Software development and reliability: a matter of reputation
Software solutions and systems have to meet the highest quality standards in order to be trusted, implemented and sustainable.
Today is the golden age of software development.
There are countless devices and services that partially or fully rely on software or software suites in order to function. Whether in cars, cameras, gas pumps, payment terminals, heating and ventilation systems, pay systems, smart bracelets, pacemakers or telephones, software systems are everywhere, with some touching every aspect of our lives. It’s simple: we can no longer live without them.
The omnipresence of software and the extent to which we rely on certain devices in our day-to-day lives (consider whether people can actually live without their smart phones) raise a number of issues, and not only from a public health standpoint. Not a month goes by without news of another software failure, some with tragic consequences.
Below are some examples:
- June 2019: Positive Technologies, a specialist in enterprise technology, publishes a new report on the security of mobile applications. Whether you use iOS or Android, the findings are shocking: three out of four applications show major vulnerabilities that can affect your personal information.
- May 2019: Baltimore is paralyzed by a computer virus partly created by the NSA. One of the virus’ components was developed by the United States Secret Service so that they could exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows software.
- March 2019: In its preliminary report on the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people on March 10, investigation authorities confirm that human error was not at fault. The report highlights problems with the aircraft’s anti-stall software.
- January 2019: A newspaper story follows up on the Phoenix pay system, introduced nearly three years earlier to provide centralized payroll processing for more than 40 federal entities, which has plunged thousands of public servants into financial uncertainty. Some public servants received no salary for weeks, or even months. Others were overpaid. Many employees weren’t paid for overtime or received erroneous records of employment or tax statements.
- January 2019: A setback for U.S. company Lime and its electric scooters is reported. In Switzerland, the company has had to pull its entire fleet of scooters from the streets because of sudden braking, most likely caused by a software glitch.
- January 2019: A study by MIT Media Lab reveals that Rekognition, a facial recognition software developed by Amazon, has been making major errors. The software was confusing darker-skinned women with men.
- October 2018: Dominion Voting Systems, the company contracted by 51 Ontario municipalities to manage online voting, admits that all of them were affected by crashes and significant slowdowns. The incident sparks a heated discussion on whether giving multinationals exclusive rights to manage our voting data is transparent and safe.
Examples abound, but one thing is certain: the growing number of software failures is undermining the public’s confidence in the devices they use every day. Not long ago, the average consumer would not have to be a mechanic to know how their car worked: you turn the key, put the car into gear, and put your foot on the gas. But that’s no longer the case – for better or, all too often, for worse.
With the growing complexity and interconnectedness of products and services that rely on software to operate, consumers (who are interested not in the software but rather in the products and services that they help create) are entitled to ask whether software systems can be trusted for developing safe and reliable devices, systems and applications.
In response, developers have to act very quickly to improve the reputation of their products and services, and hence the quality of their software.
As a provider of software development services, Cofomo is well aware of this challenge. Since 1995, Cofomo has been a trusted supplier and partner among Canadian and Quebec firms in the private, public and semi-public sectors, and has built its credibility on exceptional software development and quality control processes, the expertise of its consultants and its reliable solutions. Regardless of how your projects evolve, when delivered, the software will:
- meet your needs;
- function as expected;
- offer a value-added experience to users;
- be stable and safe; and
- stay that way.
It’s a matter of reputation.