Embedded System Industry – Trends & Challenges

Mr. Sanjay Malla, CEO, Toradex Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd.
Mr. Sanjay Malla, CEO, Toradex Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd.

Wide usage of IOT, M2M, HMIs, and MMIs applications will stimulate growth in the embedded industry. Cost definitely remains the dominant decision making criterion in this industry, hence the selection of right processors for the COMs is very crucial.

Going by the trends, the 32-bit embedded ARM® processor will continue to challenge x86 processors. The deciding factor in this field of technology is a low cost module which will deliver high end performance.

In fact, the primary factors which will push the ARM® processors to control the majority share in the Computer-on-Module (COM) segment are definitely, low cost, low-power consumption, and higher processing speeds. The challenge here would be to re-engineer the products and select the right components.  Selection of the right components and the right System-on-Chip (SoC) partner is a critical factor which decides the long term availability and pricing of the module.

Key Trends

Wide usage of IOT, M2M, HMIs, and MMIs applications will stimulate growth in the embedded industry. These applications require higher/faster levels of processing and connectivity features. In addition, security features will be of prime importance and that will push hardware suppliers to design more robust solutions. In order to penetrate deeper into the market, we believe the deciding factor would be who offers more value at lower costs.

Cost definitely remains the dominant decision making criterion in this industry, hence the selection of right processors for the COMs is very crucial.

Going by the industry trends, we expect the embedded boards market to grow at a CAGR of 10% plus, while COMs will continue to be the highest growing product category with an estimated growth rate of 20%. In India, we can expect even higher growth rates as the category is at the infancy stage and is still evolving. With trends moving towards touch displays, high speed connectivity and ready to use hardware solutions, we are optimistic of a high growth in this industry.

COMs vs SOMs

The terms “Computer-on-Module” and “System-on-Module” are used synonymously to refer to a type of embedded single board computer which does not contain any real world interfaces, and therefore needs to be used in conjunction with a carrier board (sometimes referred to as a base board). They are generally built around microprocessors, SoCsand microcontrollers. They integrate additional devices and peripherals which are needed to realize a fully functional computer, which normally includes RAM, non-volatile storage and power supplies.

The terms “Computer-on-Module” and “System-on-Module” are used interchangeably and are widely accepted as synonyms.

The COM industry in currently at a stage of infancy owing to the low knowledge base, which essentially is on account of the lack of awareness about COMs. Given this, it is required that we develop this category.

While doing so, it is imperative that we remember that India is a highly “value-conscious” market, which is why we have to ensure that we always deliver superior value to our customers at reasonable prices.

We are seeing companies from Europe, Israel and Taiwan entering India and this itself goes to show that there is a long term potential in the market.

Toradex’s key USP

Toradex’s offers right pricingand right quality with super-fast support. Another key aspect is the fact that we leverage global economies of scale as we do not have customized application-specific COMs.

We offer a wide range of highly configurable embedded modules which find their use in a diverse array of applications, across various verticals.

Products Features

Toradex-Colibri-VF50
Toradex-Colibri-VF50

Some of our latest products use asymmetricalheterogeneous dual core features; which essentially means two integrated but independently operating CPU cores which can communicate with each other as they reside on the same system bus, while heterogeneous means the CPUs are of different architecture like ARM® Cortex™ A9 and Cortex™ M4 which allows for running a second real time OS on M4 core for time and security critical applications.

Toradex COMs are ruggedized, low-power, highly configurable modules which run on highly optimized multicore processors and advanced interfaces such as Gigabit Ethernet, PCIe, and SATA. Our modules are completely pin-compatible within a product family.

Our particular innovations in the embedded segment include boards which possess features such as Direct Breakout™ technology, which allows the routing of signals directly from the module connector to outside world Input/output ports, without crossing traces or traversing layers. In addition, our cold boot time of 480 ms for a Windows Embedded image is a world record for a COM.

It is important to note that use of COMs minimizes risk as platforms are tested and proven globally. Additionally, our COMs help speed up development cycles, given that COMs offer both, hardware and software components which drastically reduces design time. Moreover, since our modules are manufactured in large volumes, customers can leverage economies of scale.

Key Customers

Toradex’s products cater to practically any industry you can think of. Just as a personal computer can be used for a multitude of tasks from playing games and surfing the web to designing cars and aircraft, our modules are not application-specific which makes them fit for practically any industry application.

Some of the key applications are Industrial Automation, Medical Devices, Digital Signage, Point of Sale, Automotive and many more.

Future Prospects

We will continue to develop this category in the country, whilst expanding our operations and bringing in more investment into the Indian market.  Simultaneously, we will strengthen our engineering resources so as to create India specific products and offer superior services and support to our customers.

We have expanded our operations in India with offices in Pune and Chennai. We already have a presence in Bangalore and Delhi. We are also working towards manufacturing the products in India itself, which can be done through an EMS partner. For this, we are already at an advance stage of discussion with some of the shortlisted EMS companies in the region.

We continuously monitor our product offerings and based on emerging market needs, we do strengthen our product portfolio on a timely basis.

We have new products in the Apalis™family, based on Freescale™ i.MX 6 Quad and Dual core.  Also, by the 2nd quarter, we will be offering two new products in the Colibri™ family based on Colibri iMX6DL & S platforms.

 For more details about Toradex, please visit : http://www.toradex.com/

 

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