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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Software program-Outlined IoT and Sustainable Design

IoT is {hardware} plus software program, however many individuals nonetheless develop it as if it was simply {hardware}. Semir Haddad from MicroEJ joins Ryan Chacon on the IoT For All Podcast to debate software-defined IoT. They discuss the advantages of a software-defined strategy, inexperienced software program, efficiency trade-offs, and sustainable design rules.

About Semir Haddad

Semir Haddad is the Chief Product and Technique Officer at MicroEJ. Semir has over 20 years of expertise working with business leaders and startups, bringing progressive applied sciences to industrial and shopper markets. Early in his profession, he labored on digital video and audio, creating the primary DVD participant, and growing one of many earliest PVR software program options for which he obtained 4 patents. At STMicro and Renesas, he drove the creation of award successful strains of microcontrollers and microprocessors, together with the STM32, RX, and RZ. Not too long ago, Semir was a part of the innovators at Eta Compute that created one of many first TinyML implementations.

Excited by connecting with Semir? Attain out on LinkedIn!

About MicroEJ

MicroEJ is a software program vendor of cost-driven options for embedded and IoT units. With MicroEJ options, sensible gadget producers remodel digital merchandise from single-purpose to software-defined, growing scalability, flexibility, and extensibility. Their flagship product, MICROEJ VEE, is an optimized commonplace software program container utilized in hundreds of thousands of shopper and IoT merchandise, corresponding to sensible residence units, residence home equipment, wearables, medical units, sensible meters, and industrial units.

Key Questions and Subjects from this Episode:

(00:12) Semir Haddad and MicroEJ

(02:13) What’s software-defined IoT?

(04:55) How do different IoT elements slot in?

(06:37) Advantages of a software-defined strategy

(09:05) What’s inexperienced software program?

(13:46) Sustainable design efficiency trade-offs

(14:55) What are sustainable design rules?

(17:08) Study extra and comply with up


– [Ryan] Welcome Semir to the IoT For All Podcast. Thanks for being right here this week.

– [Semir] Yeah. Hey, Ryan. Thanks for having me on this podcast. 

– [Ryan] Yeah. It’s nice to have you ever. Previous to stepping into our dialog, I wished to have you ever do a fast introduction about your self and the corporate for our viewers. 

– [Semir] I’m a veteran within the embedded area and the IoT area. So, I’ve began my life as an engineer, and I develop broad embedded software program. I bought 4 patents for varied tasks I’ve accomplished, after which I moved to the product aspect, and I used to be within the semiconductor business with STMicro, I created the STM32 there. So, I used to be actually the unique product proprietor of the entire STM32 product line, which is now very talked-about.

I additionally work with Renesas Electronics, and I used to be managing the micro controllers and micro processors for Renesas for all of the American areas. After which just lately, so I joined the MicroEJ. And as a product, Chief Product Officer and Chief Technique Officer. And at MicroEJ, what we do, we offer, we deliver the software program capabilities that you’ve and say you have got you, that exists within the cloud and the IT area for a very long time within the embedded area. And we try this by offering what you name a digital execution setting, which is a really distinctive virtualization and containerization software program that enables folks to put in writing code as in the event that they had been a containerized software and utilizing excessive degree language. And this comes with many advantages by way of time to market, isolation of {hardware}, skill to make use of {hardware} with the identical code and reuse and port your code very simply.

And the corporate is has been within the enterprise for just a little round 10 years and we’re primarily based in France and the USA. 

– [Ryan] So, I wished to leap into a subject that I assumed was actually fascinating to speak about primarily based in your all’s strategy and experience. And the subject is software program outlined, or the, I suppose, it’s extra of a software program outlined development on the planet of IoT that’s occurring or beginning to occur. What does that imply precisely? 

– [Semir] This can be a topic pricey to my coronary heart as a result of we’re a software program firm with {hardware} root. And I’m personally, I’m a {hardware} professional with software program collaboration. And Fred Rivard, our CEO, is a software program professional, is a pc science man, pure pc science with {hardware} collaboration.

