2 game-changing trends that will define embedded systems in the 2020s


The final decade has seen a tremendous development in embedded system improvement methods, instruments and applied sciences. A decade in the past, I recall being amazed when a microcontroller had a clock pace above 48 MHz with an unbelievable 128 kilobytes for flash. As we speak, we now have microcontrollers with clock speeds above 1 GHz with greater than four megabytes for flash storage that makes even my first private laptop jealous.

embedded systems, Python language, embedded systems at the edge, embedded systems market

Along with the developments in language and edge computing, the general embedded market will develop within the 2020s. (Picture supply: World Market Insights)

This dramatic improve in capabilities for microcontrollers and their reasonably priced prices goes to usher in a totally new design paradigm within the decade to return. Let’s look at three developments in embedded methods improvement that I imagine will show to be sport changers within the 2020’s.

Pattern #1 – The rise of python as a dominant language

Python is already the preferred programming language utilized by software program builders outdoors the embedded methods business. The truth is, a survey carried out this 12 months by IEEE verified that amongst engineers, Python is the primary programming language adopted by Java after which C1. The Aspencore 2019 Embedded Markets Examine additionally discovered that within the final two years, the variety of tasks programmed in Python within the embedded house has doubled2! (Be mindful the examine additionally discovered that there was no change within the variety of tasks utilizing C). So, what’s it about Python that makes me suppose it’s going to change into a dominant language for embedded methods?

First, as I mentioned within the introduction, the compute energy accessible in microcontrollers has grown to the purpose the place a stripped-down model of a Python kernel might be ran on a microcontroller that prices only some {dollars}. Second, there are already standard open supply ports for Python comparable to MicroPython which might be accessible on greater than a dozen architectures together with standard ones just like the STM32 and the ESP32.

Third, C and C++ aren’t taught in most laptop science or engineering packages. It’s now Python and a few Java and has been for fairly a while. Which means that there may be and will probably be an entire technology of engineers taking the lead within the subsequent decade who’ve a pure inclination to utilizing Python.

Lastly, as I attend conferences, discuss with prospects and colleagues, I’m already seeing a pure pull to make use of Python. Nobody desires to battle with the low-level {hardware} and software program anymore. They need their microcontroller to return working one thing that they’ll put their software particular code on shortly and get their product to market. Neglect worrying about registers, pointers and all the normal embedded stuff. Plus, if Python is used, anybody may help develop the product, not simply these embedded people.

Prepared or not, right here Python comes!

Pattern #2 – Machine studying on the edge

I actually wished to keep away from having machine studying as a sport altering development for the upcoming decade. I really feel just like the hype round machine studying is big. I can’t open a e-newsletter or learn a weblog (or apparently write one) with out machine studying exhibiting up. The actual fact although, is that machine studying holds loads of potential for embedded methods builders as we start a brand new decade.

Machine studying for embedded builders, because it presently stands, has the best potential on the IoT edge. Up till not too long ago, machine studying was executed someplace “on the market” and it had little if something to do with embedded builders. Keep in mind although in my introduction after I mentioned the speedy developments in {hardware} applied sciences for microcontrollers? These advances are making it far simpler to run machine studying inferences on a microcontroller.

Operating the inference on the embedded controller on the edge opens an entire vary of native purposes and might save on bandwidth and communication prices with the cloud. One space that appears notably primed for machine studying on the edge is embedded imaginative and prescient. The power to carry out object detection and recognition on the edge has so many potential alternatives for enterprise purposes and for builders to lighten their workload.

The huge quantity of information and libraries which might be presently accessible will make it very straightforward to coach new machine studying fashions. Whilst I write this there are groups of specialists engaged on the way to optimize instruments and libraries in order that the inferences can run on embedded controller. The truth is, we’re already on the level the place you possibly can run an inference on an Arm Cortex-M4 processor. I do know that we’re getting drained already of speaking machine studying, however the business is simply getting began for us embedded methods engineers.


The subsequent decade has the potential to dramatically change the way in which that merchandise and embedded methods are developed. On this put up, we’ve explored the 2 sport altering developments that I imagine may have the largest influence on embedded methods builders. There are definitely many different developments that may see within the 2020’s, however we must save these for an additional time. I feel within the subsequent decade will discover the vast majority of purposes won’t simply use Python, but in addition machine studying.

What do you suppose, will Python and Machine Studying be the 2 main sport changers within the coming decade?


  1. https://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software program/the-top-programming-languages-2019
  2. https://www.embedded.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/EETimes_Embedded_2019_Embedded_Markets_Study.pdf

Jacob Beningo is an embedded software program advisor who presently works with purchasers in additional than a dozen nations to dramatically remodel their companies by enhancing product high quality, value and time to market. He has revealed greater than 200 articles on embedded software program improvement methods, is a sought-after speaker and technical coach, and holds three levels which embody a Masters of Engineering from the College of Michigan. Be at liberty to contact him at [email protected], at his web site, and sign-up for his month-to-month Embedded Bytes Publication.

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