Device manufacturers turn to talent acquisition and cross-platform software development tools to fuel productivity

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Device manufacturers are switching focus to adopting cross-platform development tools and acquiring new talent in order to fuel efficiencies, according to research undertaken by Qt Group.

The study of 250 embedded device manufacturers in the US, UK, France and Germany, conducted by Censuswide, also revealed that macroeconomic pressures are forcing delays and price increases for connected devices. A huge 38% were experiencing delays in time-to-market, while almost half (48%) said they had been forced to increase prices.

To stem the impact of these challenges, some 38% stated they were adopting cross-platform development tools, and 37% revealed that they are focused on acquiring new talent, providing a positive outlook in the wake of widespread layoffs in the technology sector. Streamlining product lines and rewriting software also scored highly.

“The macroeconomic challenges of the past few years have caused significant disruption across multiple industries, so understandably device manufacturers are seeking ways to become more productive”, said Marko Kaasila, Senior Vice President, Product Management, at Qt Group. 

“Modern cross-platform tools can help to combat this as platform and hardware agnostic approaches will enable developers to focus on how to solve problems, driving considerable efficiencies across development, testing and maintenance, and achieving quicker overall time-to-market. The changes that are sweeping the industry in the wake of the disruption of recent years will undoubtedly leave device manufacturers much better equipped to tackle future periods of downturn and supply issues.”

Despite economic pressures, the findings indicate resilience amongst device manufacturers when it comes to UI/UX investment, with many recognising the need for innovative product development in exceeding customer expectations. Overall, UI/UX investment has remained relatively flat across most regions. 

The UK is the only region where investments in UI/UX are decreasing, with respondents investing 37% of the available budget on UI/UX improvements compared to 42% over the past year. In the US, France, and Germany, budgets are increasing – in the US, from 40% up to 44%, in France, from 34% up to 39%, and in Germany, from 27% up to 33%. The disparity could be explained by factors such as Brexit and the more severe cost of living crisis that is currently impacting the UK, where energy costs are much higher in comparison to the US and the rest of Europe.

However, to maximise their investment potential and deliver innovative UI/UX, global device manufacturers must overcome a number of barriers. Automotive device manufacturers cited ‘maintenance and update requirements’ (34%) as a key challenge. In healthcare, it was ‘difficulty in identifying user needs’ (47%). 

In consumer electronics ‘lack of understanding of how products are used in daily life’ (50%). Then, among industrial automation device manufacturers, ‘OS and hardware support’ (33%) and ‘lack of understanding of how products are used in daily life’ (33%).

“While the findings shine a light on the wide range of challenges facing connected device manufacturers, it’s clear that an efficient and adaptable product development process must be a key aim as they navigate the macroeconomic instability and strive to meet consumer demands for intuitive and innovative UI/UX”, said Peter Schneider, Senior Product Manager at Qt Group.

“When it comes to a lack of understanding of how products are used in daily life, device manufacturers should invest in more customer intimacy through user and product analytics to better understand how devices and applications are being used”.

Research conducted by Censuswide, on behalf of Qt Group, in December 2022. 250 embedded device manufacturers in automotive, healthcare, consumer electronics, and industrial automation were surveyed. The study was nationally representative.

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