Almost all devices that we have today include the elements of embedded software: industrial automation tools, various electronic devices, guidance systems, anti-lock brakes, etc. So far, embedded software is an integral part of almost any industry, but what makes it so special? In fact, this software type is an indispensable constituent of our life as they guarantee accuracy, reliability, and excellent performance speed.
However, embedded software is an element of a bigger system (this can be a digital watch, smartphone, industrial equipment, etc). What’s more, such systems must always have a real-time response within the time specified by the operator. Besides, embedded systems must be reliable and withstand all the changes in the operating environment. Therefore, embedded software companies usually face a myriad of challenges while building the software. In this post, we’ll take a deeper look at all these obstacles that don’t allow programmers of embedded software to do their work faster.
Let’s begin with the basics. Safety is the key option of embedded systems because they are frequently used in lifesaving functionality in the most critical environments. Therefore, the software development cycle features stricter requirements and limitations in terms of engineering expertise, software quality, and testing. Overall, programmers should be more attentive to this feature.
It goes without saying that in the IoT segment, time-to-revenue and time-to-market are the main indicators in embedded software development. Therefore, a wide array of applications and platforms that could support IoT devices are still at the development stage. The thing is that building high-quality and reliable hardware components for embedded systems requires flexibility and integration because of the rapid development of the IoT industry. Plus, there’s another problem for component designers. IoT devices have a longer lifespan and that’s why future software updates can be a problem.
Integrity and Compatibility
Statistically, most mobile apps that we have on the App Store or Google PlayMarket were built by companies younger than 3 years old. Unfortunately, not all of them have decent experience in this niche and understand the specifics of updating the apps in the IoT environment.
Besides, users of IoT devices must understand how to administer the app through a simple user interface across all possible channels. And all this requires excellent compatibility across the whole ecosystem.
Integrity and security are inseparable parts and don’t exist without each other. IoT devices must be properly protected from compromising or various malicious cyberattacks and this means that security must be implemented at every level of software development.
Firmware remote update is another challenge that should be tackled by software developers. If it’s a simple standalone device, the updates are easy – available updates are sent to a secure website and after that, all users receive the notification that they need to download and install updates.
However, when it comes to IoT devices, the situation is absolutely different. In such a scenario, all updates must be executed quickly on their own, and user intervention is not needed. And that’s a problem as programmers need to fulfill a variety of tasks, ranging from generating an update and checking if they are delivered to running the available updates at an appropriate time. Overall, these tasks require time, skills, and professionalism. To tackle that challenge, software developers must have decent experience in building the software and deploying updates on IoT devices.
The thing is that designers must add more processing power and much longer battery life into small spaces, and sometimes, it is really hard to overcome this challenge. Besides, a lot depends on the application of IoT devices. So far, we can see a growing demand for inexpensive, low-power, and configurable processors with highly compatible instruction sets. And that’s the key design limitation.
Regardless of all these challenges, it goes without saying that embedded systems are here to stay. They open a wide array of new opportunities, improve living standards, and make our lives easier. Software developers must keep track of the latest challenges in this niche and do the utmost to overcome all these challenges and build top-notch and high-quality products!
Also Read: Learn How to Prototype an Embedded Device?