3 trends impacting the future of embedded processing technology

Technology that’s making the future of embedded possible is transforming smart homes, cities, factories and vehicles, optimizing everyday electronics and unlocking new ways to create a better world

What does the future of embedded processing look like?

From a technology perspective, embedded systems will be more energy efficient – helping to conserve energy and enable electronics to be more environmentally sustainable. They will enable more immersive interaction with humans and integrate into the surroundings, such as more advanced autonomous robots performing tasks and improving convenience. These systems will be able to capture, analyze and react to growing volumes of data. Equally important, evolving technology will be more accessible so that more people will be able to take advantage of the progress.

To make this future a reality, embedded processors need to evolve. They need to deliver more intelligence while consuming less power. And, they need to be affordable, feature more integrated components, and be supported by intuitive, embedded software and tools.

Based on what we’re seeing in the industry and what we’re hearing from our customers, three trends stand out as crucial capabilities that a comprehensive embedded processing portfolio should deliver: 

1. More integrated sensing capabilities

The need to gather more data from everything around us and find innovative ways to use it is growing continuously.

In smart cities, for example, data can be used by energy-management systems that monitor and control energy usage in buildings, which can help reduce waste and lower usage costs. Intelligence can be added to public safety systems to detect and respond to emergencies, keeping our cities safe and secure. In smart homes, ecosystems of connected devices can improve energy consumption, comfort and safety for residents. Together with the need to upgrade the electric grid infrastructure with more sustainable and renewable energy sources, the value of embedded intelligence working with real-time data is only starting to be understood and realized. 

Energy management and infrastructure are among many use cases and possibilities that are increasing quickly. They’re adding more quality and convenience to our lives, enabled by more sensing and processing capabilities in the electronics we encounter every day.

The ability to integrate sensing and embedded intelligence in these systems was top of mind when we developed our new portfolio of microcontrollers. Our goals were to provide designers with a way to enhance the sensing capabilities of their systems and integrate more analog capabilities to streamline sensing circuit development within a system without needing additional components. One example where this level of integration is making an impact is in chamberless smoke detectors where an MSPM0 micocontroller can enable a smaller form factor while detecting smoke faster.

2. Enabling artificial intelligence in every embedded system

Whether it’s smart security cameras monitoring homes and office buildings in real time or autonomous robots transforming assembly lines in modern factories, adding intelligence to every system is becoming a norm. With more demand for automation everywhere – smart automation, in particular – design engineers are implementing more features and capabilities into systems that must process ever-increasing amounts of data, make intelligent decisions and respond quickly.

Intelligence at the edge will be at the heart of smart, automated systems. This means that data is computed close to the sensor where it’s captured, leading to more secure, faster and reliable processing.

For example, imagine cameras throughout a factory continuously inspecting equipment to detect and predict faults in machinery. Sending that data outside the local network to the cloud, then waiting for it to be processed and analyzed for a decision to stop the assembly line could compromise quality and throughput of the assembly line while increasing total costs. By incorporating intelligence at the edge, the assembly process can be halted in a split second, if needed.

Cost and power constraints have traditionally limited the amount of intelligence that designers can bring to the edge. When we developed our AM6xA vision processor family, we aimed to help solve this challenge by providing power-efficient, affordable processing options supported by a common development environment.

These processors are for embedded-vision applications, such as equipping automated stores with smart cameras that can identify which products consumers put in their carts for grab-and-go shopping.

3. Ease of use so designers can get to market faster

The demand to support the increase in embedded systems has accelerated as customers are challenged to get their new products and innovations to market as quickly as possible. Our customers need to create differentiated features quickly and reliably, with flexibility to respond to changing market conditions and customer preferences.

Embedded processing portfolios and the ecosystems that support them must be easy to design with, along with support that is robust enough to help customers with all their embedded needs, reducing time to market and allowing designers to spend more time innovating. That is why I am committed to strengthening our company’s use of industry-standard and open-source software, community development platforms, and unified software development environments. These resources allow our customers to use the knowledge and experience of experts in the field so they can design more efficiently and take products to market at exceptional speed. As we innovate to make it easier for engineers to add intelligence to any system, it will accelerate the rate of adoption and significantly increase our value to our customers.

I’m excited about the future of embedded processing technology, our new product portfolios where these technologies will come to life, and seeing how our customers will unlock new ways of creating a better world.

Source : TI

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