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Embedded Insiders Podcast

Author: Embedded Computing Design

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Hosted on the website as well as iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, and Alexa, the Embedded Insiders Podcast is a fun electronics talk show for hardware design engineers and software developers. Each week, embedded industry veterans Rich Nass, Brandon Lewis, and Perry Cohen of Embedded Computing Design tackle trends, news, and new products for the embedded, IoT, automotive, security, artificial intelligence, and other technology marketplaces in a light and accessible format.Departments include Tech Market Madness, where Associate Editor Perry Cohen dives into the latest technology trends identified by industry analysts and how they are playing out in the market, as well as "Things That Annoy A Veteran Software Engineer" with the architect of the Micrium RTOS, Jean Labrosse.
178 Episodes
SiFive, a pioneer of commercializing the RISC-V instruction set and resulting IP, has announced a number of custom design wins. And a lot of them leverage Arm technology. In fact, SiFive's recent 20G1 release revealed that the company has developed SiFive Insight, debug and trace IP that features native compatibility with? You guessed it. Arm’s CoreSight IP that serves the same purpose.So, is the RISC-V standard bearer ditching its heritage to become a design mercenary? Or is this a longer-term play to help get RISC-V technology into SoCs in any way possible so it can grow from there? Or are we over thinking it? Drew Barbier, Director of Product Marketing at SiFive, joins Brandon and Rich in this edition of the Embedded Insiders to explain.
In this week’s edition of the Embedded Insiders, Brandon and Rich discuss all of the new programming languages that have entered the embedded universe. This is in large part due to the convergence that IoT has created between IT and embedded developers. Are we getting to the point where we won’t use C language anymore? Or is it here to stay for good? Later, Nial Cooling, the CEO of Feabhas Limited, continues the conversation about embedded programming languages by weighing the advantages of languages like C against newer iterations of C++ and upstart alternatives like Rust. Where do all of these fit in the software engineering toolbox, and what are the implications of this low-level embedded programming on overall system cost?Later, Technology Editor Perry Cohen interviews Chris Rommel, Executive Vice President of VDC Research, in a new segment, Tech Market Madness: Analyst Insights for Engineers.Chris reveals just how many engineers are currently using C, C++, Python, Java, and other languages based on data from his company’s annual Voice of the IoT Engineer report. According to the study, more than 50 percent of developers have used C in past projects, while only 44.6 percent are using it currently and just 38.3 percent plan to leverage it in future designs. Meanwhile, the use of Python and Rust continues to rise.
In this edition of the embedded insiders, Brandon and Rich ponder whether RISC-V is taking too long to become a mainstream technology, or if it will even ever be one. Despite being open-source and all of the initial hype, will RISC-V become all that it has so-far been made it out to be?Later, the Insiders are joined by Mark Himelstein, the newly-appointed CTO of RISC-V International. The three discuss the architectural future of RISC-V and how he plans to drive the technology deeper into the hearts and minds of engineers.Later, Jean Labrosse is back with more, “Things that annoy a veteran software engineer” where he explains why he hates when APIs return meaningless error codes, such as zero for success and one or minus one for failure.
In this edition of the Embedded Insiders, Brandon and Rich ponder when “enough is enough” in terms of IoT device security. Because implementing robust security is so time consuming and expensive, why haven’t we just created development workflows that make it more costly to NOT use security? Later, the Insiders are joined by Jeremy Boone, Technical Director of The NCC Group, security analysis firm. Together, the trio consider how flaws at all levels of the IoT solution stack can be exploited, as well as engineering best practices that can minimize these vulnerabilities. This boils down to CYA with CIA.Finally, Jean Labrosse is back with more “Things That Annoy a Veteran Software Engineer” where he explains why it drives him nuts when a programmer over-uses asserts.
