How many people can repair embedded systems ? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Forgive me if this was asked 100 times before, for I'm new here:

We don't know how many embedded systems there are. We don't know how many have already been remediated. We don't know how many will need to be remediated in January. We don't know the mean time for each repair. But we should know how many experts are going to be available to work on embedded systems in January. Does anyone have data or anecdotes?

The primary reason I ask for information is that embedded systems rarely break and are not frequently reprogrammed -- suggesting the staffs available to fix them are far smaller than mainframe systems staffs.

Let's assume a robot in a plant malfunctions in early January and shuts down an assembly line. The robot can be repaired in two hours. But if the plant's small embedded system repair crew has other serious problems and can't get to that robot for one day, the plant will be down for 26 hours, not two hours.

Do we have enough embedded systems experts to handle a "three day snowstorm" ... in three days?

-- Richard Greene (, December 05, 1999


I don't know the answer to you question, but you might want to check out the embedded systems catagory at the bottom of the forum. LOTS of great info there!


-- Orson Wells (, December 05, 1999.

Richard, There are no "embedded systems experts", nor are there any embedded systems repair crews other than those that normally maintain the equipment. The reason is simple, "embedded systems" take the many forms, as various types of equipment. No one can know all they need to know about hundreds of thousands of different devices. There are some comonalities - some devices are used in various industries and are quite common, such as PLCs, but even these have various manufacturers, different custom application programs for a given purpose, etc.

So, what you have are engineers and technicians for a given facility who are the ones who already maintain their equipment. These are the real experts, no one knows their systems and equipment better than IT consultant, no "embedded systems" expert (plant people don't even typically use the term embedded systems), would have near the knowledge of the specific devices and functions a plants equipment is used for.

So whoever maintains the equipment now will be the ones to deal with ANY problems, y2k or not. In Y2K the movie, the hero went from place to place fixing things, from the airport, to the nuclear plant. In real life, this y2k date guy wouldn't have even been let in the nuclear plant, much less the control room, he would never have had a clue as to how the plant works.

There are no "embedded systems" experts.


-- FactFinder (, December 05, 1999.

It depends on how far up the Polly's arse the system has been embedded...

-- Y2KGardener (, December 05, 1999.

Re: Let's assume a robot in a plant malfunctions in early January and shuts down an assembly line. The robot can be repaired in two hours.

Richard, do you really think someone can analyse, write, test, burn, install and system test the firmware in a robot to resolve a Y2K problem in 2 hours?

I have some swamp land for sale, if you are interested. :-))

-- John (, December 06, 1999.

That's a good question. If you're asking "Where are companies finding all these qualified people to perform immediate Fix On Fail after the rollover?" then the answer is that they aren't.

The massive rollover staffing levels announced by many companies are a PR exercise. If there's no problem, they don't need them. If there's problems, they need them for weeks or months.

Nicely spotted.

-- Colin MacDonald (, December 06, 1999.

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