. It’s also the raison d’être of the ST Partner Program that aims to facilitate the creation of long-term partnerships by making our teams more accessible. With more than 300 partners, we work with an increasingly diverse range of companies to foster more partnerships.
Fun fact 2: Embedded Wizard’s first UI on an STM32 was on the STM32F4
Sitting down with the Embedded Wizard team for this blog post enabled us to connect the dots from the partnership 20 years ago to today. As Manuel shared,
“By 2015, the market was undergoing radical changes as almost all IoT customers started requiring onboard displays and graphical interfaces. That’s also the time ST launched its STM32F7, which opened the door to drastically better performances. And because we had already created UIs for the STM32F4, we quickly devised a demo for the F7 and showcased it on YouTube, something no one was consistently doing at the time.”
The Embedded Wizard team has continued to build on its previous technologies to keep its innovative streak on STM32 devices. Today, the company has demos showcasing its support for our newly released 2.5D accelerator NeoChrom GPU and applications that take advantage of our latest devices, such as the STM32U599 or our MPUs. Behind the scenes, ST works closely with Embedded Wizard to ensure the company can extract the best UIs from our devices. Similarly, the TARA Systems works intimately with our STM32 community to provide comprehensive UI and UX services. In a nutshell, the lesson that this partnership teaches is that the best business strategies don’t create zero-sum interactions but symbiotic relationships that reward both parties.
The innovations made possible by the partnership between ST and TARA Systems
Lesson 1: It’s all about the added value
The fruits of our long-term collaboration with the Embedded Wizard team are best exemplified by its toolkit capable of creating scalable UIs. Concretely, developers can more rapidly port one environment to a lower-powered or higher-performance microcontroller or from an MCU to an MPU and vice versa. It also showcases capabilities outside the scope of TouchGFX, which explains why Embedded Wizard is thriving, even if ST offers a free-to-use framework. In fact, the ST Authorized Partner explained that they often look at TouchGFX’s source code and even provide feedback. Similarly, we share documentation and development boards with Embedded Wizard to help them ship interfaces for new devices early.
Interestingly, Manuel revealed they don’t use ST’s graphic source code, but the company does download our firmware packages. When supporting a new device, his company heavily relies on our documentation, conversations with ST engineers, and their previous experience, allowing the Embedded Wizard team to add relevant features to its SDK faster. For instance, supporting a hardware decoder in an STM32 MCU takes a few weeks of development, while more extensive technologies like NeoChrom GPU demand a few months. Consequently, thanks to our partnership, customers using Embedded Wizard customers enjoy new features quickly on our partner’s SDK. For instance, supporting the STM32U599 enabled new levels of image rotation and transformation.
Lesson 2: True innovation leads to new applications
Finally, TARA Systems is an essential member of the ST Partner Program because it enables STM32 engineers to benefit from a broader industry adoption. Indeed, the fact that its SDK strives for agnosticism means that teams will have an easier time porting an interface to an iOS and Android program or a web application. By working with the ST Authorized Partner, we ensure that their engine can more easily scale from our devices to new computing platforms, which all come with different requirements, such as various color formats or programming languages. Hence, the ST Partner Program exists to ensure members deliver their best product while bringing innovations that transform where and how customers use our devices.