Product Engineering’s Evolution and Role in Ensuring Vertical-free Digital Integration|Sasken

  Dec 14, 2020 1:43:30 PM

1980s – The Rise of Embedded Systems
The very first embedded systems comprised of general-purpose microcontrollers and microprocessors with basic usage controlling the electronic and electrical aspects of gadgets. These were utilized in the realms of transportation, medical equipment, home appliances, machinery, and military materials with broad outreach from calculators to usage in airplanes and satellites. These systems had simple microcontrollers with or without memory capabilities, some analog control, limited signal processing, and handled simple calculations for basic operations. Most analog controls provided feedback, which had to be manually controlled with switches and other gears to handle on-site. All of them, however, required manual intervention to prevent breakage or spillover, were mostly open-loop systems, and paved the way for the chipset industry.

1990s – Internet enables Remote Operator Oriented Control
By the 90s, the advent of Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) as a basic interconnection of computers in Europe spread to US and led to the development of the Internet. The first gadgets which leveraged this across multiple industries were small computers, mainframes, pagers, satellite phones, military equipment, special machinery, and small microcontrollers in vehicles and spaceships. Chipsets had increments in their computing power and cut down costs with their mass adoption across all verticals. However, connectivity was still in the initial stages of the adoption curve. There was a need for remote operators to analyze the data from ground operators and provide timely strategies for course corrections. Once done, they had to be communicated back to the operators at the site where these devices operated. This was true for everything from personal computers, military strategies with back-end operators, remote operations of nuclear and oil drilling sites or remote repairs by car mechanics in racetracks or on roads.

2000s – Partial Remote Control of Operations
The rapid advancement of the IT infrastructure and computers across industries post-2000s led to the spread of the Internet and Intranet everywhere. In the back-end chips improved in performance, memory capacity, bandwidth, and connectivity to other machines which offloaded data, processed them, and returned the same for partial remote operations. Mainframes were adopted for massive and widespread use for banking and other critical infrastructure where information was loaded through remote terminals and processed across the globe. All industries capitalized the usage of Internet connectivity as seen with laptops, banking, industries like oil & gas, infrastructure, military, and medical equipment.

2010s – Rise of IoT, Cloud, and Full Control of Remote Operations in Pre-COVID era
Product engineering gained momentum with everything from a small nano-technology device to an International Space Station being connected to the Internet, remotely sensing, and controlling operations. Some of them were even capable of executing real-time installations at various sites, with each industry having a common recipe. This involved having an advanced chip in the actual device with excellent memory, processing power and performance capabilities, with analog and digital interfaces for locally sensing and controlling device operations. They could also be part of the device or isolated like site infrastructure in a building management system.

These chips were interconnected with local/global Intranet/Internet and could also connect to a telemetry device through a wireless interface. This enabled the transfer of high data bandwidth applications to a remote cloud infrastructure. The terms ‘IoT’ and ‘Cloud’ came into prominence with massive remote data transfers for offline analysis of past, present, and future potential usage of various devices – gadgets, machinery, or any industry vertical equipment of choice. There was massive data flow happening at all levels of Edge, Fog, And Cloud which also led into Big Data and data-driven approaches towards cognition technologies.

2020s – Digital Transformation and Complete Real-time Data Collaboration
Currently, complete control of any industrial vertical has been simplified to a common numerator and denominator. There is one end of edge sensing and control happening with massive digitization of various elements such as devices and factory infrastructure implementing an Internet connection to a cloud-based infrastructure. They utilize massive, interconnected chip racks, either on-premise or remotely, to provide real-time insights. With such rapid advancements currently in place, we are truly living in a world with industry-vertical free technology being adopted seamlessly.

Read more about Sasken’s expertise helping various leaders in their chip-to-cognition journey, with diverse skillsets in Product Engineering Services & Digital Transformation Services.

Posted by:
Naresh Neelakantan
Naresh Neelakantan is a senior architect (System Software) and product engineering services white papers provider from Sasken technologies limited.

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