Vladimir Zavarotny explains how hardware departments appeared in IT and why hardware developers are not one-field specialists.
Vladimir, you are the head of the HW group, a fairly young unit in PieSoft. Please tell us about your work.
Vladimir: We work at the intersection of HW and software (SW); we also write code and program. Hardware includes both HW design and embedded SW development. A simple example is a mobile phone. Hardware design is everything that concerns the electronic component, and embedded is SW that runs inside, for example, controller’s firmware. Our department deals with both. Or as another example, take a smart light bulb, which has several components. This is an application on a mobile phone (mobile development), a cloud service (web development), and the firmware itself, which is spinning in the light bulb (this is embedded SW).
Today not many companies on the market make a full stack with devices. PieSoft, however, can offer customers a full range of services.
What services or expertise do you offer to your clients?
Vladimir: The main thing is to find the right need – to crystallize the idea. In the market, an entire ecosystem is needed rather than just a device. The ecosystem is what PieSoft offers. A mobile phone is a super development, but throw the stuffing and all services out of it and you will just get a box. The HW department can offer devices, solutions, and integration with a cloud service. In simple terms, PieSoft specialists can make a phone, Google Play, and other applications. The client will receive all of this in one piece, and it will be done by one team of PieSoft developers. Paperwork and time for communication between disparate specialists are significantly reduced, and, consequently, the client does not incur additional costs.
Hardware design also includes several components, like the design of printed circuit boards.
How long does it usually take to implement a project?
Vladimir: Well, It depends. Let’s take, for example, about nine months. The design is divided into several stages: detailing the idea, creating a prototype (which takes about 3 months), preparing for mass production (about 6 months), and actual launching. That’s what those 9 months entail. At the same time, focusing on what the customer wants to get is crucial. Usually, there are two types of projects: the client either creates a brand-new unique product with the help of PieSoft or develops a technology by themselves and then wishes to improve on an existing solution. The PieSoft team is happy to work with both types of clients.
Nowadays, AI is used in almost all fields. Do you believe in all those science fiction predictions that AI will take over our planet one day?
Vladimir: I think that our future is somewhat unpredictable. In any system, the most insecure point is the human mind. So far, the ChatGPT is simply a neural network that has been loaded into several decades of the Internet. It does not invent anything. Chat’s answers are better to be taken simply as an opinion or as a call to action. My second concern is more disturbing. Personally, I think that in 20 years the uprising of machines will not yet happen, but our life can be controlled by machines in many ways.
Unless, of course, we are now seriously thinking about how to improve the process of interaction with AI. And most important to note, we will not create an idol from AI.