Since 2006, Sii Poland has focused on the development of competencies in specialized areas, combining vast know-how from the technology industry with domain expertise from multiple sectors. One of the company’s most active internal units is the Embedded Competency Center, where more than 500 specialists implement projects for dozens of clients representing a range of industries. Learn more about services related to low-level programming design and development.
Embedded systems are everywhere now. They help bring futuristic visions to life and set trends, allowing the latest technologies to be tried in practice in a variety of sectors. For specialists, they also provide tons of engineering satisfaction. An autonomous car, a control system for a nuclear power plant, or solutions that make it possible to verify the existence of extraterrestrial life are the challenges that stir the imagination of specialists enough to make this branch of technology particularly attractive.
— The Embedded Competency Center at Sii Poland has been operating as a separate unit for more than 6 years — says Monika Jaworowska, Embedded Competency Center Director at Sii Poland. — It is thanks to us that clients can count not only on standard experience in programming languages such as C, C++, Python or Java Embedded, but also on deep sector knowledge and familiarity with the most important norms and standards in numerous areas — she explains.
Diversity of sectors, technologies and cooperation models in the embedded systems area
The keyword integral to the embedded systems area is diversification, which is also the foundation of the Embedded Competency Center’s development strategy. First of all, it applies to sectors of the economy where the support of C and C++ programmers is necessary. Sii implements projects for semiconductor manufacturers, automotive, railroad, biotechnology, medical, and widely understood industrial applications. The specialists work with global market leaders such as Alstom, Aptiv, Assa Abloy, NXP, ABB, and many others.
Diversity is also evident in terms of the technologies and layers of embedded systems that experts work with daily. The key factors for embedded systems are primarily performance, minimizing response time, and optimizing resource consumption.
— Engineers are often attracted by the opportunity to change the project challenge in embedded systems — explains Paweł Czapiewski, Subject Matter Expert at Sii Poland. — The systems can range from an optimized bare metal solution, where performance and resources are very limited, to complex Linux-based solutions, for example in smart home projects. Sometimes, the project also requires in-depth knowledge of electronics or handling of measurement devices, experience in unit testing, or specialization in a specific programming language. The development opportunities are indeed many – Paweł adds.
Diversification also applies to cooperation models. Occasionally, customers need narrow support focused on a specific technology profile. More often, however, the experts at the Embedded Competency Center work with clients on a full-scale basis – from concretizing the vision for the entire product or its components to writing them into formal system requirements, designing the architecture, and defining the schedule for implementation. Delivery Managers and Solution Architects are heavily involved in such cases.
See the video about the Embedded Competency Center and learn how we work.
Outstanding projects driven by passion and collaborative team initiatives
Although the basis of each specialized unit is, of course, an efficient structure, the proper tools, and the right project environment, the Embedded Competency Center focuses primarily on the development and individuality of its specialists.
The mixture of top engineering competencies and passions has made it possible to build a technological community atmosphere inside the unit, based on knowledge sharing, experimenting with technologies, and implementation of interesting internal projects. Everyone can fulfill themselves here – whether in the comfort of the lab, conducting live coding webinars and workshops at universities, or sharing knowledge via social media. Numerous internal events are available to the team, including Embedded Academy, i.e. lectures by engineers for engineers, Tech Talks with discussions about specific technical problems, and thematic channels where you can share knowledge on the fly. The technology blog, mentoring, and support of student projects at partner universities are also very popular among professionals.
Embedded Competency Center specialists also focus on integration and spending time together around passions other than technology. The team regularly meets for joint coffee breaks and lunches with Resource Managers. The Good Vibes Academy is also a unique initiative, with meetings related to hobbies and boosting creativity. Fans of board games and chess, and even holiday baking, will easily find a way to develop passions together as well.
Watch the video, get to know us better, and see how we celebrated exceeding the number of 500 professionals!
Engineering challenges and specialized technologies in Embedded Competency Center projects
The most interesting aspect of the Embedded Competency Center at Sii is the broad portfolio of ongoing projects. One of the most interesting long-term assignments is the development of software that simulates the sound of a moving vehicle for a well-known manufacturer of electric and hybrid cars. The project includes highly specialized elements related to the implementation of sound processing algorithms, including, for example, an equalizer and algorithms for limiting, smoothing, and changing pitch. As a result, the sound can be modified using numerous configurable parameters – vehicle speed, equalizer settings, the direction of travel, and selected sound samples. The system itself can be configured and controlled via a dedicated PC application, via the CAN bus, and the RTE layer. The project tasks included the development of the architecture, the implementation of the solution, and the design and implementation of the Continuous Integration (CI) process.
Continuous Integration was also an important phase of a project for a Dutch leader in the semiconductor industry. Engineers from the Embedded Competency Center supported the client in designing and manufacturing secure embedded software in key smart card and NFC components and modeling the hardware layer with C-models. Working with the client required thorough preparation of project spaces and fully traceable Software development Life Cycle phases to ensure that projects with the highest physical and logical security requirements could be implemented. These requirements were backed up by certification to the Common Criteria EAL6+ standard, under which regular audits have also taken place since 2011 by notifying bodies such as TÜV or Serma.
The Embedded Competency Center’s specialists’ unique skills in developing secure code have also been applied to a project in the smart home area. Sii experts are developing a system for managing smart home devices based on communication via power lines and Ethernet network. The specialists are engaged in increasing the functionality and versatility of the system, integrating devices from third-party suppliers, and ensuring the high-quality functioning of the solution. They also develop user interfaces for controlling and configuring individual devices.
Check out the Embedded Competency Center website for more references.
How to successfully keep up with trends, or embedded systems in practice
— What distinguishes us, above all, is our passion for modern technologies, and thanks to Sii’s perfectly organized facilities, we can not only constantly advance our engineering curiosity but also expand the ranks of our unit — says Monika Jaworowska. — At our Competency Center, we keep up with technological trends and verify them in practice before clients even come to us with a need for support in a new technological area. We focus on the continuous development of market-attractive competencies — she adds.
That’s how Sii engineers practiced Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure communications a few years ago, based on a self-built slot-car demo track based on RTOS Integrity. As part of the Passion Sponsorship Program, they have also been working for several years on an AI system that could help tackle the issue of global hunger.
The Embedded Competency Center responds to the challenges of today’s market in no time. Given the shortage of resources, including chips, particularly felt since the COVID-19 pandemic, the team has repeatedly supported customers in porting functionality from one microcontroller to another. Challenges in the automotive sector also inspire engineers to take action – hence the focus on developing skills in the area of cybersecurity and securing all system layers, from hack-proof firmware to cloud-based authentication.