Defining Digital Twins

Defining Digital Twins


In this edition of the embedded insiders, Brandon and Rich discuss how digital twins that reflect physical IoT systems can not only record the status of real-world devices, but simulate how the device could react under certain conditions in the future. And, how these twins can also potentially be used to help inform future designs.Later, the insiders are joined by Brady Benware, VP and general manager of the Tessent portfolio at Mentor, a Siemens business. The company recently acquired UltraSoC, who focuses on on-chip analytics, among other things, perhaps allowing Siemens to address the concept of digital twins all the way down to the chip level. After, Jean Labrosse is back with “things that annoy a veteran software engineer” where he explains why the inconsistent use of acronyms and abbreviations bothers him.
AI is all the rage these days, and poised to disrupt nearly every industry. In fact it already is, but more because organizations are struggling to integrate new AI personnel, processes, tools, and workflows alongside their existing infrastructure. It’s so bad in fact that a recent IDC survey reported that the majority of companies are failing in their AI initiatives.In this episode of the Embedded Insiders, Brandon and Rich interview Michael Grant, Vice President of Services at Anaconda, an open-source-centric data science company who manages the Anaconda distribution of the Python and R programming languages. Michael explains some of the obstacles organizations looking to enter the AI space need to watch out for before they get started, from licensing issues to security vulnerabilities to technical strategies. He then discusses how his company’s recent collaboration with the IBM Watson team can help such organizations integrate, organize, and manage their AI solutions stacks, from model development to endpoint inferencing, using a package-centric architecture.Later, Jean Labrosse is back with more “Things That Annoy a Veteran Software Engineer,” as he rants about the use of lengthy macros in the C language.Tune in for more.
This week on the Embedded Insiders, Brandon and Rich discuss an age-old controversy: What’s more secure? Proprietary or open-source software?That discussion leads into an interview with Kate Stewart, Senior Director of Strategic Programs at the Linux Foundation, who joins the program to explain how the Zephyr Project responded to 25 vulnerabilities recently uncovered in its open-source code base by the NCC Group, an independent security analysis firm. After reassuring the Insiders by detailing the steps taken to remedy those bugs and explaining the security practices in place at the Zephyr Project, Stewart continues to introduce the Embedded Linux in Safety Applications, or ELISA, project, which seeks to better align Linux software and tools with the requirements of safety-critical industries. Where does ELISA fit in with other projects like RTLinux, and how can the software test community help accelerate the expansion of Linux into platforms ranging from road vehicles to rockets?For more information on the Zephyr vulnerabilities, read “Another IoT Security "Uh-Oh": 26 Flaws in Open-Source Zephyr and MCUboot Stacks” on learn more about the ELISA Project and updates to the Zephyr Project, attend one of Kate Stewarts presentations during the Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit North America, a virtual event taking place from June 29th to July 2nd. For more information or to register, visit
In this episode of the Embedded Insiders, Brandon and Rich continue to probe the impact that COVID-19 is having on the electronics industry today and it’s implications for the future.They begin with a review of recent research published by ByteSnap, “Navigating COVID-19: The New Normal,” which takes a snapshot survey of U.K.-based electronics professionals. Are the somewhat optimistic results of this survey indicative of the global tech sector?Later, Brandon and Rich are joined by Richard Barnett, CMO of SupplyFrame. His company’s “2020 Trends in Electronics Sourcing” report dives deep into the ways that COVID-19 has impacted the global supply chain, and the ramifications that has had on the engineering community. So, what recourse do organizations have to recover from and/or mitigate the risk of such phenomenon? According to Barnett, the answer lies in closer relationships between internal and external partners.Tune in.To read more about ByteSnap's survey, "Navigating COVID-19: The New Normal," visit find out more about SupplyFrame's "2020 Trends in Electronics Sourcing" report, visit
In this edition of the Embedded Insiders, Brandon and Rich wonder how the COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting the tech sector, both from a financial perspective and with regards to the productivity of engineers now working at home. Are those engineers executing, innovating, or just relaxing?Later, Rich interviews Jean Labrosse, formerly a distinguished engineer and software architect at Silicon Labs. Jean shares some somewhat unpopular viewpoints on open source software in response to an Embedded Executives podcast with Gurjot Singh of Lynx Software Technologies in late April. Who can guarantee that open source software will work every time, all the time? And, what does that mean for open source in critical applications?Finally, the Insiders circle back to highlight the Best-in-Show Winners from Embedded World 2020.Tune in.
