Tuxera has attended Embedded World for many years now, it being one of the premier events for embedded technology not just in Europe, but the world. It’s always an excellent opportunity for us to speak directly to our partners and other industry players. This year was no different, and though an impact from fears of illness was expected – after all Mobile World Congress was cancelled – the event proved insightful and productive.
Breathing room for meaningful interactions – and fun
Attendance was roughly a third of the previous year, and many companies opted out of exhibiting – some at the last minute. The organizers however did a good job of covering for missing booths, moving exhibitors from hall 5 into hall 4, and setting up places to sit in many parts of hall 4A – including an area with a beach theme! Nevertheless, it was a bit weird to walk by some large, fully constructed booths with no people or equipment in them.
There were also fewer people whose sole job was to pass out flyers and invite you into their stand. That led to more substantial conversations with more knowledgeable booth staff for the attendees.
Key meetings and greetings
It also seemed that there was a higher ratio of academics-to-working-professionals. Unlike in prior years when the bulk of students visited on Thursday, eager pupils wandered into our booth on all three days. I had the opportunity to demonstrate our GPL version of Reliance Edge and hear about some of the interesting projects they were working on. Perhaps the added data integrity of our file system will lead to their success!
Another silver lining was the opportunity for exhibitors to spend time with other exhibitors – visiting booths, seeing the demonstrations, and comparing notes. We came away with a few more partnership opportunities than in previous years, when we were busy talking to designers and students. I am especially excited about opportunities with Toradex – who premiered a product to assist those migrating from Windows Embedded to Linux. We also had a chance to explore deepening our partnerships with Green Hills in automotive and Mentor Graphics in resource-constrained certified markets.
Industry trends on display
A big theme this year among exhibitors were graphical interfaces and display technologies. Many of the exhibitors were discussing graphical interfaces and ways to speed up debugging. There were also some truly impressive display technologies, including large transparent screens and flexible ones.
Without the large semiconductor companies at the event, smaller players had a chance to get their messages out. There were a lot of special purpose chip vendors around, but far less bleeding edge chips shown due to the lack of big player attendance. As a result, special purpose chips and bespoke systems developers (as well as open source consortia) had audiences that would have probably overlooked them while busy talking to impressive players like ST Microelectronics and Wind River Systems in other years. At least one customer we spoke with had made the decision not to attend directly due to ST Microelectronics’ absence.
The dates for next year have already been selected, and it is likely we will attend. What will be interesting to see is the impact this year’s show has on our plans for later this year, and of course next year. We’re already getting excited for Electronica this November, and the chance to meet more big players there. Will large booth companies like ST Microelectronics be back in the same space? Can the organizers do anything to improve attendance? And what new trends will happen to embedded designs in the next year? Always interested to find out!
Thom is the technical product manager at Tuxera and Datalight, and also a former developer at Datalight with over 20 years embedded software experience in file systems and flash media management. In his spare time, he works as a professional baseball umpire and an internet librarian.