VITA report: Aerospace and defense remains one of the few bright spots for the embedded computing industry

By John Keller

FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz.—Aerospace and defense applications were among the few bright spots for the VME embedded computing industry in 2009, as many VME military embedded systems vendors posted gains in what was probably the toughest year in the history of the VMEbus industry, says Ray Alderman, executive director of the VITA open standards, open markets trade association in Fountain Hills, Ariz.

Other than aerospace and defense, 2009 saw sales declines ranging from 30 to 70 percent for board-level products in telecommunications, industrial, and medical embedded computers, Alderman says in his report, “2010 State of the VME Technology Industry.”

For 2010, the military embedded systems market should be stable, yet there are concerns, Alderman says. Within the aerospace and defense market for single-board computers and other embedded computing, demand for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) looks very good, as numerous countries with untrustworthy neighbors are buying UAVs to keep track of their borders.

Meanwhile, telecommunications will have the most problems this year, and may even post declines in 2010; industrial embedded computer sales may improve, although this segment is terribly fragmented; and the medical equipment market is still unsure about the effects of health care reforms, Alderman says.

In industrial computing, the major market driver in 2010 is likely to be smart-grid utility development, as well as air traffic control systems.

In the VME embedded computer industry overall, 2010 will be a year of stabilization, not growth—including in aerospace and defense applications, Alderman says. Mergers and acquisitions may heat up again in 2010. In all segments, growth will be spotty and unevenly distributed.

Other factors of influence for the embedded computing industry in 2010 include the transition from copper to optical connectors, the business transition from boards to systems, the transition from DSP chips to DSP cores in field-programmable gate arrays, and the transition from general-purpose processors to digital signal processors, Alderman says.

For more information, visit VITA online at www.vita.com.

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