Embedded World 2020 is right around the corner, and the Insiders spend a few minutes forecasting what they expect to see at the show. Some of the main themes they expect are an increased integration of AI and IoT technologies and smarter edge computing nodes based on those technologies. They then get into a semantic disagreement around what constitutes "the edge" and where AI processing will truly take place.Continuing with the topic of AI, the two interview Tom Doyle of Aspinity. The three discuss how analog computing is making a comeback as an ultra-efficient way of pre-processing signals in neural networking applications (Editor's note: More on analog computing can be found on the website).Finally, Jean Labrosse is back with more "Things That Annoy a Veteran Software Engineer, where he rants about the lack of spaces in most code.Tune in for more.
In this edition of the Embedded Insiders podcast, Brandon and Rich continue their journey into the world of open source, this time by focusing on Z-Wave that was recently donated to the community by Silicon Labs (who acquired the networking technology from Sigma Designs).Later, the Embedded Insiders are joined by Laurens Slats from The Things Industries, who continues the discussion of open source networking technologies by outlining the state of LoRa and LoRaWAN. Their upcoming Things Conference in Amsterdam takes place January 30-31st.Finally, Jean Labrosse is back with “Things That Annoy A Veteran Software Engineer,” where he explains the 80-column limit is stupid.Tune in.
Recapping CES 2020

Recapping CES 2020


In this episode of Embedded Insiders, Brandon and Rich review some of the highlights from the 2020 Consumer Electroncis Show (CES). Most notably, many embedded technology companies and organizations continue to embrace the world of open source, both within their product offerings and in the way they deliver products to market.Later, Wensi Jin and Mark Corless of MathWorks take the wheel as the discussion turns to simulation in the automotive sector, where the emergence of AI, ADAS sensors, and autonomous driving technologies are driving more broad testing requirements than ever before.Finally, Jean Labrosse turns his attention to a lack of proper software documentation in "Things That Annoy A Veteran Software Engineer."Tune in.
The Insiders attended the second annual RISC-V Summit in San Jose earlier this month, and brought back some significant opinions about the show, the technology, and the direction of the RISC-V Foundation.Is SiFive too powerful? Where are all the big semis? How does open hardware relate to Amazon, Apple, Google, and other tech giants building their own chips? And what does that mean for other chipmakers?This episode also includes an interview with Enrico Carrieri, Chair of the MIPI Debug Working Group and Principal Engineer of Debug Architecture at Intel. Enrico puts his MIPI Alliance hat on to discuss the public availability of nine debug and trace specifications, which can be accessed directly from He also explains the importance of ecosystem enablement in the “necessary evil” world of debugging, and how new standards and tools can bring costs to a minimum.Finally, a new segment with Jean Labrosse, Architect of the µC/OS RTOS, identifies “Things That Annoy a Veteran Software Engineer.” This week, he sounds off on following organizational coding standards.Tune in.
A recent embedded industry report indicates that chip content in systems is projected to drop by 25 percent in 2019. Huh?As more and more every day objects are electrified and digitized, that doesn't make much sense - unless you consider that perhaps more and more discrete semiconductors are now being packaged into fewer and fewer highly integrated yet more powerful devices.This week, the Embedded Insiders crunch the numbers and debate what could be behind them. Is it a real phenomenon or funny math? Tune in and judge for yourself.
