When you look around, there are countless machines around you. Moreover, the one on which you are reading this is also a machine or an embedded system. If we talk about the general definition of embedded systems, it is the combination of hardware and software combined together to perform a specific function.
The function of an embedded system may vary based on the complexity of it. Some embedded systems are made from very small components and some have more than one function. These embedded systems are much more complex compared to others.
There are various types of embedded systems based on their use. Some of them are real-time embedded systems, mobile embedded systems, networked embedded systems, small, medium, and large-scale embedded systems. These are some of the broad categories. If we look closely, there are many others based on these.
Well, if we talk about the uses, there are countless applications for embedded systems. Most importantly, when most of the jobs today are done by machines, it is pretty easy for us to understand this.
The range of tasks of embedded can go from cooking food to managing the traffic outside your house. Some of the brilliant applications of embedded systems are:
Domestic: All the electronic appliances in your house run on an embedded system like a washing machine, air conditioner, oven, etc. These devices are made for a specific purpose; hence they have a longer life and require less maintenance.
Industrial: All kinds of automation systems, whether it is the assembly line, data collection, or the feedback systems, are controlled by embedded systems. The use of embedded systems in processes like these have picked up the pace and will be without intervention in the future.
Communication: No matter if it is your mobile phone, internet router, or laptop. All of these devices work on embedded systems. In short, embedded systems help us communicate.
Entertainment systems: The reason behind the high-speed gaming devices like Xbox and PS are the embedded system chips. Moreover, televisions, cameras, and other entertainment devices also have embedded system chips. The presence of these embedded chips makes these devices extremely fast.
Automobiles: Every car today has an embedded system in it for various purposes like music systems, braking systems, lighting, suspension control, a navigation system, etc. These systems ease the work of the users and enhance the functionality of the device.
Medical: Medical applications are one of the best examples of embedded systems. They acquire inputs related to your body vitals and display them on the computer screen. Some of the medical devices that feature complex embedded systems are MRI, CT, and ECG machines.
Hence, you won’t have to look very far to find the application of an embedded system.
Ease of management
The management of general use embedded devices is pretty easy. The reason behind this is that the elements used in building the embedded systems are cheap and long-lasting. Due to this, they require less maintenance. On the other hand, if they do require maintenance, it can be done at a low cost.
The thing to note here is if you have a business that is dependent on embedded systems like a production line, medical equipment production, etc. You will need to hire an embedded software engineer to stay on top of the maintenance, because as easy as they are to run they can be complex to fix and do require specialist knowledge.
The complexity of an embedded software may vary based on its type. And a layman cannot create or perform diagnostics on it. Hence, it is necessary to have an engineer to troubleshoot issues related to the software. They have a better understanding of all the different aspects of the systems.
The performance of the embedded systems varies based on a number of factors. For example, if the embedded system has a single task to perform like traffic lights. The device will be fast and reliable.
In contrast to this, if we talk about complex embedded systems like a laptop that has a number of hardware and software elements. Performance factors hinge on the number of tasks running on it and the power of its elements like RAM, ROM, Processor, etc.
Small in Size
One of the most astounding things about embedded systems is their size. Unlike traditional tech systems, the size of embedded systems is constantly decreasing. Think about your desktop computer system. It used to take up a whole table, and now it is the size of your hand.
You can carry it anywhere, anytime, and use it for any purpose. The other advantages of the small size of the embedded system devices are that they consume less power and are also less expensive compared to larger systems.
The small size of the embedded systems also makes them faster. As there are fewer elements to manage by the system, the loading time of the embedded systems also decreases. Size does matter, and small is good.
As we touched upon, modern-day elements are very small in size, and thus they are cost-effective, literally because of the material costs of making these parts.
All the necessary elements of the embedded system like the RAM, ROM, processor, wifi chips, motherboard, etc. are made from a semiconductor material that consumes less power. And due to the consumption of less power, they will also be helpful in saving money after they are installed.
So, in a nutshell, the use of embedded systems is truly cost-effective and a long-term investment.
So far, embedded systems are a win-win choice for almost every industry sector. Their use in a number of real-world applications along with a plethora of benefits makes them highly favourable for every business.