It is this time of the year again; only hours until the year ends. It is strange how fast time flies these days; year after year seems to pass at an accelerated speed. Perhaps I am getting older, but I hope it is because the industry is evolving at a faster speed than ever before. What was 2015 like for the embedded systems industry, and what can we expect from 2016?
I think we can safely say the answer depends on who you ask. For Atollic, 2015 has been a very good year, which we ended with the launch of TrueSTUDIO v5.4.
We also introduced a completely new freemium business model, where we give away TrueSTUDIO Lite for free without any code-size limitation. This provides the entire ARM Cortex development market with a high-quality free solution the industry can use and standardize on.
At the same time, our popular perpetual license model for TrueSTUDIO Pro was extended with the option of also subscribing to a license at a low monthly cost. With the new subscription model for TrueSTUDIO Pro, embedded developers can get access to professional features like static code analysis, live variable watch, tracing, runtime error and crash analysis, and kernel-aware RTOS debugging for only 49 EUR / 59 USD month.
The results have not waited; for example the download volumes of TrueSTUDIO Lite by far exceed our wildest expectations, and the feedback from the market has been tremendous. Now, anyone can get started with ARM Cortex development for free, and upgrade to a professional tool solution if or when need arises; without the risk of changing the tool solution to another supplier in the middle of the project.
Looking beyond Atollic, we continue to see several clear trends in the industry. One is the strong drive towards standardization on the Eclipse IDE, the GNU GCC/GDB command line tools, and ARM Cortex processors of course. But there are now a large amount of ARM Cortex device manufactures with increased difficulty in finding differentiation, and we now see mergers and acquisitions to consolidate this market. The recent merger between NXP and Freescale is the latest example, and we may see more.
No-one have missed the strong hype around IoT of course, and I think 2016 will be the year readymade software platforms with end-to-end solutions come into wide-spread use, helping IoT product developers to reduce their development costs and put products to the market faster. In my mind, the lack of technology is not the main problem for large-scale adoption of IoT; but lack of standardization, or competing standards are. A main worry is security as well.
What are your thoughts on the embedded systems market in 2015, and your predictions for 2016? It would be very interesting to hear – feel free to leave your own comments below!