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Accenture: Embedded Developers Need To Raise Their Game

According to a new study by management consultants and technology services company Accenture, both American and British consumers say they are frustrated with frequently used devices that freeze or crash. As a result, these users confirm that they are willing to pay more for better performance from smartphones, TVs, cameras, GPS systems etc. Accenture says that this is a clarion call for developers to work to provide more sophisticated embedded technology to drive new smart features. The company's research also suggests that developers need to focus on making sure they have the right tools in place to test applications and make them user friendly.

From the 2,006 consumers surveyed, device crashing was by far the most important cause of frustration — cited by 39 percent of respondents, which was twice as high as other annoyances such as concerns over privacy, data security or even limited functionality.

When directly asked if they had advice for the software development engineers who design the devices they use everyday, 53 percent of users suggested that they would prefer to wait longer for more powerful next-generation devices (a number which rose to 59 percent among those 18 to 24 years old), than be given devices more quickly with lesser quality assurance. A further 43 percent said that developers might be better off focusing on a limited number of functionalities/applications which are useful, rather than many that they will never use.

The survey threw up some potentially interesting pointers for developers trying to take a wide-angle view of the market to pinpoint the most profitable future vertical sectors to work within.

Specifically, 73 percent expressed their interest in energy efficiency solutions, 66 percent expressed interest in smarter (money saving) home appliances like washing machines and TVs and 63 percent expressed an interest in car sensors to optimize car insurance premiums.

"Users are increasingly interested in the prospect that smarter collection and processing of individual information could lead to them paying lower prices," said Jean-Laurent Poitou, global managing director of the Accenture Embedded Services team. "For example, they could pay less on car insurance if 'black box' data proves they drive more safely than average drivers; and they could pay less for electricity if they modify the timing of use of various household appliances, to better align with the needs of power supply companies. The challenge for developers now is to find ways to engineer these innovative uses of embedded technology to deliver cost savings in ways that are reliable and easy-to-understand."

Accenture's survey of 2,006 consumers in the US and the UK was conducted online in November and December 2010. The sample is representative of the general population in terms of gender, age and income in both countries. The survey sought to determine the current frustrations with how some devices/appliances/machines used in everyday life currently "perform" for consumers.

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