MEMS and Sensors

Study: Demand soars for single board computers

02 September 2021
The most popular single board computer is the Raspberry Pi such as the Raspberry Pi 4 and have the most loyal engineers that use them. Source: Raspberry Pi Foundation

New research from Newark, a division of Avnet, shows that low-cost single board computers (SBCs) are now a viable building block in all stages of new product development and production.

Newark said about 50% of professional engineers surveyed use SBCs for industrial and internet of things (IoT) applications.

Raspberry Pi is the most popular board with 44% of professionals preferring it to other SBCs and engineers are loyal and less likely to use other SBCs than engineers who preferred a different board. Arduino was ranked second at 28% and Beagleboard was third with 6%.

Demand for SBCs is rising as the parts help reduce time to market and allow OEMs to respond to trends in the supply chain faster. Maybe more importantly, SBCs are being used in all stages of product development and production, with 23% of responders using SBCs for proof of concept and 35% for prototyping.

Additional findings from Newark’s research include:

  • About 20% of engineers use SBCs in developing test equipment or in testing itself.
  • Around 22% of engineers use low-cost SBCs in production units.
  • About 24% of professionals build their own boards for use with SBCs.
  • Reducing time-to-market is a key objective for using these boards.
  • Only 20% of engineers use artificial intelligence and machine learning in their SBCs.
  • Touchscreens are, by far, the most popular accessory with cameras and kits for power supply barriers or solar panels also in demand.
  • Engineers are more likely to have customized boards than makers.

“This new research clearly illustrates the widespread adoption of SBCs among engineers working in commercial, IoT, and industrial environments,” said Romain Soreau, head of SBC at Newark. “The success of the Raspberry Pi and Arduino is driven by a powerful combination of high performance, versatility, features and accessories, low cost, and a large active user community, making these platforms very attractive to engineers looking to develop and deploy a broad range of applications quickly. The use of SBCs in prototyping provides opportunities for engineers to significantly reduce computing costs and get new products to market much faster.”

The survey ran from March 2021 to May 2021 and received 1,500 responses from professionals, engineers and makers working with SBCs.

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