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Why embedded world Moved Beyond Tech

Looking back at embedded world, one big idea stands out: technology is important, but solutions are what matters.

This is a big change. Last year, for example, everyone was talking about machine learning and AI. Those technologies were important again this year, but the emphasis has shifted from “look at these cool technologies” to “here’s how AI can solve a problem.”

Two good examples come from Avnet and Arrow. Both companies showcased end-to-end AI offerings that incorporate technologies from numerous vendors, along with a variety of services and support to help developers bring solutions to market.

I was also impressed by the way Bosch is transitioning from an auto-parts company into a full-fledged IoT leader. Instead of just repackaging its sensors for new applications, the company has put a massive effort into creating a community to help engineers solve real-world problems.

This evolution is a good thing. As the technologies and use cases for IoT mature, there will be greater emphasis on time-to-market, ROI, manageability, and other bottom-line considerations. It only makes sense for the industry to move towards more mature solutions that meet these needs.

Having said all that, the show featured plenty of cutting-edge tech. In addition to AI, my top picks are:

  • Time-sensitive networking (TSN) – While it’s been a topic of discussion for a few years, it looks like TSN is finally ready for prime time. I saw compelling demos at booth after booth, and got a strong sense that the industry is finally ready to adopt this technology at broad scale.
  • Virtualization – Like TSN, this technology has been around a while but seems to be gaining traction. I suspect that other technologies like AI are playing a role in the growing interest in virtualization. These new workloads are increasing demand for systems that can run traditional real-time control alongside new, cutting-edge applications.
  • 5G – This was practically the only thing people talked about at MWC, which also took place last week. While 5G may not have been the star of embedded world, the excitement around next-generation wireless certainly carried over to the show. I’m excited about the many possibilities 5G offers for IoT systems.

There was so much other noteworthy news at the show, from the surprising to the entertaining. Check out our embedded world roundup on Twitter to see it all.

I can’t wait to see what happens at next year’s show!

About the Author

Kenton Williston is the Editor-in-Chief of and served as the editor of its predecessor publication, the Embedded Innovator magazine. Kenton received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2000 and has been writing about embedded computing and IoT ever since.

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