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DSO message not getting through, survey finds

Jul 28, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Forty-one percent of embedded developers surveyed have heard of “DSO,” but only 12 percent say they know what it is, according to Venture Development Corp. (VDC), whose latest study assesses DSO acceptance in light of “significant time and resources” spent by vendors to define and execute their DSO strategies.

Readers of LinuxDevices still in the dark about the term should read our comprehensive short history of DSO. In a nutshell, the term aims to replace “embedded software” — which arguably makes software seem invisible and unimportant — with a term reflective of software's role as a key differentiator in today's devices.

The term also hints at opportunities to leverage software strategically, either by 1) optimizing a software stack for use and re-use across a class of devices; or 2) optimizing an off-the-shelf, commercial software stack for a particular device, rather than writing the stack from scratch. These “DSO” activities represent, respectively, the endeavors of DSO proponents such as Wind River and Enea, and of their customers.

Since the term's introduction two years ago, the DSO message has been elucidated multiple times, by Wind River CEO Ken Klein, CMO John Bruggeman, Enea CEO Johan Wall, and others. However, the message may not be getting through, VDC's study suggests. The research firm surveyed 348 engineers employed by “embedded system manufacturers” (ESMs), with the following results:

  • I have heard of DSO and know what it is — 11.80 percent
  • I have heard of DSO but don't know what it is — 29.60 percent
  • I have not heard of the term DSO — 58.60 percent

VDC's senior embedded analyst, Steve Balacco, believes part of the problem stems from slightly different messaging from various vendors that have adopted the term. “Vendors seem to have slightly different takes on just what is meant by their use of the acronym 'DSO' as a means to communicate strategic product and service offerings.”

Another challenge, Balacco believes, is the difficulty of putting across a term that ambitiously aims to define an entire industry. “Perhaps this idea of DSO as its own market provides the most confusion for developers and market participants. It may be that changing the mind-sets within these organizations will prove more difficult to achieve than expected.”

VDC's findings summary concludes, “Vendors need to inwardly examine their strategies, and refine and focus the message so that ESMs can relate to and evaluate the benefits of investing in integrated commercial off-the-shelf software platforms.”

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