During embedded systems training in Bangalore, Many student ask us what is the advantages and disadvantages of embedded systems. At Professional Training Institute campus had once open seminars for around 2 hours on these topics. Here I summarize the outcome of the seminar so that everyone gets benefited from learning.
Embedded system is having a well-defined development cycle, this cycle starts from the requirement gathering, product specification, product design, unit testing, validation, the release of the product. Mainly this cycle includes development I.e. coding and unit testing. In the embedded system, we need to consider the capability of the embedded system, power requirement, target cost, etc.
During design, if the company is having similar expertise then it will help in development. In embedded company can develop a re-usable component. This component can be hardware or firmware or testing plans or review points etc. This type of reusable component help during the next development time. All the learning can be helpful in the next development cycle.
The disadvantage is if the developer made one mistake and we are using the same reusable component may be hardware design or firmware code, then the same code will be reflected in all products, wherever that component is re-used. So the re-usable component must to well tested and trusted.
Time of Development
Normally development time in embedded systems is higher. As embedded devices are meant to run independently throughout life. Due to this independent nature of the embedded device, during development time products need to test thoroughly for all possible conditions. Such due to long and regress testing, we can get many errors. Most of the errors are related to Firmware or connection-related, which are solved with less time. But sometimes we can Error which can lead to a long hardware modification development cycle.
So the time of development for a good quality product is always a constraint. This can be put into a disadvantage bucket. But over some time when companies develop the more and more maturity over embedded hardware, then this development reduce significantly and can be considered Advantage, as within a short period many (1-2 week) company can develop a new product. So the development time entirely depends upon developer knowledge and capabilities.
The product cost of the embedded system is always a key factor to discuss, it is having both advantages and disadvantages. Consider the very competitive market many products are available in the same segment, that time we can’t huge profit margin. We need to keep our price is also in the same segment, there is a possibility that we may not able to make much profit. Consider if our BOM (total cost of the component, PCB, Box) cost is 90$, but in the market same product is available at the price of 100$ then we also need to put a similar cost. In some cases, if our product having some special feature then we can charge an extra amount.
On the other hand, if our product is only in the segment and we are not having any direct competitor then the same product we can sell at 1000$, depends upon usability users are easily able to purchase our product. But in most of the cases, Embedded product cost is having 100% profit the margin which gives very attractive towards embedded system design.
Once we have certified and tested embedded products with us then, the production of the embedded product is an easy and simple process. But production is always having the constraint of time, which means we need to finish production in less time. We can easily reproduce the same product at a low cost. When we go for production even the cost of the product further reduce due to the bulk quantity of production.
Production of the embedded device is a having advantage, one famous product can give a lot of profit to the company and it is having a huge margin. So this is a great advantage of an embedded system. On the other hand, some time in production if some wrong or default component is used then a whole lot of production gets failed, this can lead to heavy loss to the company, and the company should be ready to bear such losses. This is one of the losses of embedded system production.
Life of Product
For every embedded system we need to give some kinds of warranty, some time this warranty leads to huge profit or a huge loss. Profit or loss depends upon how good is our product.
Consider we are making a shaving device, and all our competitor is giving one year warranty, we can give a 2-year warranty and make our price higher. But this is only possible when we are having confidence in our product. Our product should be lost for more then 2 years, if not then it will be a huge loss for the organization.
Here is I will cover one very technical point, consider an EEPROM (Electrical Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory). EEPROM is always having a limited write cycle. Consider EEPROM is having a 100000 write cycle. If we give a warranty of 2 years then in one day we will only be allowed to write in EEPROM =100000/2*365 =136 times.
It means if are giving a 2-year warranty of our product and EEPROM we are using to save some data into it, then in a day, we should not write more then 136 times. If by mistake our software is writing more then 136 times then the EEPROM of our product will not be lost for 2 years and we may need to replace our product with a warranty. So this life of the product is having a lot of advantages and disadvantages of an embedded system world.
Operations in Filed and Maintenance:
Once we sold our product, our customers will come back to us only when we give service to them after-sales. While making products we need to consider the servicing and maintenance accepts also. Nowadays many devices are coming with firmware update over the air. Firmware update over the air will save a lot of time to visit service engineers to the actual site and do it manually.
So if the embedded product is having good features like an Auto diagnosis of error, Reporting possible error in advance to the server, isolating failed component, firmware update then we will have very
little maintenance cost and it will increase the trust of our customers as well. But for other product service engineers need to visit the actual product location that may increase the cost of maintenance.
We are a Professional Training Institute highly focused on embedded system training and giving more importance to hands-on embedded system training. We believe the learning by doing it has a great advantage. We are having expertise in Embedded system training, Linux internals, Linux device driver, Embedded Linux. You can visit us for more information on www.ptinstitute.in