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Key industry drivers in the embedded technology sector

20/05/19 James McGrath Consultant, Contract & Interim

The ever-present demand for faster, cutting-edge electronic solutions are driving the embedded technology sector to new heights as trends evolve in both business and consumer use.

An embedded system is a combination of software and hardware which together facilitate the accurate functioning of a target device.

The significant characteristics of an embedded system which is either programmable or fixed in capabilities are speed, power, size, accuracy, reliability and adaptability.

 

Embedded systems can be defined as application-specific, special purpose systems and they’re designed typically for meeting real-time constraints. These systems are used across a diverse range of application areas which include automotive, telecommunication, healthcare, industrial, consumer electronics, military and aerospace among others.

The embedded systems market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.6% and will reach 95400 Million US$ by 2023. Today there are numerous markets and opportunities for high-tech products, and their increasing intelligence can support user interactions.

James McGrath, Redline’s Contract and Interim recruitment specialist takes a closer look at some of the industry drivers in the embedded technology sector.

“The integration of an embedded microcontroller system in any product stretches its abilities of communication and connection to multiple networks and devices. Moreover, revolutionary semiconductor technology innovations in microprocessors has expanded the system’s application in various industries.

Key requirements for an efficient embedded system often include low cost and a high degree of responsiveness and reliability. All microprocessor systems perform the same essential functions, that is, data or signal input, storage, processing and output.”

For example, the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) is altering the dynamics of the smartphone device market. It has opened up an excellent avenue for a software system called embedded Java. Embedded sensors, image recognition, and near field communication payment technologies are the IoT components which are embedded in smartphone devices. Such application is vital for the adoption of the integrated system in the coming years.

Along with technological change comes a higher demand for electronics jobs in embedded systems. These commonly fall into three main areas: systems engineering/architecture; electronic hardware design and software development during the product life cycle.

Electronics Hardware Engineer jobs

Electronic hardware engineers research, design, develop, test electronic and computer systems and components such as microcontrollers / processors, circuit boards, memory devices, networks, and routers. Typical tasks include

  • System analysis: Defining the requirements of the system from the hardware perspective. This can be determining the channels of communication required; choosing wireless or wired and which specific bus/standard to use (WIFI, Bluetooth, ZigBee, CAN, SPI, UART etc.)
  • System Design: Selecting the electronic components which provide the required capabilities. For example: A microcontroller that has the required amount of RAM, ROM, FLASH etc. and components for a specialised task.
  • Design: The system has to be first realised on paper (or a simulation). Then a hardware prototype has to be prepared.
  • Test: Once the design is available as a simulation or as a prototype, it has to be tested. Testing is in two equally important parts: Verification and Validation. Verification is deciding if the system does what is expected. Validation is deciding if what the system does is correct.

Software Engineers are similar:

  • System analysis: Defining the requirements of the embedded system from the software perspective. Determining timing requirements of the software. It may also involve choosing the language, tools and support software required e.g. C, C++, Python, Linux etc.
  • System Design: A high level design and low-level design is prepared. High level design defines the various modules, their responsibilities and interactions. Low level design is an overview of how to realise the requirements of each module.
  • Design: Which involves coding - the low-level design is converted into embedded code.
  • Test: Once the initial code is ready, it has to undergo testing. This is generally in four phases: Unit test, function test, system test, integration test. Each phase takes a higher-level abstraction view of the system. Even here verification and validation are applicable.

The key players in the embedded technology market include Intel Corporation, Infineon Technologies, NXP, Marvell Technology, Microchip, Renesas Electronics , STM, Samsung Electronics and Texas Instruments  among others.

Growth of the robotics market is expected to create a parallel market for the embedded systems. Development of healthcare, smart automobile applications, the rise of machine-to-machine communication and expanding the role of signalling and electric control creates further opportunities. Currently, the consumer electronics sector is experiencing transformational growth which is attributed to the influence of trends such as mobility, miniaturization, and digitisation.

The consumer electronics industry is one of the major end-use sectors covering products such as smartphones, LED TVs, STB’s, home appliances and media services

Automotive applications are projected to generate the highest revenue with growing demand attributed to the increase for high electronic content in the vehicles and hybrid/electric vehicles.

While some embedded systems can be relatively simple, the future will see advances in supplant human decision-making or offer capabilities beyond what a human could provide. For instance, some aviation systems, including those used in drones, are able to integrate sensor data and act upon that information faster than a human could, permitting new kinds of operating features.

Redline are specialists in electronics recruitment with a broad variety of clients in some of the fastest moving industry segments including Automotive, Aerospace, Broadcast, Communications, Consumer, Defence, Industrial Control, Medical and Semiconductors. Click here to see our latest electronic engineer jobs. 

With so much change happening in the electronics industry, now is the perfect time to take the next step in your career. Speak to Redline today, we have over 35 years of technology recruitment experience. Discover your future or send your CV to our team of talented recruiters today.

For further information, please contact James McGrath on 01582 878870 or email JMcGrath@RedlineGroup.com.