So, it’s an excellent mixture. And what we do is admittedly deliver this software program functionality to the IoT area. And while you talk about software program outlined, it’s a development that has been within the business for a really very long time. If you concentrate on it, the very software program, the very first software program outlined factor was a software program outlined radio that folks after they developed radio, they used to develop every little thing in {hardware}.

After which one time a man mentioned, oh, let’s attempt to software-ize that and make it extra programmable. And this was the very first one, then you definately noticed coming software program outlined networks when folks had been constructing massive networks, let’s say, and like significantly mobile networks, one thing like that, they are saying, what, why don’t we make it extra programmable, extra moveable, extra versatile.

After which the final newest development in software program outlined is a software program outlined automobile. You could hear from the folks in automotive, they are saying, oh, we’re growing the software program outlined automobile. And so they attempt to, for a similar, put every little thing extra versatile, moveable, and agile. And that’s mainly the thought of software program outlined.

Software program outlined signifies that you outline, you have got a product that was once purely {hardware}. So usually in IoT area, all of the merchandise had been purely {hardware}, even mechanical. If you concentrate on a meter, it was once, an electrical energy meter, it was once only a mechanical meter. Now it’s {hardware} plus software program.

However folks nonetheless develop as if it was {hardware}. So that they have, they use technique, the methodology the place they’ve a waterfall technique they usually outline every little thing from the beginning after which develop it, and it’s not versatile. And the software program outlined development signifies that make all this extra like a software program product, precisely like while you develop cell phone software, or while you develop cloud software.

– [Ryan] Okay so the opposite items of the answer, the {hardware}, the connectivity and issues like that, how is that considered in while you’re desirous about extra defining issues primarily based on the software program and are the opposite issues extra simply accompanying it with a purpose to enable the answer to gather info, join, ship the info forwards and backwards, these sorts of issues, or how is that, how does every little thing match collectively while you’re coming at it from a software program outlined form of strategy?

– [Semir] Yeah. So while you include a software program outlined strategy, the principle factor that I’d say may be very related for the IoT is that you simply develop with the concept your software program will evolve quite a bit. In order that’s the principle distinction and the principle mindset is strictly like in software program. If you concentrate on, you discuss, we speak with software program folks within the cloud or in IT, they simply do sprints, that they’ve agile methodology they usually do sprints, and each, let’s say 15 days, there’s a new model of the product, a brand new model of the product. And that is one thing that was exceptional within the IoT area. Which means it will occur. So it will occur, look, extra updates. That’s one side. Fairly often updates after which utilizing the connectivity a part of the IoT, the truth that you’re all the time linked, you may as well provision new companies to your gadget.

So your gadget will develop into one other kind of gadget. We, with the lifetime of the, in the course of the lifetime of the product, and this comes with two points. One is that you may customise your product later after cargo, after which you may deliver additionally new companies that you may monetize. 

– [Ryan] And let me ask the final query round this matter is that if I’m listening to this, what are the most important advantages of the software program outlined development for companies? You talked about the pliability, being extra agile, issues like that, however simply to sum it up, what are these massive advantages which can be, that approaching it from this aspect versus possibly how issues have been accomplished earlier than that folks don’t notice or want to grasp?

– [Semir] The primary profit is that you may have a product which can be way more tuned to the top buyer. You possibly can phase for area of interest markets very simply since you use software program that may be very versatile, so it’s very simple so that you can create a software program on your {hardware} that’s devoted for every area of interest. Okay, in order that’s the primary side.

So we name it, they name that hyper segmentation. And we’ve an instance, as an example, one buyer Workplace Zebra that’s growing printers. They had been capable of customise the printer for his or her finish person. So as an example, certainly one of their finish customers was FedEx. They’ve a printer particularly for FedEx with every little thing tuned for FedEx. After which certainly one of our prospects was UPS they usually wrap every little thing for UPS. It was very personalized for UPS. In order that’s one side. So there’s customization, hyper segmentation. In order that’s one. The second factor that that you may benefit for the corporate is you may as well, as I mentioned, add companies after the actual fact.

