A renewed sense of dynamism

6 mins read

Embedded World 2023, held last month in Nuremberg, looked to provide a platform for the embedded community and with over 950 exhibitors it certainly afforded exhibitors an opportunity to demonstrate the very latest embedded technologies whether modules, operating systems, hardware and software designs, M2M communications, services, or complex system designs.

Commenting the show’s Executive Director, Benedikt Weyerer said that the organisers had been, “overwhelmed by the number of visitors and the renewed dynamism of the embedded industry, which was almost tangible in all the halls.”

While they would say wouldn’t they, comments from most attendees were along similar lines although, as ever, while some experienced a frenetic few days others expressed some disappointment at the level of engagement. Based on hard statistics, actual visitor numbers were significantly up on last year as the industry finally appeared to shake off the spectre of covid which has loomed large over the past few years. With over 27,000 visitors, according to the organisers, numbers were 50 percent up on 2022 – with 40 percent coming from outside Germany.

The show’s traditional focus on technologies, processes and future-oriented products drew a broad audience of developers, system architects, product managers and technical managers, but this year the over-arching themes were the technological challenges helping to shape complex embedded systems - from sensors to the cloud, from hardware to software tools – and the need for that technology to be smart, intelligent, efficient, safe, reliable and interoperable. There was a lot of interest in how to design embedded systems both responsibly and sustainably.

But while there was a degree of consensus about the dynamism of the sector and how the show to some extent reflected that Nick Wood, Director, Insight SiP, an ultra-miniature RF module specialist, made the point that while Embedded World was certainly busy, “The wider mood in the industry remains a little bit mixed and we are still having to address supply chain issues. Customers have ordered plenty of stock and we’re currently seeing a drop off in demand. Our market hasn’t been badly hit – our customers tend to be in professional markets – and that, compared to the consumer space, has remained steady.

“One of the ‘big’ positives from this year’s show was that people were now talking about new projects, reversing the trend of the past few years. That suggests a return to normal, but I still feel that the industry will remain in ‘choppy seas’ for the next couple of years.”

In terms of the idea of responsibility with more embedded systems being used in function-critical applications – whether that’s medical technology, mobility or industrial automation – so there’s been a growing need for adaptive, autonomous and more intelligent systems that are able to safely and reliably carry out critical tasks, so there was a lot of interest at Embedded World in formal verification methods and ethical issues.

As for sustainability, embedded systems are increasingly seen as playing a central – indeed are the basic building blocks – when it comes to creating efficient and sustainable applications.

However, Weyerer made the point that, “Embedded systems themselves must be sustainable over the entire life cycle - from design and manufacturing to operation. That also means that they need to be updateable, capable of refurbishment and decommissioning as well as provide efficient and safe disposal.”


There were, as always, a number of big announcements made at the show and a few that caught the eye included a series of announcements from Qualcomm Technologies.

Focusing on developments in IoT devices, the company said that it would be expanding its IoT and robotics offerings as it looks to become a ‘one-stop-shop’ for IoT developers.

Qualcomm unveiled what it said was the “world’s first” integrated 5G IoT processors, capable of supporting up to four different operating systems, including Linux, Ubuntu and Microsoft Windows IoT Enterprise, as well as Android, and launched new robotics and IoT platforms as well as an accelerator programme for IoT ecosystem partners.

“Qualcomm Technologies is committed to fuelling innovation, creating new business opportunities, enabling the next generation of 5G connectivity and premium edge AI, and that starts with ensuring accessibility and performance across the ecosystem,” said Dev Singh, Qualcomm VP of business development.

Qualcomm said that it was extending its collaboration with Arrow Electronics with the establishment of ‘Edge Labs’ that are intended to accelerate the development and uptake of edge AI adoption.

According to Kirk Schell, Arrow’s president of global components business, by combining Arrow’s strengths in engineering and supply chain with Qualcomm Technologies’ innovative products, “Customers would be able to accelerate their design and speed to market in robotic, edge appliance and machine vision applications.”

The development of scalable edge AI applications was certainly of interest to many of those attending and Texas Instruments (TI) presented a new family of six Arm Cortex-based vision processors designed to allow developers to add more vision and artificial intelligence (AI) processing not only at a lower cost but also with much better energy efficiency, in applications such as video doorbells, machine vision and autonomous mobile robots.

This family is supported by open-source evaluation and model development tools, and common software that is programmable through industry-standard application programming interfaces (APIs), frameworks and models all of which will help designers develop and scale edge AI designs across multiple systems more easily.

“In order to achieve real-time responsiveness, decision-making needs to happen locally and with better power efficiency,” explained Sameer Wasson, VP Processors, Texas Instruments. “This new processor family comprises of affordable, highly integrated SoCs that we believe will support embedded AI by allowing for more cameras and vision processing in edge applications.”

