Wherever you’re reading this right now, you’re probably no more than 50 cm away from an embedded system. Mobile phone? Embedded system. Laptop? Embedded system. Smart speaker? You guessed it.
They’re an integral part of our lives but there’s been development in the embedded system world, and that’s the internet, or more specifically the IoT.
The possibilities the IoT brings and the practical uses of embedded systems means that there’s new applications appearing every day. From wearable devices to machine optimisation, there’s barely an industry around that hasn’t been impacted. The exciting part? This is only the start.
The powerhouse of IoT enabled embedded systems is fuelling developments and innovation like nothing else and opening a world that we’ve barely scratched the surface of.
A potted history of embedded systems
Dating back to the 1960s, embedded systems have become an essential part of our daily lives. From cars to mobile phones to sensors to medical equipment, the technology we rely upon wouldn’t function without embedded systems.
Initially designed for collecting real-time flight data for the Apollo launch, its usage shifted into missile guidance and then fuel injection systems for vehicles. Intel then released the first commercially available processor in 1971 and since then, it’s prominence in technology has grown.
But despite our dependence on them, embedded systems haven’t developed much, until recently.
AI and embedded systems
The development of AI has opened a world of opportunities for embedded systems. With the systems themselves becoming more complex many are now able to supplement human decision-making or exceed human capabilities.
Embedded AI operates at a device level, rather than a data centre in the cloud. Helping industries like aviation, finance, manufacturing and healthcare through advanced analytics and business insights.
It’s made embedded systems smarter, and more responsive but that alone isn’t enough. When AI embedded systems are combined with the IoT, that’s where the magic starts to happen.
The impact of IoT
When embedded systems are connected to the internet there’s no limit for their technological capabilities and practical applications. For embedded systems it’s the biggest development in recent years and a game changer for the technical world.
This is a development that’s been building for a few years and slowly the level of internet enabled embedded systems has been increasing.
Let’s take a look at a few areas that have been impacted by developments in embedded systems.
Most of us don’t realise that many of the devices we use on a daily basis combined embedded systems with the IoT. From smart home devices that control our thermostats to smartwatches and fitness trackers to smart speakers, embedded systems are embedded in every aspect of our lives.
Remote monitoring of patients frees up resources and empowers patients to track their vital signs which can then alert medical professionals if needed. Wearable devices including blood pressure, glucose and ECG monitors are all recent developments and this is an area which is going to continue to develop and make a positive impact.
As embedded systems and vehicles have a history it’s unsurprising that the transport industry is taking full advantage of IoT enhanced embedded systems. Used to track vehicles, optimise driving routes and reduce fuel consumption embedded systems are streamlining transportation, making efficiencies and optimising ways of working.
The ability for IoT embedded systems to remotely monitor and alert based on set parameters makes them ideal for the manufacturing industry. This capability allows equipment to be controlled and operated to minimise downtime and maximise efficiency.
IoT and innovation
What makes this so exciting is there are developments and solutions that we haven’t even thought about yet. The uses of current IoT embedded systems are solving everyday problems. We want to turn the heating up so our house is nice and cosy when we get home. We want to track our weight. We want to be alerted when something isn’t working quite right.
But there are so many possibilities. So many uses that are still to come. It’s these unknown possibilities that are fuelling innovation, not just across one area but across all industries.
The future is the IoT, and the future is embedded systems. When you combine the two together there’s a wonderful, unknown space for research, development and innovation.
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