Embedded systems… everywhere! (Part I)

You think you know everything about your coffee machine? Think again!

Take a look around your home, you are surrounded by small computers or embedded systems that have an important role in making daily life easier to manage. Technology evolution and software development are continuously opening new paths towards a digital world. You basically use gadgets and applications all day long, for various purposes.

But what you don’t know, is that even a small digital object in your home, has an embedded system with software that can be…hacked. Therefore, the embedded software services specialists are also focusing on security standards.

For example, a recent article published by Forbes shows a funny situation as well as controversial – a company’s coffee machine has been the target for hackers. These ingenious people managed to take control of the device, which, in addition to becoming unusable, was very noisy. Wondering what the hackers wanted to obtain with this? They tried to infiltrate the internal network for important data, but they couldn’t. So, they ended up asking for a ransom to restore the device.

After all, let’s be honest, how many of us wouldn’t pay a fortune for enjoying our coffee in the morning?

When you own a piece of rocket, and don’t know it

And since, we all agree on the importance of the coffee machine, this might be the moment to tell you that this device that makes your mornings sublime has something in common with a rocket travelling through outer space. No, it’s not the coffee effect talking.

This common household appliance, with its rudimentary uses, conceals a greater potential than you would have imagined. Your coffee machine can become an essential part of a technology that leads mankind to the moon. Meanwhile, we can use it to get our daily dose of coffee, which keeps us down to earth.

The secret lies in the embedded parts that are the foundation of IoT systems, and advanced machines.

It’s hard being aware of the omnipresence of embedded systems because we are surrounded by so many devices that integrate them. Whether we refer to our small comfort zone inside the house or the cosmic space, embedded is everywhere.

Embedded & IoT – one connection, endless possibilities

IoT (Internet of Things) systems draw a world in which all the devices around us are interconnected, through an Internet network. Almost as if we have a remote control for everything, not just the TV. Not there yet, but we’re not far either. Any object around us can be part of the IoT, if it has the necessary components. We can already control remotely the devices we use every day, such as lighting source, security cameras or electronics, from our smartphones. Also, IoT can gather and stock a large amount of information. Therefore, in the digital world, this makes you “rich”. Rich in information.

The objects we usually use have quickly and widely adopted embedded systems. Like the coffee machine, we mentioned at the beginning. For most of us, the first thought in the morning is – get a coffee. The electronic device answers our requirements with a push of a button. Just as our purpose is precise, so is the coffee machine’s. Its embedded system is designed with a well-defined purpose – it gives what you want involving minimum effort.

Embedded & Telecommunications

State-of-the-art smartphones, laptops, or tablets are more of a necessity than a whim. This is favored by the current global context. We use these devices at home, at the office, at school, or even on trips and holidays. Isn’t it true that, while drinking your coffee, you scroll your phone to see what’s new on social media or news sites?

Embedded systems are real landmarks when it comes to the speed of data in the digital environment.

Soon, the embedded systems will change what we knew about SIM cards, turning them into eSIM (embedded SIM). Hence, our mobile phones will have an integrated microchip. This will replace the usual cards that sometimes are just really small object that we lose in a blink of an eye, right? For the telecommunications industry, this is a significant step forward.

We know, fascinating how embedded systems are in so many object we use and never thought about! From the now controversial coffee machine, to our indispensable smartphones.

Next week we return with the second part of the article meant to reveal many other secrets and uses of embedded systems in automotive, medicine and aeronautics. Stay tuned!

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