The IoT device market is becoming more and more popular. The number of people who use them daily is also increasing. It is expected that 35 billion IoT products will be in operation by 2021. This means that software developers will have to deal with embedded software development. Firmware development is not easy in itself, but embedded systems take it to a new level of complexity.
The software resides in the system’s RAM. Instructions and data are loaded from permanent memory. By changing the data stored in memory, you also change the instructions used by your program.
Firmware is considered “hard” because once loaded onto the hardware platform, it is difficult to change. This also applies to its instructions, which are stored on a physical device.
But the difference between firmware and software has more to do with understanding the functionality. Firmware is a part of the system that can be easily changed and updated to define new functions for the system. However, these functions can only be implemented within the constraints of hardware and firmware.
The development environment for programming embedded systems differs significantly from test and production environments. Developers can use software stacks, different chip architectures, and even operating systems. By using embedded system technology, the circuitry can be simplified, which reduces cost and size.
But the process of developing embedded software is not so different from the process of developing “standard” software. Regardless of the development/management model used, it consists of the following stages:
An embedded system is a combination of software and hardware. The Embedded Computing Platform combines hardware (built on a microprocessor or microcontroller) and an embedded OS that runs actuators and sensors to perform tasks.
A standard OS offers an environment in which humans and computers actively interact. However, an embedded system performs only one or several types of tasks, even without outside intervention.
The software used in an embedded system is a set of instructions or a program for a device. One or more processing cores drive embedded systems in the form of microcontrollers or digital signal processors, FPGAs or ASIC. Microprocessors or microcontrollers of embedded system hardware are programmed to perform specific tasks by following a set of instructions. Firmware converts microprocessor commands into signals that are understandable to hardware components, and microcontrollers allow functional changes in the process. It is enough to rewrite the firmware code.
Embedded software is written in high-level languages (C++ or Python), and low-level languages (Assembler). Typically, the operating system is Linux or Android. A smart embedded system (like FreeRTOS) can manage many components.
ES varies depending on the complexity of the hardware and soft. As the number of internal components increases, the embedded system becomes more complicated.
Apps of embedded systems are used in many fields, such as medicine, telecommunications, computer networks, electronics, research equipment, and so on. When an embedded system is connected to a network, it becomes an IoT device. That is, the IoT is made up of physical objects with embedded software and network connectivity. In the era of IoT, almost any purpose can have a connected device that you can control and update remotely. It is worth mentioning SigFox and LoRa (Long Range) energy-efficient network technology standards, designed for collecting data from sensors, IoT applications.
Linux is an open-source operating system with a custom kernel. It allows you to create your operating system according to your needs. In this case, only the critical segments are used, which will enable you to keep a small size without affecting the device’s functionality. On the top of the kernel, you can write your app code to create an embedded device!
This significantly reduces development time and costs compared to building an embedded operating system. Sirin Software’s Embedded OS Solutions offer a wide range of Embedded Linux-based products and services.
As far as the basic concept is concerned, Linux is divided into kernel mode and user mode. Access to a hardware device is only possible in kernel mode, and a driver can be thought of as an API provided in kernel mode that allows user-mode code to access the hardware device. These drivers interact with the device using functions supported by the kernel. The performance of the user-space drivers will not be as good as the performance of the drivers running in the core.
Sirin Software develops Linux kernel drivers for embedded devices running on high-power processors. Our engineers have practical experience in modifying and configuring the Linux kernel, creating device drivers, and integrating peripherals for any device and system.
One of the best examples of smart embedded systems is the bassinet, which reacts to a baby’s cry with built-in noise sensors and automatically calms them down—the cradle works based on a mobile application, web server, and firmware. The app acts as a remote control and a baby monitor. It allows the user to control the bed and set parameters using a smartphone remotely.
The backend is implemented as a combination of an admin panel, a cloud-based single page app, and a microservices stack. It provides constant and stable interaction between all elements of the architecture: mobile application, firmware, and hardware.
Our specialization is the development of embedded systems. Sirin Software has extensive experience in developing advanced user firmware for various components of different industries. We are experts in embedded solutions that span both centralized radio systems and interconnected IoT devices with tracking software. Sirin Software specializes in firmware development, including BIOS settings, API utilities, and driver support. Our engineers can also migrate existing device drivers to another operating system or hardware platform.
Embedded systems are used everywhere. They offer automation, security, and availability with minimal maintenance costs. Therefore, it is so important to implement them in complex equipment to increase competitiveness.
Sirin Software brings to reality any customer’s ideas – from creating a specific product to developing custom firmware. The whole process is carefully monitored and completed on time. If you are looking for developers with hands-on experience, Sirin Software is your best bet. We create solutions that millions of people need!