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Platform Engineering in Embedded Software Development


11th January - Valencia.

"Platform engineering emerged in response to the increasing complexity of modern software architectures. Today, non-expert end users are often asked to operate an assembly of complicated arcane services," says Paul Delory, VP Analyst at Gartner. This emerging technology approach holds great promise in the realm of embedded software development. It can significantly accelerate the delivery of applications and enhance the speed at which they generate business value. In this article, we will explore how platform engineering, in line with its principles, aligns with and benefits the world of embedded software development.


Key Elements of Platform Engineering

Platform engineering, in the context of embedded software development, focuses on creating a stable and flexible foundation for a wide range of embedded systems. It incorporates the following essential elements:

  1. Hardware Abstraction: Platform engineering abstracts hardware complexities, providing well-defined APIs and middleware that enable software developers to interact with hardware components without requiring extensive knowledge of their intricacies.
  2. Modularity: Platforms in embedded software development are designed with modularity in mind. They break down the software stack into distinct, reusable modules, making it easier to develop, test, and maintain embedded applications independently.
  3. Security: In the context of embedded systems, where security is paramount, platform engineering emphasizes secure boot processes, encrypted communication, and robust authentication mechanisms to protect devices from external threats.
  4. Scalability: Embedded software platforms must be capable of scaling from resource-constrained, low-end devices to high-performance, feature-rich systems, which is particularly important in the Internet of Things (IoT) domain.
  5. Connectivity: As the demand for interconnected embedded devices continues to grow, platform engineering supports various communication protocols and networking technologies, enabling seamless integration into IoT ecosystems.
  6. Real-time Capabilities: Many embedded systems require real-time responsiveness, such as those used in automotive control systems or industrial automation. Platform engineering incorporates real-time operating systems (RTOS) and scheduling mechanisms to ensure the timely execution of critical tasks.


Platform Engineering in Action

To illustrate how platform engineering is applied in embedded software development, consider the automotive industry. Modern vehicles are equipped with various embedded systems, such as engine control units (ECUs) and infotainment systems. Platform engineers create a standardized software stack that includes communication protocols, driver interfaces, and middleware for hardware components like sensors and actuators. This software stack supports real-time processing for safety-critical functions and connectivity for features like remote diagnostics and software updates.


Benefits of Platform Engineering

The adoption of platform engineering in embedded software development brings several benefits:

  1. Accelerated Development: By providing pre-built modules and APIs, platform engineering enables developers to concentrate on application-specific logic, resulting in reduced time-to-market.
  2. Consistency: A standardized platform ensures consistent user experiences and system behavior across different embedded systems.
  3. Cost Efficiency: Platform engineering lowers development costs by promoting the reuse of software components, minimizing redundancy, and optimizing resource utilization in embedded systems.
  4. Scalability: Platforms can easily adapt to new hardware and features, eliminating the need for extensive software overhauls.
  5. Maintenance and Updates: Modular designs simplify updating individual components, improving long-term support and maintenance.


Challenges in Platform Engineering

Platform engineering in embedded software development is not without its challenges:

  1. Hardware Heterogeneity: Diverse hardware components across embedded systems make it challenging to create a universal platform.
  2. Resource Constraints: Some devices have limited processing power, memory, and storage, necessitating resource-conscious platform design.
  3. Security Concerns: Ensuring security across various embedded systems is complex and requires ongoing vigilance against evolving threats.
  4. Standardization: Achieving industry-wide standardization for embedded software platforms can be complex due to varying industry-specific requirements.



Platform engineering is a foundational practice in embedded software development, providing the groundwork for faster development, improved reliability, and enhanced scalability. As embedded systems continue to proliferate across industries, platform engineering will remain pivotal in shaping the future of connected devices. It serves as the driving force behind innovation, ensuring that embedded systems meet the demands of an ever-evolving digital landscape. According to Gartner, by 2026, 80% of large software engineering organizations will establish platform engineering teams as internal providers of reusable services, components, and tools for application delivery. Platform engineering, with its emphasis on optimizing developer experiences and accelerating application delivery, will play a central role in solving the cooperation challenges between software developers and operators. New roles and hiring strategies will be needed which requires partnership with experts who know the market and new innovative engineering skills. Skilled Engineers in the field are a scarce commodity and it requires specialised knowledge on a global basis of where to find high calibre engineers that can optimise innovations to the next level. CIS is one such provider with over 20 years’ experience in seeking the right level of engineer for specialised projects and teams. Make sure your next project is covered, contact CIS on info@cis-ee.com or +34 963 943 500.