Embedded software is always going to be a component of a much larger system such as a mobile device, a digital watch, an automobile. Based on the time dictated by design, these types of embedded systems require a real-time response in every situation and perform with the constraints of limited memory, energy supply, and processing power. Immunity to Change is essential for embedded software within its functional environment as surrounding sensors, processors or hardware components could alter over a period of time.
In the IoT age where we have begun to connect nearly everything all the way down to our toothbrush, complexities of the systems are going through the roof. Having to develop embedded software is not as easy as it once was. The creation of a standalone device has always been a challenging undertaking for most embedded software services teams.
Challenges Facing Embedded Software Services
The developers of traditional disconnected embedded software services have found that there are numerous varying new challenges that they are having to face in order to accomplish their success.
- Connecting. This may sound so simple to most, but there is a multitude of different options for you to connect to the internet. Developers are able to use Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular, and a lot of other sources with each having their own benefits and drawbacks as well as varying software stacks that are necessary for the developers to be educated on and thoroughly understand in order to have the hardware functional.
- Updates. Once the device has an internet connection, remote updates of the firmware need to take place. In the age of IoT, things have become so much more complicated in this process. Developers are asked to figure out how to; 1) Initiate an updated job for the firmware, 2) Secure it, 3) Verify that they are using a source that is trusted, 4) Pull back the update for any problems, 5) Decide when is the right time for device update. All of this takes a lot of time for a developer whose job it is to now understand all of these things so that they are able to deploy the products in a successful way.
- Securing. Devices are so well connected today that they are seen by everything on the internet. It is the developers’ job to figure out how to secure these devices in a way that security threats are prevented. This process takes extreme thought as to how the system will be divided, isolated, and which part of the data is going to need to be encrypted and protected. The developers are responsible for recognizing precisely how secure the system is to be.
- Debug. The debugging process is very time-consuming and costly on all embedded projects making it vital that developers be upon all debugging methods available and how to eliminate the likelihood of bugs from the beginning.
These are being noted as the most challenging for embedded software services as they transition from standalone devices into connected devices. As the challenges arise, solutions are on the next horizon just as quickly in a variety of forms. The ideal is getting everyone up to speed as changes transpire and being able to learn and implement these new skills quickly before it all changes again.