Intelligent Systems - Here And Now

14 September 2011

So as of a few days ago the folks at the marketing firm International Data Corp (IDC) announced in a study that the market for "Intelligent" systems will account for more than one third of all major electronic systems shipped by 2015.  A nearly 20% increase from 2010.   And that we will be looking at a doubling of revenues to $2 Trillion in the same timeframe. This of course begs the question, what is an intelligent system?

According to the study that would be systems defined as those with high-performance microprocessors, connectivity and high-level operating systems.  Or said another way, just about everything in the future.

I have been working in embedded systems most of my career.  And I have seen how far we  have come. I often liken the computer industry to the aviation industry. Back in 1903 those intrepid brothers managed to get a glorified kite to fly under power and human control. Forty years later multi-engine bombers were dropping tons of munitions from the sky. Quite a technology leap. And a mere two decades later men were walking on the moon. If you had asked Orville if he thought a man walking on the moon 66 years later was a reality he would likely have said you were a fool. And yet it is true.

And so in the 70’s with the advent of the microprocessor (yeah I know, not the first computer) things really got going for the potential of embedded systems. And so here we are in the 40ish year mark of this space. Remember the bomber thing. Well just after that we get jets, and spacecraft, and supersonic flight. That is my take of where the embedded systems space is today. B-17s.

And so these intelligent systems are just now coming to fruition. Functionally dense, networked, and environmentally aware. This is where we are heading. Where “everything” has a processor in it and is connected to everything else. Why? Because it can. So your fridge can tell you the milk is bad and if you let it, order a new jug. So your shirt can tell your washing machine how dirty it is. So the next time you go to the doctor your cellphone has all of the crap they want you to put on a paper form and you transfer it all securely in an instant. And in all of these, saving time, money and energy in the process. That is why.

Heck, even the government gets it.  At least the folks at NIST do. They have a whole division devoted to Intelligent Systems.

And the good news. Companies like Tiresias Technologies will be there to take advantage of those needs because just like the aviation industry, engineers drove those innovations. So let’s get to work, after all my toaster needs a wifi interface on it.


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