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Software and security at Embedded World

Hassane El-Khoury, Cypress CEO

Last month Embedded World once again demonstrated why it’s described as the leading exhibition for the international embedded community.

Security proved to be an area of particular interest for many attending this year’s Embedded World in Nuremberg, Germany.

Barr Group’s Embedded Systems Safety & Security Survey, now in its fourth year, and released to coincide with the exhibition certainly generated interest. It found that only 25 per cent of safety critical device developers actually follow all industry recommended software development practices for increasing safety, and that among embedded systems developers working on internet-connected IoT projects, 22 per cent do not list security as a product requirement for their current project.

While those figures also suggest that 70 per cent of embedded systems developers do actually take the issue seriously, there was an acceptance that with a growing number of security breaches and attacks security was becoming increasingly important.

Art Dahnert, a cybersecurity expert with Synopsys, said that while software was driving embedded technologies to deliver more features and functionality all code would need to be secure.

“The trouble is, it often isn’t,” Dahnert said. “In the embedded space smaller and more nimble companies often don’t have a clue about security or don’t have the resources to devote to it. And to be honest many of the larger companies are also behind the curve.

“Most people still don’t ‘know’ security and not enough people understand what is good or bad when it comes to software development.”

According to Dahnert, education has a crucial role to play if management and engineers are to better understand security.

“We need to change the development culture,” he said.

The growing focus on software within the embedded space was something that was highlighted by Cypress Semiconductor’s CEO, Hassane El-Khoury, who spoke with New Electronics at the show.

“We are seeing a significant shift with companies like Cypress supplying not only the hardware but the software too,” he said. “We are looking to grow significantly in key markets such as automotive, industrial and consumer and to be successful in those markets you have to understand that customers don’t simply want silicon but solutions and software.”

To push home that point Cypress unveiled a unified software tool suite to streamline product designs for the Internet of Things (IoT).

“The IoT cuts across a diverse range of markets and applications but these smart products all share common, basic building blocks: connectivity, processing, sensing and security,” explained Sudhir Gopalswamy, a senior vice president of the company’s Microcontrollers and Connectivity Division.

“Our ModusToolbox provides a single, easy-to-use software suite that will enable customers to integrate these building blocks while leveraging the differentiating features of Cypress’ IoT connectivity and MCU solutions. It gives developers a familiar design experience and the flexibility to choose partners from our IoT ecosystem that fit the specific needs of their designs.”

Other companies to launch new software included Lattice Semiconductor which unveiled new support for its FPGA portfolio.

The Lattice Radiant targets the development of low power embedded applications and offers an extensive feature set, providing ease-of-use and comes with support for the company’s iCE40 UltraPlus FPGAs.

“We are seeing more customers who are seeking to benefit from the features of iCE40 UltraPlus FPGAs,” said Choon-Hoe Yeoh, senior director, software marketing at Lattice Semiconductor, “and our Lattice Radiant software will provide them with a range of enhancements for designing with iCE40 UltraPlus, helping to drive innovative designs in emerging embedded applications.”

Renesas also used Embedded World to announce a number of enhancements to its e² studio integrated development environment (IDE) tool for its Synergy Platform.

Working with IAR Systems, Renesas Synergy customers will now be able to integrate IAR Systems’ advanced IAR C/C++ Compiler into the Eclipse-based e² studio IDE.

“Adding support for our advanced compiler technology to the e² studio tool gives developers additional options for optimising their IoT applications,” said Anders Lundgren, Product Manager, IAR Systems.

Neil Tyler

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