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This interview is part of an ongoing series VDC conducts with IoT and embedded software solution providers to share views on their company, products, and state of the market.
VDC: LDRA continues to be actively involved in several of the certification standards for safety-critical software. How is software development impacted within industries using these standards?
Jim: It is now essential for the critical embedded software markets to be compliant with the safety and security requirements put forth in each of the various industries. To be in business, you need to comply with these standards to ensure your customer is receiving the very best in software quality. Software development organizations working within these industries need to be trained on the standards in terms of their requirements and deliverables. Then they need to develop a process that can adhere to the standard while still remaining business competitive. To maintain or improve their competiveness and profitability, software organizations are learning to adapt and automate where they can; in the analysis of their code, the testing of their code, and the generation of documentation artifacts that demonstrates the activities they performed to adhere to the standard. In the end, software organizations in the critical embedded software industries are becoming more mature. They are measuring the impact of the changes they make and continually improving their process.
VDC: MISRA published a few updates in May - what are some of the key take-aways from the updates?
Jim: Fundamentally, this latest amendment to the MISRA C:2012 standard is very much focused on security and eliminating potential vulnerabilities from entering the code in the first place. Beyond the incorporation of the 14 new rules from the ISO/IEC 17961:2013 C Language Security guidelines, companies who need to deviate from the standard because full compliance would not be practical or possible now have a more formal process to follow.
VDC: How will these MISRA updates impact engineering firms that are developing certified code?
Jim: The most notable points here are one, the fact that MISRA is now used in many safety-critical markets, not just the automotive sector. Two, MISRA, largely known to help with developing safe applications is equally capable of helping customers create secure code. So now, companies can ensure high quality software for both safety and security utilizing one MISRA coding standard. And three, through automation and a well-defined set of rules, software development organizations can ensure high quality code for safety- and security-critical applications.
VDC: What role do you see big data and analytics playing on the automated test tool market?
Jim: In the long term, big data analytics will be useful to determine how automated testing could be augmented or tuned for the specific needs of the industry. By understanding widely used coding constructs and patterns and also potential patterns in vulnerabilities, they may be eliminated prior to deployment. Big data analytics could also be used to optimize usage patterns and licensing models for automated software testing tools. There are a number of application areas that may benefit from big data but at this time this is a new area of research.
VDC: If you could see into the future, how would you expect the opportunities and challenges for the embedded software market shaping up over in the coming year?
Jim: We anticipate continued growth and concern in the IoT and software security markets. With attacks on embedded systems becoming more prevalent, software companies will need to identify and develop stronger methodologies to ensure their systems are secure. Size, weight, and power demands will continue to dominate the aerospace, defense, and automotive markets. Therefore multicore applications will continue to evolve, as will software to develop and verify applications in these environments. Certification of these types of systems will continue to be a challenge and companies will need to budget and plan for better processors, technologies, and tools for development and verification. In the consumer sector, applications will continue to become more mobile and connected; therefore security and battery power will continue to be concerns. Software organizations will need to make the decision between open source or create their own, with the idea that safety and security must not be sacrificed for functionality.
VDC: Thank you, Jim!
Interested in participating in VDC’s “The IoT & Embedded Technology Beat” series of interviews? Please reach out and let us know.
Jim McElroy, Vice President of Marketing at LDRA Technology, is focused on expanding LDRA business in the embedded software verification market by improving developer productivity and software quality in critical application development. Before joining LDRA, McElroy held executive-level marketing and business development positions with Green Hills Software, Telelogic North America, and I-Logix as well as holding industry-level software development positions at Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. McElroy has a Master of Science in Computer Science from Fitchburg State College and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts.
View the 2017 IoT & Embedded Technology Research Outline to learn more.