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MEC market seen at $5.2 billion in 2011

Posted: 16 Mar 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:embedded? computing? market report?

New Venture Research has released a report analyzing the merchant embedded computing market from 2002 to 2015. According to the report, although there are several hundred companies, most are fairly small in revenue and highly specialized, focusing on specific application segments with unique product requirements.

The report tracks and analyzes five application markets, nine bus architectures and four form factors. Specific trends and issues of the forecast by application, bus architecture and form function are covered in detail.

According to the report, while the overall MEC market is slowly recovering from the 2009 economic meltdown, the performance of various market segments, bus architectures, and companies will recover at different rates. Total revenue was just under $5 billion in 2010, a 4 percent increase from 2009 revenue, which had a 12-14 percent decrease over 2008. If the worldwide economies stabilize, the MEC industry will likely recover at about 6 percent in 2011 to about $5.2 billion.

The report says the wireless communication segment is being driven by smartphone traffic, with 3G/4G services representing the gold mine for carriers going forward. At the same time, the wireline and optical networks are gearing up for upgrades to support increasing traffic.

The Industrial market also suffered from the financial crisis, but investment in capital equipment infrastructure as well as test & measurement is starting to return, according to the report.

Healthcare cutbacks affected the medical segment because it made purchasing MEC-based, large equipment much more difficult. Also, the usually healthy Military/Aerospace segment is facing a rapidly declining defense department budget in the United States that is likely to cause a restructuring not seen since the end of the cold war.

The report identifies overall key trends: "Power is up and down; Green is the new color; and small is big." It says that 40nm and 32nm silicon for microprocessors, graphics, DSPs and high integration I/O chips are packing a lot of processing power while greatly reducing power consumption. High integration silicon and serial buses are enabling more small form factors than in the past, and are making many older, parallel bus structures, such as PCI, look like the bus architecture equivalent of a "clunker." Bus structures continue to proliferate around the major and long established busses but the number of variances is past 100.

In terms of form functions, NVR differentiates single-board computers, DSP boards, I/O boards and an 'All Other' category that incorporates a huge number of diverse and specific functions. According to the report, I/O boards are proliferating in some applications, and are being customized to the wide spectrum of I/O functions that different applications use. In other applications, single-board computers are becoming the trend as they incorporate more and more functionality with advanced silicon and draw in DSP, graphics and many advanced I/O functions.

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