When we think of software, we tend to think of computers. When we think of computers, we think of geeks with neck beards and blue shirts. Outside of Office and iTunes, we are hardly aware of software in our own lives. When we pick up our smartphones, we tend not to think in terms of software at all. In that realm, everything is an application of some kind. Besides that, there is something called an operating system that gets updated every year. Otherwise, software does not enter the picture.
Then there are the devices with embedded software. No one ever thinks about the software that runs their cable box, or even that it has software running at all. Even fewer people, if you can get fewer than nobody, knows what version of the software is running on their embedded system. These days, software extends its tendrils into our television sets, microwave ovens, and washing machines. For better or worse, software is a part of every aspect of our lives. here are a few you may not have considered:
In moderately big cities, major construction projects are taking place all the time. It is difficult to imagine going through an average day without seeing the signs of construction in progress. The big, yellow vehicles designed to move earth, hoist heavy material, or flatten whatever gets in the way are everywhere. Yet when we see them, we seldom envision the skinny coder with the think glasses hunched over the keyboard, hammering out code with pizza-stained fingers. Yet that person is just as responsible for the building being completed on time as the guy in the hardhat who really should be wearing better fitting pants.
There is a good chance that at the heart of that project is the secret software sauce behind modern construction projects of all sizes. Construction management software includes a Punch List tool that empowers the construction project manager to oversee the details and keep everyone on the same page. The next time you see the guy in the hardhat, give some thought to the other guy in the soft chair in front of a bright screen coding his fingers to the bone.
If you want more info on cloud based construction software, read up on Procore technologies.
Would you feel comfortable knowing that your doctor is diagnosing your condition using the same smartphone she uses to play Candy Crush. Well, she does, and most likely has been doing so for some time. For years, doctors have been using iPhone apps to assist with differential diagnosis. These days, their phones are also being deployed to diagnose strokes in emergency situations.
In some developing nations, iPhones are playing a central role in eye care. Using tools already in the possession of many, eye doctors and a bit of software ingenuity, the iPhone is been turned into a sophisticated scanner that can not only help doctors see the back of the eye, but take and save high resolution images for further evaluation and review by other doctors. It provides utility not available in the thousands of dollars worth of equipment in a typical doctor’s office. It is not just the doctor who should get the credit for diagnosing strokes and eye disorders. It is also software engineers.
Everyone knows that cars are less mechanical and more computerized than they were in the good old days. But the level to which software controls our driving experience will come as a surprise to most people. In the Toyota Prius, for example, the break pedal does not connect to the breaks. It is connected to a computer which controls the breaks. The big Prius recall of a few years ago had nothing to do with a mechanical issue. It was all about the software. All the cars needed was a software update to fix the breaks. The fix was no more complicated than updating an app on a smartphone.
Today, software is being used to avoid collisions, keep drivers in their lanes, and park cars. Google is not the only company working on cars that drive themselves. But Google is the only company to show off a concept car that dispenses with the steering wheel. For Google, self-driving does not mean human assisted. It means no humans required.
From the water we drink to the medicine our doctors prescribe, software is reshaping our world, and it is definitely for the better.