Every business needs its software. Computing systems help us all, regardless of the industry we work for. Every estimating process, job costing, management and scheduling requires using some sort of software to help with automation and efficiency.
There are however many different types of software and depending on the clients’ needs, it may be widely available and open or limited in its quantities and closed. That second one would be the case for industrial software. But what does industrial software bring to the table and why more and more companies use it daily? How does the development process differ form a standard software development?
What industrial software actually is?
Industrial software is the software required in order to program, configure and operate an automation system. This includes software for embedded systems – more commonly known as firmware, software drivers which enable communication with embedded systems in a host application, host applications that use the software drivers, such as SCADA and DCS, operations software such as MES, engineering tools and apps for on-site operation and diagnosis. Its development process is quite different to any software from the consumer sector, as its nature is more closed-off and there is much less room for error here. Where traditional software would evolve and extend, industrial software stays the same.
Obviously it does improve overtime, but it’s produced on a much smaller scale and there aren’t that many programs and drivers for the client to choose from.
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How does it differ from traditional software?
Comparing industrial software to software from the consumer sector, there is one significant difference to be spotted almost immediately. Industrial software is usually issued in much smaller quantities. Also, with industrial software, implementing a deterministic execution of programs up to within fractions of a second is key – there is no room for randomness here. Industrial software is most often designed for dedicated hardware and usually cannot be enhanced by the user in terms of plug-ins etc.
Industrial software with its closed nature may cause some difficulties when the user tries to combine software components from various manufacturers. In such cases, glitches are more than probable.
Industrial software enables companies to digitalise and integrate their entire industrial value chain and automate their work so it becomes easier and more manageable becoming more and more complex at the same time.