What is firmware and software development in IoT?

IoT, in itself, consists of technology stack,which requires knowledge of  hardware to firmware to software.

Firmware and software are two terms which are mostly confused. However, both of these terms are different. To know the difference between both firmware and software we need to understand the terms separately first and then the difference between them. Here is a complete guide which will clear all the doubts regarding firmware development and software development in IoT.

What is meant by Firmware development in IoT?

What’s considered “firmware” can be quite broad, from control software all the way up to embedded Linux. In general, an easy way to think about firmware is that it is code running on hardware that is critical to the hardware’s operation. It interacts with the hardware’s electrical components and is traditionally infrequently updated. This may be because it is physically inconvenient or operationally untenable to do so, either way, this lack of change helps explain the “firm” in firmware (more on this later).  

Nowadays, Firmware in most of the devices which are connected to the internet are updated over the air , which is a popular function of IoT devices and known as FOTA (Firmware Over The Air ).

Today, embedded firmware lives in everything from smartphones to washing machines and obviously internet of things (IoT) devices, that are so simple you might not think they had computer control. For instance, the firmware in a smart light bulb may not need frequent updates, but the firmware on a smartphone may need to be updated more often to stay compatible with updates to smartphone operating systems.

After writing programs to configure your controller/processor and make it act accordingly a developer should also know how API’s work inside micro-controllers.

So, what is an API?

API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface, which is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. Here, our hardware communicates with the server through APIs. Hardware generates a request sending data and receives a respective response from the server, now to handle this at the server side we need a software developer.

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What is meant by software development in IoT?

Software development in IoT is under the following layers.

Server Deployment– Requires knowledge of how Cloud technology works and its IoT integration. This holds the programming logic and code deployment over required environments. This further integrates with the database to store the data.

Database management– All the information of IoT devices and their users is kept in structural form which needs to be secured , comes under database management system.

User Interacts with whole hardware and software using an interface which could be a mobile or web application.It serves the purpose of improving our ability to use the system to maximum potential by just touching user-friendly icons. So here we get a requirement for an application developer, to create a simple and robust application to function with the hardware.

Choosing an incorrect or sub-optimal software/hardware combination can lead to project delays or even project failures.IoT is a big model that tries to integrate multiple things together. Embedded Systems are part of the overall IoT .

Firmware is just a special kind of software that serves a very narrow purpose for a piece of hardware. While you might install and uninstall software on your computer or smartphone on a regular basis, you might only rarely, if ever, update the firmware on a device and you’d probably only do so if asked to by the manufacturer, probably to fix a problem.

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