We spent a couple of days recently at what we called our “Software Summit”, looking at our roadmap of future developments. I think I speak for everyone in the room (although I understand, as Software Product Manager, that I may be biased…) when I say that we see our software offering as being vital to our future success.
Why do I say that? Well: it’s all about context. In a COTS world, which relies on commercially available hardware, differentiation – and, thus, competitive advantage – can be hard to find. Yes, we have important differentiators in our hardware offering. Take the remarkable things we’re doing with cooling, for example – expertise that will certainly stand us in good stead as embedded systems become increasingly powerful.
But it’s in software that the opportunity for real differentiation arises. It’s software that can elevate hardware from being a platform to being a solution. That’s where our customers’ application software comes in – and our hardware is designed to help them. An example: it’s vital to our customers that their software is secure – so we design our hardware specifically to facilitate the development of more secure solutions.
Plenty we can do
And: we’re never going to be in the application software business – but, as with the provision of security features on our hardware, there’s still plenty we can do to help our customers. It’s that thinking that’s driving the development of NodeWare – a family of software tools designed to make our customers’ lives easier.
Take our AXIS software development environment – one of three (current) elements within NodeWare. Its sole aim in life is to make the development of sophisticated application software easier, quicker and, perhaps most importantly, less expensive. AXIS provides a suite of advanced yet intuitive tools – AXIS ImageFlex, AXIS DataView, AXIS EventView, AXIS Flow, AXIS MPI, AXIS View, AXIS Lib and AIS Pro – designed to support the entire development lifecycle, from design through optimization through debugging to deployment.
Then, there’s OpenWare. Like single board computers, Ethernet switches have become something of a commodity. OpenWare elevates Abaco’s switches to a different level by providing a comprehensive, secure and flexible switch management environment. Developed and proven in thousands of mission critical installations around the world (even in space) over more than two decades, OpenWare makes it much easier to design and deploy the sophisticated networks that are at the heart of today’s embedded computing.
Leveraging the potential of data
The most recent addition to the NodeWare family is the Health Toolkit. It is, as far as we know, unique in the market in its ability to help maximize system reliability and, therefore, mission success. The Health Toolkit is middleware that interrogates and reports on the status of every component within a system – even in a multivendor environment – identifying patterns of behaviour that can lead to malfunction and system failure, and provides comprehensive data to a web browser, a GUI or to the application itself, enabling rapid corrective action to be taken.
At the end of our two day meeting, we software developers were reinvigorated and re-enthused. We could clearly see that our customers have huge amounts of data available to them within their systems. Our opportunity is to help them leverage the potential of that data by providing software tools that can turn it into valuable, actionable information that can make their solutions faster to develop, faster to deploy – and better able to achieve mission success.