For about five years now, we have been designing ejectors, fasteners, and alignment pins for the forthcoming ATCA market. Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions are all the rage in embedded computing— improving time to market, reducing development and material costs, and allowing OEMs to focus on their specialized components (special sauce!), while fitting in the bigger picture.
Well, the market ramp-up has been much slower than anticipated due to factors including slower adoption, product readiness and the recession. And, the high initial investment by suppliers, coupled with the slow adoption, had some people worried. However according to Simon Stanley of Light Reading, the ATCA market is set to grow significantly over the next three years.
Another notable occurrence in this area is the adoption of the PICMG standards by markets other than telecom. Much like its predecessor CompactPCI, telecom was the original target market for ATCA (along with AMC and MicroTCA) and was expected to show the highest revenue and growth. According to VDC Research Group, telecom accounted for 70% of cPCI business in 2007. However, a funny thing happened on the way to adoption… other markets surpassed telecom, especially in AMC and MicroTCA applications. According to Crystal Cube Consulting, the MicroTCA vertical market breakdown in 2009 showed that Military/Aerospace market share was triple that of Telecom, with Medical and Industrial following closely behind.
So what are we excited about?
First, the ATCA market is growing, which makes Southco and the other suppliers in this ecosystem happy. Also, PICMG recently announced their effort to expand the ATCA market and applications beyond central office telecom. And finally, AMC and MicroTCA has become a serious player in other markets, especially military and aerospace. Therefore, we should see steady ramp up of the market (and our ejectors) from here on out. So buckle your seatbelts and come along for the ride…