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Electronics & Computers

Intelligent Systems Reshape Embedded Industry

September 13, 2011

According to IDC, embedded systems are evolving from fixed-function, disconnected systems to intelligent systems, bringing the "Internet of Things" closer to reality.


SAN MATEO, CA -- The market for intelligent systems—those enabled with high-performance microprocessors, connectivity, and high-level operating systems—will grow from 19% of all major electronic system unit shipments in 2010 to more than one third of all systems by 2015, according to the latest report on the emerging intelligent systems market from International Data Corp. (IDC).

According to the forthcoming report, "Intelligent Systems: The Next Big Opportunity," the market for intelligent systems is developing rapidly, with over 1.8 billion units and more than $1 trillion in revenue today. By 2015, the market will double to nearly 4 billion units and more than $2 trillion in revenue. Overall, embedded systems will consume nearly 14.5 billion microprocessor cores in 2015. Equally notable is that the segment of intelligent systems based on shipments from the traditional embedded system markets already exceeds the segment based on shipments from combined PCs, servers, and mobile phones.

These results indicate that the evolution of embedded systems from fixed function and disconnected systems to intelligent systems continues to gain momentum and puts intelligent systems on track to bring the "Internet of Things" to reality. Further, the report indicates that momentum will accelerate beyond 2015, as the ecosystem of hardware, software, and services vendors bring more intelligence into systems through higher levels of performance and programmability, more forms of connectivity, increasing penetration of sensors, and a growing base of cloud-based applications and data.

"IDC believes this new generation of intelligent systems and its ecosystem will have broad reach and establish the next wave in computing over the next five years," said Mario Morales, Vice President of Semiconductor Research at IDC. "Cloud-based applications and analytic workloads will extract significant business value from all of the end-user data."

"The cloud is the essential link that enables the conceptual 'Internet of Things' to be pervasive," said Kevin Dallas, General Manager of the Windows Embedded Business at Microsoft Corp. "When the availability of cloud computing is coupled with remarkable advances in specialized devices and an ever-growing number of touch points for collecting data throughout a company, a critical mass of capabilities emerges. We see devices breaking new ground for the collection of data, and we are excited to expand the possibilities for where that data is sent and how it is used through intelligent systems."

"At Intel, we believe the growth in intelligent systems signals the unprecedented transformation of a new wave of intelligent, connected solutions emerging from within the embedded industry, with literally billions of devices connecting to the Internet every day," said Ton Steenman, Vice President and General Manager of Intel's Embedded Communications Group. "We are passionately engaged in making the intelligent connected world a reality by working to create end-to-end solutions from the device to the communications infrastructure to the cloud and data center."

"Embedded processors that pack more performance and integration into ever-shrinking form factors and power envelopes are fueling intelligent systems and enabling entirely new and highly compelling product categories," said Lisa Su, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Freescale Semiconductor's Networking & Multimedia Group. "Freescale is pleased to play a pioneering role in the intelligent systems category by creating groundbreaking products and solutions. We look forward to driving further innovation and growth as intelligent systems accelerate in the industry."

"Today's smart embedded technologies do more than just control and contribute features to a system," said Reynette Au, Executive Partner for GTIA L.L.C. "These technologies enable systems to connect, offer security and manageability, and open the door to new applications and innovation that are fundamentally changing the way we work, live, create, and consume. How products in the Intelligent Systems category evolve and get to market will be an extremely dynamic process. It will require new levels of cross-industry collaboration with new business models emerging. This will make the ecosystem critical, and it will be an exciting and value rich environment."

The report, "Intelligent Systems: The Next Big Opportunity" (forthcoming), provides a comprehensive worldwide forecast for the size and growth of the intelligent systems market and the microprocessors inside, analyzing the major trends that will drive this market. The coverage encompasses seven major industries (communications, computing, consumer, energy, healthcare, industrial, and transportation) and all major processor architectures, including ARM, MIPS, Power Architecture, x86, and others.

About IDC
International Data Corp. (IDC) is the "premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets." IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For more than 47 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company.