With every passing day, the US-China trade war is having a greater and greater impact on the electronics market. Not only is it disrupting existing supply chains and manufacturing operations, it's also damaging long-lasting business relationships between tech companies on both sides of the Pacific. In most cases, these relationships were often difficult to build, and are being unravelled in a matter of months.On this episode of the Embedded Insiders, Alex Lidow, the CEO of Efficient Power Conversion and one of the Semiconductor Industry Association's (SIA's) lead negotiators during the U.S. – Japan Trade Accord of 1986. Here, Alex shares some of his experiences from that turbulent time, and applies them to the current political and economic climate. "Up until now, Chinese companies and people believed that the process of democracy in the US was greater than any individual. Now they believe that any individual is greater than the process. And therefore, the US is an unreliable trade partner forever more, because they don't know what the next individual will bring."Tune in for more. Or, read "A Trade War, the Tech Market, and a Taiwanese Trade Show" on
The RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) has garnered a lot of attention amongst academia and startups. But, being so new, there has been a limited amount of RISC-V IP that one would classify as "production-ready", and, of course, even less silicon.However, a new industry organization, the OpenHW Group, is looking to take open-source hardware technologies like RISC-V from prototypes to products. This week, Rick O'Connor, President of OpenHW Group and former Executive Director of the RISC-V Foundation, joins the Embedded Insiders to explain the relationship between the new consortium and other open-source initiatives. He also discusses how he believes that production-ready IP like CORE-V RISC-V cores will help accelerate the open-source hardware movement.
The Embedded Insiders briefly review the results of an IoT developer survey from the Eclipse Foundation, which found that two-thirds of engineers are currently or plan to launch an IoT project in the next 18 months ( Given the pervasiveness of IoT, does that even mean anything anymore?Afterward, the Insiders slide into a discussion of wide-area networks prompted by Alix Paultre's recent engagements with The Things Network. Do recent announcements in 5G have any impact on the advancement of LoRa-based technologies such as those developed by The Things Network, or is there still ample market opportunity? Will Semtech's LoRa monopoly stifle the industry, or help it grow sustainably? Tune in to find out more.
When it comes to things like embedded computing systems and advanced solutions and circuits, people tend to overlook basics in the system, even though some of those basics can actually be force multipliers for their logic systems. One important factor in high-performance computing is how you actually manage the power to it, and whether you're optimizing the performance of the device or the different types of processors.That's where Aceinna's current sensors comes into play, to measure and protect, and also for optimization of system performance. In this episode we talk to Aceinna's Khagendra Thapa about how to optimize processor efficiency by looking at the current consumed by the system.  The company’s AMR technology is a single chip solution with a lower offset, lower noise, better accuracy and overall bandwidth, and a lower phase shift.
In part 2 of the Embedded Insiders’ analysis of recent industry acquisitions, Stacey Higginbotham, a tech industry expert and editor of the eponymous Stacey on IoT blog, joins Brandon and Rich to further the discussion about the ARM/NVIDIA deal. Wait. What did NVIDIA buy? Or better yet, what didn’t they buy? Why didn’t they acquire the entire Arm portfolio? And where is the rest of it now?After, Jim McGregor of Tirias Research returns to analyze AMD’s acquisition of programmable logic supplier Xilinx. He provides some analogs to Intel’s purchase of Altera. Later, Rich puts him on the spot: In two years, will the Xilinx/AMD deal be a good one?Listen to find out.
It’s all about money! In this edition of the Embedded Insiders, Brandon and Rich break down some major acquisitions, like Arm’s purchase of NVIDIA, as well as AMD potentially buying Xilinx, prompted in part by all the “free money” that’s available in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.Later, Jim McGregor, Principal Analyst at Tirias Research, joins the Insiders with his thoughts. He explains his belief that these moves are the result of companies trying to grow their total addressable market (TAM) by capturing share in adjacent markets, but cautions that acquiring these assets could have negative long-term effects on the industry. In part one of a two-part interview, these questions are asked in the context of the NVIDIA/Arm deal.Finally, Calista Redmond, the CEO of RISC-V, shares her vision of the computing industry after the world’s largest IP vendor has been, at least for now, taken off the market. What does this mean for the industry in general, and RISC-V in particular.
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