The processor family features a system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture that includes Arm Cortex-A53 or Cortex-A72 central processing units, a third-generation TI image signal processor, internal memory, interfaces, and hardware accelerators capable of delivering from 1 to 32 teraoperations per second (TOPS) of AI processing for deep learning algorithms.


Elsewhere, Weebit Nano, a developer of next-generation memory technologies demonstrated its first production-ready resistive RAM (ReRAM or RRAM) intellectual property (IP). 

The technology has come on in ‘leaps and bounds’ over the past 12 months, according to the company, and at Embedded World it presented its ReRAM technology which is suitable for developing highly integrated SoCs for applications across analogue/mixed-signal, IoT, automotive, industrial, and medical applications.

Demo chips produced by SkyWater integrating Weebit’s ReRAM module were recently sent out to selected customers and have proven themselves to be fully functional, according to Weebit Nano.

Speaking prior to Embedded World the company’s CEO, Coby Hanoch, said, “We have worked tirelessly towards commercialisation of the technology and our ReRAM IP now offers customers a differentiated NVM solution they can use in developing highly integrated products at ultra-low power.”

Another memory specialist, GigaDevice, introduced its GD25UF series of SPI NOR Flash forming part of its strategic roadmap of 1.2V Flash products that are intended to support SoCs and applications processors built on advanced process nodes.

Targeting applications that require ultra-low power consumption or a small board footprint, the series operates at a supply-voltage range of 1.14V-1.26V making them suitable for devices built on advanced process nodes and operating at a core voltage of 1.2V while providing a simpler power system architecture.

Commenting Syed S. Hussain, Flash BU Global Segment Marketing Director of GigaDevice said, “Users of chips manufactured at advanced process nodes require a new generation of low-voltage Flash memory products that are optimised for the demanding applications that they support, whether IoT devices, mobile phones or consumer devices.

“The GD25UF64E 1.2V Flash product marks the start of a comprehensive roadmap of low-voltage Flash products from GigaDevice, providing OEMs with the mix of memory capacities, serial interfaces and security functions that they need for the next generation of system designs.”

Elsewhere at Embedded World Murata introduced its latest innovations and showed off the LBES5PL2EL module that’s been developed to meet the needs of next generation IoT hardware and where having Matter connectivity is set to become increasingly important.

The module is based on a highly integrated IW612 single-chip 2.4/5GHz solution from NXP, which covers a broad array of different wireless protocols. Through this, 1x1 dual-band Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax), Bluetooth 5.3 and IEEE 802.15.4 are all incorporated into the Murata tri-radio module.

The module also includes LE Audio functionality which Murata said would be especially important in relation to voice-controlled products.

According to Murata, this latest generation of Bluetooth technology delivers heightened performance, while drawing less power, and is predicted to replace many of the current BR/EDR Bluetooth-based audio connections in the near future.

Another module, the LBEE5PL2D, featured both Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3 support.

Murata said that these modules would target home automation equipment, digital assistants, smart domestic appliances, lighting gateways, climate control systems and EV charging points.

“There are still only a few Matter-compliant solutions on the market, yet the potential for it to deliver convenience and comfort to the places in which we live is huge,” explained Akira Sasaki, Director of the Communication Module Division at Murata.

“Thanks to the introduction of the LBES5PL2EL, we are now able to provide full support for Matter, including Thread, alongside Wi-Fi 6 all of which are critical for engineers who are developing hardware for home and building automation, among other things.”


Codasip and IAR used Embedded World to announce that they were providing support for low-power embedded automotive applications through a combination of Codasip’s L31 core and the safety-certified version of the development toolchain IAR Embedded Workbench for RISC-V.

Codasip’s dual-core lockstep reference design implements two Codasip L31 cores in a dual-core fault detection subsystem.

The L31 is a low-power, general-purpose, embedded RISC-V CPU that has been designed to provide a better balance between performance and power consumption and, in addition, can be easily customised using Codasip Studio tools for a variety of applications from IoT devices to industrial and automotive control, or as a deeply embedded core in a larger system.

IAR’s Embedded Workbench for RISC-V currently supports the off-the-shelf version of the Codasip L31 core but can also support the dual-core lockstep reference architecture.

Jamie Broome, vice president of automotive business and product, Codasip, said, “The automotive market is shifting rapidly driven by increased needs for accelerated innovation with reduced complexity and cost. Codasip is delivering custom compute with full ownership and control and through our collaboration with IAR, we are able to provide automotive companies with a straightforward solution for certifying their products for ISO 26262 and other functional safety and security standards.”

In conclusion a lot of companies that had expressed doubt’s about returning to Nuremberg were pleasantly surprised by not only the number of people coming through the doors but by the quality of those attending, the enquiries made and the business that was generated by this year’s show.