Pebble Bay Announces Embedded Software Optimisation

Pebble Bay, the independent experts in diagnosing and solving business limiting embedded software problems, launches an initiative in response to OEMs affected by present economic conditions. The new service is called Embedded Software Optimisation (ESO), and can enable OEMs to significantly improve their existing products at costs that are an order of magnitude less than developing new products – saving hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds in NRE (Non-Recurring Engineering) costs.

ESO enables OEMs to extend product life cycles, remove the need for expensive product redesign costs, and decrease operational costs caused by expensive unplanned maintenance in the field.

Pebble Bay’s ESO services provide improvements in both business and technological terms to existing OEM products by optimising code in products already in the field to a given pre-agreed performance metric. Performance improvements can be achieved through a simple three phase engagement of Analysis, Development and Test, with an optional fourth Maintenance component. Improvements may be in tens of percents, providing significant product enhancements at a low cost.

ESO is a proven concept. Pebble Bay has successfully delivered ESO services for customers including:

  • A developer of IPTV-based hotel infotainment systems reported damage to revenues and a potential threat to market credibility caused by visitors not being able to use defective in-room systems. Pebble Bay performed analysis of the problematical low-level code, provided re-engineered code, and maintains a level of support for fielded product – which stabilised and enabled growth of revenue for the client.
  • A UK Formula One racing team using a standard commercial implementation of USB for on-car data acquisition discovered that it did not provide sufficient bandwidth, while having too high a latency and using too much CPU time. After an investigation phase, Pebble Bay determined the reasons for the poor performance and re-engineered the USB stack to achieve the required performance goals. This avoided a costly hardware re-design to use an alternative data transfer mechanism.

To enable ESO, Pebble Bay has assembled a growing list of ESO tools and has teamed up with a number of tool vendors, providing both a sales channel and consulting expertise within the ESO framework.

The growing list of ESO tools includes RapiTime from Rapita Systems, a worst case execution analysis tool, and CodeSonar from GrammaTech, a static code-analysis tool. Both tools are used by Pebble Bay’s consulting engineers to expose problematical embedded code, and provide guidance for which areas of code require attention or redevelopment.

“We are pleased to have our products be part of Pebble Bay’s ESO strategy,” said Guillem Bernat, CEO for Rapita Systems Ltd. “We believe that Pebble Bay’s engineering skills and our RapiTime product will collectively allow OEMs to produce better quality, more reliable and more rugged embedded systems.”

“We have formalised our ESO strategy in response to a decline in new projects on our horizon. OEMs still need to add functionality and build upon their long-term platform product strategies. However with present design budgets, few are able to. ESO re-enables and extends their platform capabilities at a fraction of the NRE redesign cost,” said Nick McNamara, Commercial Director at Pebble Bay.

About Pebble Bay Consulting Ltd.
Pebble Bay understands the business challenges and benefits associated with Embedded Software Optimisation (ESO) and has the skills required to develop well crafted embedded software. The optimisation and development of high integrity, trusted platforms on which to architect, build or re-engineer OEM products regularly contribute towards: significant reductions in NRE costs, fielded maintenance operational cost, successful on-time delivery of product to market and protection & improvement of existing revenue streams.

About Rapita Systems Ltd.
Rapita Systems Ltd. is a specialist in the worst-case execution time (WCET) analysis and performance-profiling of real-time embedded systems for the avionics, automotive, space, and telecommunications markets. Its innovative RapiTime product makes Rapita Systems the leader in measurement based WCET analysis solutions. RapiTime provides a practical WCET analysis solution that works for complex embedded software running on the latest generation of advanced microprocessors. A privately owned company, Rapita Systems was founded in 2004 to commercialise worst-case execution time analysis and simulation technology developed in the Real-time Systems Research Group at the University of York.