A Day Without Embedded Software

“Wow, embedded software, huh?” This is what I recently said, in an attempt to sound smart, when a salesperson showed me a vehicle’s push-button start.

It came out less intelligently than intended, but my sentiment was honest. I’m consistently impressed with how embedded software has changed the face of innovation.

It got me thinking about how embedded software makes my day-to-day life that much easier. I wondered if I could go without these luxuries I’d grown so used to, and decided to give it a try.

One day without using any products containing embedded software. I had no idea how difficult it would be.

I start the day longingly staring at my Keurig. No coffee for me. I immediately regret my experiment. Sure it’ll be interesting, but at what cost? I forge ahead; rummaging in my cabinet for tea. It tastes like watered-down water. I don’t like tea. I like coffee and embedded software.

As I make my way out the door I tearfully place my cell phone on the table. I linger until I realize I’m being creepy, whisper goodbye and leave.

I allow myself use of my car (it’s too far to walk to work) but don’t feel good about it. I feel GREAT about it! Pressing my starter button, I leave the radio off. Most cars have about 100 million lines of code, but the entertainment system is the only thing I can shut off.

Here’s a handy little chart from IEEE that shows where software is used in cars. Basically without it we’d all be Flintstones.

Something else I hadn’t considered is the use of software in traffic lights. To stay true to my objective I don’t stop at any. If I’m pulled over I’m sure any cop would understand the importance of what I’m doing. (I’m kidding.)

After arriving safely at work, I realize I need to swipe my card to get in my office building. I ask someone if I can walk in behind them, showing them my badge and explaining my objective for the day. I get in, but at the detriment of having my colleague think I’m a little “off”.

At work there are times I’m not even sure if I’m breaking the rule. If I get my coffee from a carafe, is that okay? It will have to be, I need coffee. I avoid my office phone, but I do look at the caller ID so I can get back later. Then there’s the printer and scanner. This is harder than I’d thought it would be.

It’s when I get home that I realize this is an impossible mission and I allow myself to give up. The coolest products have embedded software, and the types of products integrating software is growing. There’s even more to come. Take for example this shoe that has a GPS to track Alzheimer’s patients.

Food for thought…

Embedded software and mechatronics are here to stay. And they’ve resulted in an even more complex product development process. Has this trend had an impact on your business?

Read more about how leading companies are looking to take advantage of software-driven innovation to tailor products, increase reuse, make agile updates in the field, and reduce costs.

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6 thoughts on “A Day Without Embedded Software”

  1. Stacey Clement says:

    I love your experiment. I was recently in the ER and had the same thoughts and was grateful that ES was taking care of me.

  2. Jill Shepherd says:

    See, embedded software is our friend! The hospital is definitely the last place you’d want to go without it.

  3. Anthony says:

    Alarm clock, phone, radio, stove (for coffee), fridge, car…all before I even leave the house. I don’t think I could complete this mission. Sometimes I do fantasize about going all Mountain-Man in the Canadian wilderness and getting away from it all.

  4. Jill Shepherd says:

    I couldn’t go a day without the small things, I can only imagine how poorly I would cope with living in the wilderness. My basic survival skills are pretty limited and I know I’d end up eating the wrong berries! Plus, I just enjoy technology too much and I know I’d “accidentally” pack my cell.

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