Smart Devices

Software Engineering

We offer solutions

Smart devices are connected to the Internet and interact with their environment via sensors, are equipped with considerably more computing power and intelligence, and receive new features via remote software updates. Software development for smart devices is changing dramatically and needs approaches that work across many disciplines.

How we achieve our goal

Smart devices are never just the device and its firmware. They are digitized physical products that are always an interplay of networked components: Device hardware, device software, device UI (HMI), IoT backend, data pipeline, mobile app, 3rd party API, etc. These must work and be secured as a whole to provide value to the end user and become a high quality product.

Our key

To make end-to-end thinking for smart devices a reality, we start at the breaking points: these can be in fields like connectivity to the IoT platform, IT security, remote software update or user experience. We help to close these gaps – with technological expertise and cross-team, communicative collaboration.

Processes and technologies

What smart devices change

If the device is networked and regularly receives new software updates, the V-model with specifications and lengthy release cycles no longer makes sense. The end user expects much more frequent releases, as has long been the case in the cloud or on the smartphone.

A lot has changed technologically as well: Whereas it used to be necessary to build highly specialized chips and operating systems adapted to the hardware, more and more smart devices are based on standard platforms such as STM32 and on embedded Linux. We are even seeing containers based on Docker or Podman on some devices already.

With the Smart Devices area, we help end-to-end to master the digital transformation of these devices.

Connected World - Smart Devices

Exploration – Implementation – Hypercare

Our approach

We start with your product vision, which we explore together with you. In the second phase, we develop the software for your device before finally supporting the go live.

Exploration

In workshops, we work with you to illuminate your product vision, design the architecture, the first Minimum Viable Product, a feature roadmap or even a “model to be wrong”. We start with a small team for three to eight weeks.

On the way to the smart device, it is crucial to map the development statuses in prototypes and repeatedly compare them with the client’s expectations.

Implementation

We implement the software on the device, establish connectivity to the IoT back-end and capture its environment via the device’s sensors.

The approach depends heavily on the results of the exploration phase. The following guidelines are recommended:

  • Develop the highest-risk parts into a working iteration first.
  • Encapsulate components with high volatility with appropriate APIs to enable independent development of dependent components. 
  • Pick up well-defined components and re-implement them first, as this enables an iterative approach.

Implementation

We implement the software on the device, establish connectivity to the IoT back-end and capture its environment via the device’s sensors.

The approach depends heavily on the results of the exploration phase. The following guidelines are recommended:

  • Develop the highest-risk parts into a working iteration first.
  • Encapsulate components with high volatility with appropriate APIs to enable independent development of dependent components. 
  • Pick up well-defined components and re-implement them first, as this enables an iterative approach.

Hypercare

After implementation, the team can be scaled down to support the Go Live. All prioritized functions are complete and our team is focused on a smooth transition to production.

Our technologies

Yocto, C++, MicroPython, Docker, Podman, K3s, MicroK8s, k3OS, RTOS, Bluetooth

“In cloud environments, you can’t guarantee real-time communication. On the device, you often have to do that to detect hazards and react immediately, such as turning the engine on or off.”

Alex Hofmann, CTO MaibornWolff

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