And that is, we will name them apps. It’s actually like your cell phone apps while you obtain apps, besides that it’s within the context of a enterprise to enterprise, or it could possibly be additionally a enterprise to shopper side, however so this allow you to create actually new companies and new product.

And we’ve one case with Landis+Gyr, certainly one of our buyer within the metering area. So that they have an electrical energy meter. They name it a Revelo. And this electrical energy meter is customizable by the utility firms and utility firms can present, can provision some functions of companies, like as an example, easy methods to handle your photo voltaic panels or easy methods to handle your electrical energy and so forth, and that assist them handle the grid and that additionally assist them present paid companies to the top buyer, the top person. 

– [Ryan] One of many issues I wished to ask you. So once we’re speaking about software program and constructing IoT options, sustainability is a subject that comes up quite a bit. Particularly now it’s extra of a scorching matter to debate. So inform me about your all’s perspective or simply how do you concentrate on sustainability in the case of IoT as a result of there’s this, I’ve heard the phrase thrown round inexperienced software program, and I’d like to raised perceive what that precisely means. As a result of once we take into consideration software program, a number of our listeners take into consideration software program, we don’t give it some thought in another manner or actually linked essentially to sustainability.

So what does inexperienced software program imply and the way does that form of contribute to the sustainability objectives that a number of firms have in the case of IoT? 

– [Semir] So sustainability may be very, it’s a vital matter proper now within the business. So you understand that at the moment the previous ICT, I’d say IT and communication and telecommunication contribution to the greenhouse gasoline is like 4%.

Nevertheless it’s deliberate to be 14% by 2030. So it’s fairly, fairly excessive. It’s beginning to develop as a result of all the opposite industries are lowering their footprint, like even the large contributors, so now it’s very seen, every little thing associated to electronics. So it’s positively, as you mentioned, many firms have this local weather pledge they usually need to do a greater for the local weather. And once we speak, take into consideration IoT merchandise, it has an impression as a result of it’s not as a result of the product is eat quite a bit, unfavorable product doesn’t eat a lot, however as a result of there are such a lot of of them. So we’ve to consider like 30 billion IoT merchandise, linked IoT merchandise, that’s a number of merchandise. So even a small contribution can have a huge impact. One, when you discuss inexperienced software program is signifies that, okay, let’s, you may,, there are alternative ways to do software program, however there’s a manner, let’s do a, let’s do it in a manner that’s the most optimized by way of energy.

And what it means, it begins already with the selection of the platform that you simply use on your software program growth. As I discussed, there’s a power for software program outlined merchandise. So all people’s shifting and leaping on the prepare. However there are a number of methods to do it, to realize it.

And a technique, which is the best way that many individuals coming from the IT world took, is to say, Oh we’ve Linux and Android expertise that works within the cloud. Let’s use it in IoT merchandise. And that provides you merchandise just like the Google Nest Thermostat, which is Linux Android primarily based, or I’d say the Android watch, which is totally primarily based on Android.

So you may have wi-fi watches and so forth, however these, the issue with this expertise, they’re completely good by way of software program, and they’re very nice to do software program outlined options, however they require plenty of {hardware} assets. So plenty of reminiscence, plenty of efficiency, and on the finish, plenty of, they eat a number of energy.

What’s the finest strategy while you need to do good for the planet is to optimize, to decide on an answer that’s optimized. And at MicroEJ, that’s actually what we offer. Actually, we, folks name us the tiny sibling of Android. So it’s actually like the identical expertise as you have got with Android however 1,000 instances extra optimized.

So we will run on microcontrollers and beginning with Cortex-M0. So quite simple microcontrollers. And that signifies that you utilize a product that is less expensive. So prices as a, I’d say the {hardware} as a, it’s round 50 to 80 p.c of the contribution for the inexperienced home emission.

