Future of Embedded Systems Technologies

Published - Jan 2000| Analyst - Lorraine Ross| Code - IFT016A
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Report Highlights

  • Embedded systems market is expected to grow at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 13% over the period, rising from $32 billion in 1998 to nearly $67 billion in 2004.
  • Software for embedded applications, which includes realtime operating systems and portable operating systems, will see the second highest growth, with an AAGR of over 16% through the period. Market heavyweights Microsoft and Sun have entered the embedded systems marketplace, their Windows CE and Java offerings, respectively.
  • Embedded processors, the largest segment in terms of revenue, will grow at 11.2% on average per year.
  • The market will be led, in terms of growth, by embedded memory products, which will rise at an AAGR of 17.7%.



Embedded systems are rapidly becoming a catalyst for change in the computing, data communications, telecommunications, industrial control, and entertainment sectors. Because embedded systems may take different forms, very few individuals without an engineering background have any great depth of knowledge about the potential of the technology. The objective of this study is to enlighten readers about the applications of embedded systems; the embedded systems technology; and the impact of the technology on various markets.


The study is presented at this time because of the impact of embedded systems on the personal computer market; the electronic entertainment arena; the industrial control sectors; and on the electrical engineering field. Although direct and indirect opportunities in each of those areas result from on-going developments in embedded systems, the report emphasizes the opportunities that are most attractive for these sectors.


This report is an extensive study of the future markets for products employing embedded systems and includes estimates to the year 2004. The study is intended for vendors, providers, and potential users of embedded systems. Standard procedures were used in forecasting the developing technologies and follow those described in the book, Technological Forecasting for Decision Making. Information generated from vendors and statistics generated by select agencies was matched to product estimates of the most viable areas of opportunities. In addition, the study is based on information compiled from interviews with industry experts; data taken from questionnaires mailed to industry specialists and other informed individuals; and the analysis of a wide variety of information generated by the industry press and technology journals.


The scope of the report describes applications of embedded systems in all sectors of the industrial and commercial marketplace. Examples of those applications include data acquisition systems, microwave ovens, robot controllers, electronic games, and mobile phones. While a summary follows this introduction, the second section defines embedded systems and includes an overview of the demands and uses for embedded systems; and brief descriptions of existing and projected uses of the embedded systems technologies.

Section three describes different types of embedded software and uses for real-time operating systems and portable operating systems. BCC uses the section to establish trends and forecasts for the embedded software market and to provide a list of leading embedded software developers. Section three also defines the functionality of the different embedded processor types while illustrating how the embedded processor market has fared since 1996. Section four covers embedded processors and provides an overview of both device types and embedded processor market trends. This includes coverage of embedded microprocessors, embedded microcontrollers, and programmable digital signal processors. Section four also defines the differences between standard memory devices, embedded memory, and flash memory and shows how sales for the latter devices will increase through 2004. The section concludes with a listing of embedded processor manufacturers; products that utilize the devices; and a description of several types of embedded processors.

Section five covers the embedded computer market and discusses how the market also affects the embedded software and embedded device markets. Within the section, the reader will find information about non-backplane and backplane embedded computer products.

Sections six and seven of this report focus on the domestic and international economic aspects of embedded systems applications. With this, the report examines consumer spending for electronic products that include embedded systems; considers imports and exports of computer and office equipment; and explains how international growth in consumer electronics and telecommunications technologies will support the embedded systems market. Section eight completes the report with a brief overview of legislation that has an impact on the products and services that include embedded systems.

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