Which Embedded Conferences to Attend in 2021 and 2022

Conferences for embedded software engineers are invaluable in terms of gaining knowledge and the people you meet. I've worked as an embedded engineer for years and have gone to many conferences. Here are our expert recommendations on which to attend.

In this article:

2021 Embedded conferences
2021 Conferences featuring an embedded track
2022 Embedded conferences

2021 embedded conferences

In 2021, many embedded engineering conferences will be all or partially virtual. But a few organizations are planning in-person events. Here are details on some of the most notable conferences for 2021, along with expert insights about their offerings.

Online embedded conferences in 2021

The Embedded Online Conference (EOC) 2021 (May 17-20, now on-demand) features Jack Ganssle, a well-known embedded systems engineer, author, and speaker, who designed some of the first embedded systems. The event also features Steve Scandore, the flight software technical lead for the Mars Perseverance Rover, which landed on Mars in February 2021. Dozens of other experts also speak at the conference.

"The EOC looks like it rivals the technical program of the former Embedded Systems Conference and Embedded World," Ganssle says of the conference.

Ganssle, who since 1997 has produced a free newsletter called the Embedded Muse, says he is especially interested in several speakers at the conference. Here are is his thoughts:

  • Steve Scandore - The Mars Perseverance Rover ... is a marvel of embedded engineering, and I can't wait to hear about its design."
  • Johan Kraft and Jacob Beningo are presenting talks about best practices in using RTOSes (real-time operating systems.) I see no end of systems that implement these badly, causing lots of difficult-to-reproduce bugs.
  • Colin O'Flynn talks about realistic security threats sounds like a very practical introduction to what actions a developer should take to build secure systems.
  • Colin Walls delves into testing, which is a huge problem. James Grenning will introduce test-driven development with a hands-on workshop. 
  • Jean Labrosse talks about memory protection units. I've long thought these could be amazing ways to build fault-tolerant applications.
  • Henk Muller's talk is about building predictable real-time systems addresses a problem we usually ignore—as it's so difficult. Yet, without this, we don't really know how reliable our systems are.

Brent Horine, Ph.D., is a Senior Embedded Software Developer with Hypergiant, an enterprise AI company that works with space and defense industries and critical infrastructure. He says the Embedded Online Conference highlights "lots of great how-to talks by well-known voices in the industry. Low-level topics that are great for the practicing engineer to sharpen his/her skills."

Jacob Beningo, an author, speaker, and embedded software consultant, is co-founder of the Embedded Online Conference. "I think each session brings a unique perspective and skill that developers need to have today," he explains.

The conference costs $290.

Other notable embedded conferences in 2021:

  • The 2021 Embedded Linux Conference is the premier event for companies and developers using Linux in embedded products. Earlier this year, there were plans to have a hybrid virtual platform with an in-person event in Dublin, Ireland. Now, the conference will be in Seattle, Washington, September 27-30.
  • Embedded Systems Week will take place virtually October 10-15. The event merges International Symposium on Networks-on-Chip (NOCS) symposium and three conferences: the International Conference on Compilers, Architectures, and Synthesis for Embedded Systems (CASES), the International Conference on Hardware/Software Codesign and System Synthesis (CODES+ISSS), and the ACM SIGBED International  Conference on Embedded Software (EMSOFT). Horine explains, “This collection of conferences is for researchers and those building devices and tools for the embedded developer. You will see things here first and then later in the other events in this list."
  • Qt World Summit 2021 in November 3 offers embedded engineers the latest news on Qt technology, software tools and features and possibility to learn from the community. 
  • Qt's DEV/DES DAYS 2021 was a virtual conference May 18-21. Speakers shared their thoughts about best practices in user interface (UI) and software development. Horine says the conference offered "a good approach to combine design and development and talk about processes." Watch the content on-demand here.
  • The 2021 Embedded Vision Summit (EVS) was a virtual conference May 25-28.

2021 conferences that include embedded software development sections within broader topics

The Drive World + Embedded Systems Conference was an in-person event August 16-18 in San Jose, California, and will focus on embedded systems and IoT.

Download our 2021 Embedded Conferences At-A-Glance Matrix

2022 embedded conferences

Most 2022 embedded conferences that are already scheduled will be in-person events. The most esteemed event is the Embedded World Conference in March. But other notable conferences will take place throughout the year.

  • Embedded World Conference: After a one-year hiatus (the March 2021 conference was virtual), the noted event will return to its home in Nuremberg, Germany, March 15-17, 2022.

    "This event is huge," shares Ganssle. "Typically 35,000 people attend. I think engineers should strive to attend this event at least every other year."

    Horine agrees, "The expo format has lots of vendor talks about their products that can help the embedded engineer get to market. If I’m wearing my researcher hat, I’d pass on this one in favor of others. But if I’m wearing my principal engineer hat, this would be a good one to attend to make sure I am up to date on processes and procedures for development and get-to-market. I’ll also see the latest tools offerings that could help my team be more productive."

    For information on accessing videos and other materials from the 2021 conference, visit the Embedded World Conference website.
  • The Embedded Technology Convention USA: This event will be June 8-9 in Las Vegas. The conference features the latest developments and research in embedded automotive systems, chip and sensor technology, artificial intelligence, deep learning, cloud connectivity, and embedded security.
  • The International Conference on Embedded Wireless Systems and Networks: This annual forum presents the research results in networked embedded systems. You’ll find research in wireless sensor networks and the Internet of Things (IoT.) The conference will be October 3-5 in Linz, Austria.
  • UKEmbedded: The organization postponed the 2021 event, but returns on May 12, 2022, in Coventry, England. The free exhibition explores embedded engineering advances and development in the United Kingdom.

Download our 2022 Embedded Conferences At-A-Glance Matrix

Conferences are a bedrock of learning and networking for embedded engineers

Keeping up to date in embedded software development is critical for embedded engineers. Conferences can introduce them to the newest technologies and help them continually improve and advance their engineering capabilities.

"Conferences are extremely important for engineers," adds Ganssle. "We get so focused on our current project that we never learn new ways of doing things. Historically, conferences were mixes of trade shows (lots of exhibitors) and technical programs. The trade show portion is great for getting hands-on access to new products. The tech programs give deep dives into subjects of interest to us."

Explore Qt World Summit 2021 

Embedded engineers can meet and learn from the embedded industry thought leaders behind Qt and the Qt ecosystem at the Qt World Summit 2021 in November. Engineers can also see all of the keynotes, technology talk and interactive Q&As from the 2020 Qt World Summit Online.

Please share any conferences we may have missed and let us know about your experience at the events mentioned in the comments.