Embedded Product Development: From Idea to Production
According to statistics, the embedded computing technology market exceeded $100 billion in total value in 2019 and promises to grow by 6% annually over the next 7 years. This means that the number of projects involving embedded products will also grow restlessly.
If you are interested in developing a similar project, you will probably find it useful to go through the major steps of embedded product development. And if you don’t want to bother with all these nuances at all, just contact specialists at Sirin Software.
WHY COMPANIES ADDRESS EMBEDDED SYSTEMS ENGINEERING SERVICES?
For starters, let’s try to figure out why so many companies prefer embedded device programming services over traditional software creation efforts.
- Simple configurations. Integrated circuits are usually custom-built and therefore require little or no administration.
- Fast upgrades. In order to update the system, you will need to replace several circuit boards, as opposed to application software updates that have to be returned to the developers for lengthy revision and re-testing.
- Fixed pricing. The budget for developing embedded products can be planned at the outset, as opposed to developing regular software.
- Rapid testing.For embedded products, testing is done based on a limited list of procedures, whereas testing application software, it may as well be impossible to get rid of all bugs completely.
HOW DOES THE PROCESS OF EMBEDDED PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT GO?
The major steps of embedded product development include the following.
Embedded systems engineering begins with forming a product idea. At this stage, it is necessary to find out the feasibility of launching the product, learn the needs of the target audience, and understand whether it can satisfy users in the long run. In particular, you will need to collect market data – for example, through online research and/or interviews with potential customers. Thus, you can justify two important points:
- issues your product solves.Each product has its own target audience, and each target audience has its own pain points (problems that need to be solved, or goals that need to be achieved). Your goal is to eliminate these pain points faster, cheaper, and conveniently for the end user (compared to competitive solutions). If you manage to cover all these three aspects, you will achieve the maximum profit;
- project budget. The final set of features and tools for their implementation directly affects the cost of the project. Fortunately, it can be more or less accurately determined even at the stage of forming an idea.
At this stage of embedded product development, you need to compose a detailed document with requirements for the design of software and embedded system hardware. This document should describe the functionality of the product, its design features, interface nuances, characteristics of the deployment environment, as well as requirements for allowable loads and security.
In this phase of embedded product development, software architects translate the requirements described in the tech specs into a form that developers can understand. As a rule, these are multi-element block diagrams and a list of software and hardware tools for their implementation. In particular, architects at this stage of embedded device programming are determined with the manufacturers and models of chips, printed circuit boards, frameworks, libraries, etc.
This is where embedded systems engineering specialists implement the previously outlined architecture. This uses a previously created schematic of the PCB layout. Also, based on the block diagram, firmware and, if required, application software is created. This stage also includes work on the design of the hull.
Hardware and software testing is essential to verify the reliability of a product. For any embedded product, you need to develop a proper test plan that includes the following steps:
- testing embedded system hardware in the lab environment;
- testing software/firmware in the lab environment;
- testing a finished product in the field conditions.
As for the latter point, it is very important to take into account the environmental conditions. Temperature, humidity, vibration, pressure, etc. can significantly affect the performance of the product.
After testing in the field, all non-conformities with the previously indicated technical specifications should be taken into account and finalized. After that, the product is re-sent for a repeated procedure for embedded computing technology testing and so on until it fully complies with the provisions of the technical specifications.
Before launching a solution for work, you will likely need to verify that the product has certifications for government and manufacturing regulations, depending on the region specifics.
As you can see, embedded product development is a multi-stage and complex process that is not easy to implement on your own. So if you are interested in developing such a product, you can always contact the seasoned embedded electronics engineer team from Sirin Software to discuss the details of your future project.