The market for PC/104 family boards was US$ 248.4 million in 2007 and projected at US$ 262.7 million in 2008 according to the latest embedded stackables research from VDC Research Group, released last month. Actual 2007 dollar shipments of PC/104 family boards were 5.7% lower than had been projected in VDC’s most recent prior PC/104 study, published in 2006. This may be, in part, due to a delay in the release of a standard covering use of PCI Express as a module-to-module interconnect. This delay may have slowed PC/104 growth in high-end applications over the past two years. Ultimately, the PC/104 Consortium issues a set of specifications generically called PCI/104-Express (including PCI/104-Express and PCIe/104), while a new body, SFF-SIG, issued a somewhat different standard called Express104. Both have the potential for success.
The PC/104 family comprises several relatively small, fragmented niche markets. The architecture is often used in highly specialized applications where customization, quality, and satisfying the application requirements are paramount, even more important than price. Leading vendors are often relatively small and very focused, successful through being “in sync” with their customers. Larger, more diverse suppliers also compete successfully in this marketplace by utilizing similar tactics.
Of the established PC/104 family architectures, PC/104-Plus shows the highest projected growth, replacing traditional PC/104. Both suppliers and users recognize the inadequacies of the old ISA bus, and are moving toward the faster PCI bus. However, many prefer to retain the ISA bus as well because of its backward compatibility with legacy expansion modules. For this reason projected growth of PCI-104 is substantially lower than that of PC/104-Plus.
The new PC/104 Express category (including PCI/104-Express, PCIe/104, and Express104) is projected to show a very high growth rate. However, it is pointed out that base year 2007 shipments of these were very small (approximately US$ 0.4 million). Thus, even a modest actual increase in revenue may result in a significant rate of growth.
About VDC Research Group
VDC Research Group (VDC) is a technology market research and strategy consulting firm that advises clients in a number of technology markets including: Automatic Identification and Data Collection, Embedded Hardware and Systems, Embedded Software and Tools, Industrial Automation and Control, Mobile and Wireless, and Power Conversion and Control. Using rigorous primary research and analysis techniques, the firm helps its clients identify, plan for, and capitalize on current and emerging market opportunities. We strive to deliver exceptional value to our clients by leveraging the considerable technical, operational, educational and professional experience of our research and consulting staff. During our nearly four decades of ongoing operation, we have had the pleasure of serving most of the world’s leading technology companies, many high-profile start-ups, and numerous blue-chip early and later stage investors. Our products and services consist of research reports, annual research programs, and custom research and consulting services. Founded in 1971, the firm is located in the Boston area.