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Today, no matter where in the world the device is located, it can call home and ask for the latest-and-greatest firmware with bug fixes and feature updates.
A decade from now, firmware development may be nothing more than software integration, grabbing vendor and third-party components, and meshing their APIs together to form a final system.
Design, simulation, manufacturability, and prototyping: All of these phases are being pushed forward and progressively by underlying technologies.
From design feasibility, to development, to production, having the right information to make good decisions can ultimately keep a product from failing validation. The key is highly focused information that doesn’t come from conventional, statistics-based tests but from accelerated stress testing.
There’s a good chance that a few of the things mentioned here won't fully come to fruition in 2015 but rather much later down the line. However, as Malcolm X once said, "The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."