Combating The DIY Mentality For Embedded Systems

Wind River Systems has begun bundling its software in an effort to wean do-it-yourselfers.
Trying make do-it-yourself software development unattractive for manufacturers, Wind River Systems Inc. has begun bundling its embedded-systems software, operating systems, and developers' kits in one of four integrated packages, each designed to appeal to a different manufacturing niche. The packages are aimed at makers of networking devices, server appliances, consumer goods, and industrial equipment.

Wind River says it can make buying embedded-systems software cheaper and easier for companies considering rolling their own. Company execs hope the packages also lead to embedded-systems standards. Embedded systems are microprocessors and software that, for example, enable cell phones to send and receive digital photos or car brakes to better respond to driving conditions.

Just as the market for enterprise software has been moving toward standardization, so too is the software behind embedded systems, says David Fraser, Wind River's group VP and general manager of products.

The four packages are NE for network-equipment makers, SA for server-appliance makers, CD for consumer-device makers, and ID for industrial-device makers. Each includes the company's Tornado development tools, VxWorks or BSDWorks operating systems, and WindSprint services.

Flexibility and reliability are key assets for embedded systems because manufacturers typically don't change the technology once they choose a vendor, says Paul Zorfass, a senior analyst with IDC. "If it's building a car, for example, the manufacturer will keep the same embedded technology through the life of that car model." This means manufacturers rely on embedded-software companies such as Wind River, which is the dominant software maker in the $2 billion commercial embedded-systems market, to make their products cheaper and easier to use over time so the manufacturers can lower the cost of including embedded systems in their products.

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