By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk
Market research is an important tool in the development of embedded systems, and the firms that provide such data are seeing a key consolidation into just two large and relatively unknown conglomerates. This has happened before, with the Gartner Group taking over Dataquest in 1995, with the resulting loss of key semiconductor research and loss of confidence in the quality of the data and understanding of the embedded industry.
Now the NPD group is taking over In-Stat, joining it with screen hardware data supplier DisplayScreen purchased in 2005. “In-Stat will be a strategic addition to the NPD family of analyst businesses,” said Tim Bush, General Manager of The NPD Group’s Analyst Services, into which In-Stat will report. “By combining information and services from DisplaySearch and In-Stat, we will be able to offer the industry a complete view of the digital world, including analysis of how digital content is affecting the evolving hardware market.”
Mark Kirstein, CEO of In-Stat sees it positively of course: “We are delighted to become a part of The NPD Group family. As part of The NPD Group’s Analyst Services we will be better able to serve our clients on a global basis, as well as leverage NPD’s complementary market information and scale.”
This mirrors the recent deals by IHS taking over supply chain researchers iSuppli and screen content data supplier Screen Digest last year.
IHS and NPD are relatively unknown in the embedded industry, unlike iSuppli, In-Stat, Screen Digest and DisplayScreen, and while all the organisations are keeping their own identity at the moment, the tendency, as shown by Gartner, is to combine them into a wider group.
NPD supplies data to a bewildering selection of industries, including automotive, beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys, and wireless. The specialist electronics skills of In-Stat are likely to become lost in this wide range, which would be a great shame.