What do IT professionals need to know about embedded systems? Plenty, if researchers are right about the growth in this area.
Embedded systems, typically sensors and tracking mechanisms embedded in various devices, are spurring on the Internet of Things. And IT needs to get ready for a fresh onslaught of data.
According to embedded systems industry group Artemis, the value of the embedded systems market worldwide is over US$94 billion, growing at an estimated rate of 14 percent annually.
Separately, the Canadian Alliance for Advanced Technology (CATA) this week predicted that embedded systems will be key to the "reindustrialization of Canada."
We've addressed this issue before on Internet Evolution. But given the growth predicted in this space, it looks like it's worth it to review. Just where will IT pros feel the impact of growing hordes of embedded systems?
Scanning the news and literature turns up the following partial checklist regarding the areas where IT needs to prepare for more information from embedded sensors in everything from toasters to medical equipment (specifics vary depending on your industry sector):
Cloud services. At least one source declares cloud computing to be ideal for working with embedded systems data, in part because the clouds can easily gather data from multiple single-function devices. Enterprises should keep an eye on cloud services that may fit their need for sensor data later on.
Mobile networking and connectivity. The fact that many embedded systems are also wireless-compatible raises the specter of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), in which gear formerly unrelated to the corporate network is required to be logged in. Get ready.
Real-time support. Since sensors in medical equipment and other connected devices will feed into analytics programs, it's vital that IT be ready to cope with real-time information flows. Selecting vendors with support for real-time analytics could be key to keeping ahead in your industry.
Open-source. Many embedded systems will be designed via open-source software and development platforms. Familiarity with these techniques could make it a lot easier to customize information gathering and applications that rely on sensor data.
Security. Always a priority for IT, security must become a specialty for IT pros who are involved with embedded systems. Control systems have become key targets for cybercriminals. Make certain you're prepared.
— Mary Jander , Managing Editor, Internet Evolution