Data I/O, IAR Systems partner to efficiently speed up MCU production process

February 20, 2018 Rich Nass

Sometimes what appears to be unlikely bedfellows ends up being a great marriage. That was the case (at least in my mind) when I heard about the partnership between Data I/O and IAR Systems. My first reaction was, what do these companies have in common that requires a partnership, and what is gained by the formal arrangement that couldn’t be had otherwise?

For background, Data I/O, headquartered in Redmond, WA, provides security provisioning and programming systems for flash memory, microcontrollers (MCUs), and logic devices. Markets the company currently plays in include automotive, IoT, medical, consumer, industrial, and so on. IAR, based in Sweden, is a provider of embedded development tools, including the popular Embedded Workbench product. It operates in similar markets.

As is was explained to me by Anthony Ambrose, the CEO of Data I/O, designers that employ the products of both companies appear to be spending too much development time converting completed MCU firmware into production-ready first articles.

The first point of contention is recognizing that there actually is a problem with the current conditions, and recognizing that there must be a better way to handle this phase of the development process. Once that point is clear, the solution should lie in a seamless workflow to ensure resource efficiency and a faster time to market, all while maintaining (or improving) the level of quality and the required level of security.

And that’s precisely where the partnership between the two companies makes sense—to efficiently ease the transition of MCU firmware design from development to manufacturing for OEMs by making the connection between the IAR design flow and the Data I/O manufacturing flow more seamless. Once you have it explained to you, it’s an “oh yeah, that makes a lot of sense” moment.

The reason for the formal partnership is to allow the direct communication between the two companies so that any potential obstacles can be removed and the development process can be further automated before the OEM even begins the design flow. It also allows IAR and Data I/O to establish a shared vision for a modern workflow that incorporates architecture, design, first article, and manufacturing, rather than requiring the OEM to navigate these tricky waters on his own.

And, according to Stefan Skarin, IAR’s CEO, the two companies have committed to integrate future processes and tools, giving developers the confidence that’s needed to incorporate the workflow.

At the end of the of the day, it appears to be a marriage that makes sense.

About the Author

Rich Nass

Richard Nass is the Executive Vice-President of OpenSystems Media. His key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OpenSystems Media’s Embedded and IoT product portfolios, including web sites, e-newsletters, print and digital magazines, and various other digital and print activities. He was instrumental in developing the company's on-line educational portal, Embedded University. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for UBM’s award-winning Design News property. Prior to that, he led the content team for UBM Canon’s Medical Devices Group, as well all custom properties and events in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 25 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times, handling the Embedded and Custom groups and the TechOnline DesignLine network of design engineering web sites. Nass holds a BSEE degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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