So already selecting a {hardware} that is less expensive, that’s smaller, you save a number of gasoline. After which it’s significantly better by way of energy. As an illustration, certainly one of our buyer, Polar, they’ve a smartwatch that’s powered by MicroEJ, and they can transfer from sooner or later with the Android watch to greater than seven day of operation with a single cost.

So that is, yeah, that is one of the best ways, actually, to do inexperienced software program is to make use of probably the most optimized {hardware} on your software program. 

– [Ryan] Do you ever run into conditions the place you’re not ready, not essentially you all, however is there ever a state of affairs that you could possibly envision the place there’s, you’re not capable of possibly develop it as sustainably as you’d wish to due to it creates too limiting of the expertise for what the use case requires from both an influence consumption standpoint, or is there all the time ways in which optimization may be accomplished, it simply might solely go to a sure extent as a result of clearly you may’t pull every little thing out of an answer that wants sure energy consumption, wants sure completely different parts which can be vital to it. Like how do you, is that one thing ever that you need to fear about? 

– [Semir] I feel it’s a commerce off. What we see is that it have to be, it is advisable be critical about your inexperienced initiative, and generally some firms simply do some greenwashing. So they are saying, yeah, we do inexperienced, however while you speak to them, they are saying no, we need to do that. That’s going to efficiency. It’s higher for us and value is extra vital than inexperienced.

I’d say the target right here of being inexperienced is to be on the identical degree as goal. And if it’s on the identical degree goal is that you may put the effort and time to one of the best optimized answer. So it’s actually about placing the effort and time into this. 

– [Ryan] In the case of the design parts of it, and also you’re desirous about all of the completely different items, what does it imply while you say sustainable design rules? Is that simply one of the best practices and the issues that you simply attempt to comply with in the case of designing the system and the answer as a complete? Is that form of when that’s used, is that what you’re speaking about?

– [Semir] To place the optimization on the core of your design. So not, what we see once more is corporate that for the consolation of the engineer, so as a result of they like some instruments or some software program, they may select an answer that’s fully suboptimal. So actually, we’re studying and stress if you happen to comply with the business, there’s a massive, I’d say, plenty of stress across the Kubernetes and containers for this type of Docker answer for the embedded area. However that is once more, very unoptimized, very expensive. So if you wish to use Docker and Kubernetes on your embedded area at one time, Microsoft tried to do this, which they mentioned, oh, we’re going to place Kubernetes and Docker in every single place, signifies that you want a really highly effective {hardware} with plenty of energy consumption and plenty of value.

It’s not sustainable in any respect. It’s only for the consolation of the engineer. That is positively not a system, there’s a higher manner. You may have actually to consider, okay, no, that’s, sustainability is our objective, and the consolation of the engineer will come after. However there are answers that present virtually the identical consolation and the identical performance as I’d say the digital containers from MicroEJ. 

– [Ryan] Properly, Semir, thanks a lot for taking the time to speak about this. We’ve talked about sustainability earlier than, however we actually haven’t damaged down and talked extra in depth in regards to the parts that go into actually contributing sustainability on the software program aspect and the software program growth aspect.

In order that software program outlined development, the inexperienced software program that we’re speaking about at the moment, so I’m glad we had been capable of clarify that to our viewers and actually make clear what’s occurring. It seems like there’s a number of thrilling issues occurring at MicroEJ concerning the way you all are capable of deliver these options to life and comply with these rules and actually construct one thing that does meet these sustainability subjects that we’re speaking about. For our viewers who desires to be taught extra, comply with up, interact additional, what’s one of the best ways they will try this? 

– [Semir] Yeah, positive. They will go on our web site, so www dot microej, m i c r o e j dot com. And so they may also contact me on LinkedIn. So I’m on LinkedIn. So Semir Haddad, simply ship me any message, and I’ll reply. 

– [Ryan] Semir, thanks once more a lot. I sit up for getting this out for our viewers.

– [Semir] Thanks very a lot, Ryan.

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