Most enterprises worldwide utilize cutting-edge IT services such as AI in transportation or in healthcare to enhance their business potential and meet clients’ demands. Any company, big or small, actively uses computers, local area nets, routers and other equipment in everyday work. Lots of enterprises provide various kinds of devices and gadgets, all running on hardware platforms and requiring certain software to, actually, enable their functioning. That is what firmware and embedded software stand for.
Embedded firmware development includes the engineering processes that ensure hardware and software compatibility. Therefore, the embedded firmware developers are not only proficient coders but also have in-depth knowledge and hands-on expertise working with hardware. For example, the embedded solutions engineers at Sirin Software pass several stages of interviews and perform test projects in various simulators before they get hired.
What Stands Behind the Embedded Firmware Development
The first known embedded software was Apollo Guidance Computer, developed back in the 1960s. The system worked on automatic data acquisition and performed crucial evaluating for the Apollo command module and the lunar module. ATMs, smartphones, game consoles, satellite navigators, printers, traffic lights and many more are all great examples of devices empowered by embedded systems. As enterprises tend to utilize AR and VR and organize numerous devices in IoT, the embedded solutions are constantly evolving.
There are splits over a concrete definition of the embedded firmware. Simply speaking, firmware refers to a type of software that runs on a read-only memory basis. Thus, embedded firmware development takes care of providing clear and exhaustive instructions for devices and enables their smooth functions to perform. Embedded systems aim at fulfilling some particular task or a number of tasks within a larger system. The embedded firmware is responsible for a number of functions:
- Coding and performing design specifications, embedding of preprogrammed algorithms;
- Operating inputs and outputs;
- Realization of varied standards on registration of a code;
- The control over task fulfilment for platform compilation;
- Monitoring of information transfer from gauges;
- Maintenance of communication between interfaces “product-computer”;
- Development of communication protocols, etc.
Evidently, embedded systems have to match certain well-defined requirements to ensure the successful performance of those functions. Therefore, embedded firmware developers have to cope with numerous challenges on the way to building flawless embedded solutions:
- The main challenge is to choose the right platform for the project development. If engineers pick up a platform in which resources are not enough for the project to complete, they will have to start the work from scratch on a different platform. If they choose a too powerful and complicated platform with needless features, the project elaboration costs may exceed the initial budget.
- Choice and adaptation of the existing employed algorithms to the limited resources of the chosen development platform. To handle this task, embedded firmware developers need to be agile in the Kernel, System and Application engineering.
- Make sure that the developed firmware is compatible with the current embedded hardware design. Thus, developing embedded systems at a professional level demands extensive expertise in physics and electronics.
To ensure the successful development of various firmware and embedded software it is important to align all the stages of the working process. Keep it in mind though, sticking to the same plan when working on different projects doesn’t guarantee the successful fulfilment of all the tasks set to the engineers. However, a standard plan that a developers’ team can apply in the very beginning may help them to prioritize the completion of the tasks for each particular project:
- Defining the requirements of the system. The first step should be understanding what functions the system should perform.
- Plan the architecture of the system. The architecture of the embedded firmware describes the persistent features, and it’s crucial to regulate the way the system is going to perform its functions at this stage.
- Timing the processes. Setting the precise amount of time for every function to be performed.
- The test is for the best. Any program, software, application, etc. developed needs to pass through several stages of testing. The engineers usually spend much more time on testing and debugging rather than on coding.
- Ensuring the system is versatile. While the embedded hardware design may pass through enormous changes with time, developers need to make sure that the firmware is easily customized.
Advantages of Applying Embedded Solutions
The demands of consumers and, consequently, of the enterprises become more exquisite with time. Embedded firmware development turns out to be a useful tool for solving many technological tasks while helping companies increase their revenue:
- Embedded systems are compact and literally occupy less space than “traditional” computers;
- The high efficiency of this technology helps to reduce the costs spent on the overall software development;
- The embedded firmware solutions are scalable and versatile which makes utilizing the technology much more cost-effective;
- Insurance of the smooth and secure work of the whole system;
- Increase of the productivity and quality output
- Developing embedded systems to integrate into their corporate software, companies can always fall back on outsourcing this service from such proficient agency as Sirin Software. Outsourcing firmware development helps to save enormous amounts of time, funds, andeffort.
Embedded firmware solutions are great for literally any business sphere, in which efficiency, usability, availability, industrial stability, low IT services expenses, and others are relevant. The market of embedded systems is growing is forecast to reach up to 20$ billion by 2025. Introducing AI in transportation or building a massive IoT for smart homes with embedded firmware development is an effective method to grow the business quickly and safely.