VDC Releases MicroTCA Embedded Computing Architecture Report

VDC recently released research on the MicroTCA embedded computing architecture that shows investment in MicroTCA evaluation growing in the military/aerospace/defense computing market. The research report presents the results of research conducted with potential OEM users distributed evenly across four vertical markets – telecom/datacom, military/aerospace, industrial, and medical. OEMs were asked a series of questions about their knowledge of, experience with, and plans for MicroTCA to help gauge the potential for MicroTCA is these four important vertical markets.

An important component of this research was an investigation into the importance of the MicroTCA value propositions for each of the interviewed end users. Value propositions were defined and tested to track how much each vertical market values the potential benefits of MicroTCA and therefore the potential for the architecture to gain acceptance by addressing major pain points for customers.

Respondents rated each value proposition on a scale of one to five, where five was the highest rating. VDC then derived an average rating for each value proposition within each vertical market. A total score was also calculated for each vertical by adding together the final scores of the value propositions as they were rated by OEMs within each vertical. This allowed for the four investigated vertical markets to be ranked relative to each other on their potential demand for MicroTCA – a high score represents a large demand for the benefits of MicroTCA.

The mil/aero market received the second highest total score, closely following telecom/datacom – the market for which the architecture was originally invented. The mil/aero ratings for the MicroTCA value propositions are shown in the exhibit below and yield a total score of 48.3, which compares to the telecom/datacom score of 50.4. These ratings show that there is a large appetite for the benefits offered by MicroTCA in the mil/aero market, driven largely by the increase in network-centric applications in the mil/aero market, for which the network-centric MicroTCA architecture is well suited.

embedded computing architecture - VDC

Further inspection of the MicroTCA value proposition ratings in the mil/aero market shows that MicroTCA fits the military mandate for COTS-based systems to contain military spending and waste through the use of commercially available components. Time-to-market increases were the second most highly rated value proposition by the mi/aero respondents following closely behind reliability. MicroTCA can save military customers significant time in design/development, testing/verification of systems, training of support staff and FEAs, supply chain support, and qualification of components/parts. This provides the potential not only for defense contractors using MicroTCA to better satisfy their customers’ requirements in a timely manner, but also to provides the primes with major cost savings because they no longer need to support these activities on their own.

“The military/aerospace market has been identified as one of material, near term potential for MicroTCA and our research efforts confirm the existence in this market segment of a demand for the benefits offered by MicroTCA. If MicroTCA can prove to defense contractors that the architecture is rugged enough there will be scalable, profitable demand for MicroTCA in mil/aero applications,” says Eric Heikkila, Director of VDC’s Embedded Hardware and Systems Practice. “MicroTCA suppliers must get to mil/aero industry trade shows and pursue other defense specific demand generation activities to increase the familiarity of mil/aero customers with the existence of this architecture borne in the telecom/datacom market. MicroTCA can provide these customers with great performance and exceptional value, so a little education will go a long way in generating demand to drive the MicroTCA market forward. Fully understanding the MicroTCA value propositions and their value customers is key to this effort.”

Further investigation of customers’ perceptions and expectations for MicroTCA are provided in the full VDC report, including deeper definitions of what the MicroTCA value propositions discussed above actually mean to the respondents.

Venture Development Corporation (VDC) is an independent technology market research and strategy consulting firm that specializes in a number of industrial, embedded, component, retail automation, RFID, AIDC, datacom/telecom, and defense markets. VDC has been operating since 1971, when the firm was founded by graduates of the Harvard Business School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Today, we employ a talented collection of analysts and consultants who offer a rare combination of expertise in the market research process; experience in technology product and program management; and formal training in engineering and marketing. VDC’s clients include thousands of the largest and fastest-growing technology suppliers in the world and the most successful investors participating in the markets we cover.