Last week’s Intel Developer Forum was full of great resources for embedded developers.  The technical sessions offered tons of learning opportunities – if you weren’t able to attend, I recommend browsing the session PDFs. The showroom floor was also packed with cool new products. Here are my top picks:


Digi International’s iDigi Device Cloud – I thought Digi’s machine-to-machine (M2M) demo was the coolest product of the show. This demo lets you control a dollhouse-scale building from a remote Anrdoid phone. In addition to offering remote controls like turning lights on and off, the Android app lets you set up scenarios. For example, you can set an energy budget and receive automatic alarms if the energy use is too high.


M2M wide fix.jpg


I like the demo for two reasons. First, it was a great showcase for the power of M2M. The tiny building was impressively wired—everything from the lights to the door locks to the security cameras was online. Despite the complex setup, monitoring and controlling the building was simple thanks to the intuitive app. It was easy to imagine all the myriad was you could use the app to cut costs, improve security, etc.


The demo also showed that setup up an M2M system can be surprisingly easy. The demo was based on the Kontron M2M Smart Services Developer Kit, which runs Wind River Linux 4.1 on an Intel® Atom processor.  The Digi representative at the booth told me that building client software fort the kit was a snap thanks to the robust OS. He could just develop everything on a Linux desktop and simply move the software to the M2M kit when everything was done. Easy as that!


Wind River* Intelligent Device Platform – building on the theme of M2M, Wind River’s new software development environment brings together a full set of tools and ready-to-use components built specifically for M2M. Built on Wind River* Linux*, the platform features M2M middleware from both Wind River and independent software vendors (ISVs). The platform is particularly noteworthy for its rich set of device management tools, such as OMA DM for 3G devices and TR-069 for cable devices like routers and gateways.




In principle, you could assemble all of these components yourself. However, it can be a major challenge to identify the best components, integrate them, and support them over the life of the product. The Wind River platform simplifies these challenges by giving you a pre-integrated, pre-validated package with single-vendor support – and Wind River believes it is the first to offer a package with such a high level of integration. Even better, Wind River plans to release a product with Kontron and Digi in a month that will combine the platform with field-ready hardware and cloud apps.


The platform is also notable for its compatibility with the Intel® Intelligent Systems Framework, which I covered last week. There were lots of other Intel Intelligent Systems Framework-compatible products at the show, including:



Radisys RMS-220 Network Appliance – in this impressive demo of policy enforcement for mobile networks, Radisys showed that it could do 20-30 Gbs deep packet inspection (DPI) with a mere 50% CPU loading, leaving plenty of headroom for applications processing. I’ve been reading a lot lately about the packet processing on Intel® architecture, so it was great to see this in person. I also learned a number of surprising facts about the RMS-220. As you can see from the photo below, nearly all the major components are field replaceable units (FRUs), including the storage, power supplies, and most of the I/O. Even the fans are right up front – Radisys did a hot swap while I was at the booth to show how easy it is to service the high-availability platform. Plus, the appliance has patent pending thermal management. Add in the short 20” depth and NEBS compliance, and you have a great solution for carrier-grade service.




Crystal Forest – we’re still waiting for the official announcement, but we got to see a bit more of Intel’s next generation communications platform, codenamed Crystal Forest. My top pick was the SSL acceleration demo. This demo showed how adding a single “Cave Creek” accelerator to an off off-the-shelf server dropped CPU loading from 70% to 20% for a 15 Gbps load.




The Crystal Forest platform couples Intel® architecture processors with a new Cave Creek accelerator. You can also use Cave Creek separately as a PCI* Express (PCIe) accelerator to upgrade existing platforms, as was done in this demo. Intel also had a quad-Cave Creek PCIe board on hand that was said to reduce CPU loading to essentially zero for 15 Gbps SSL encryption.


There were plenty of other Crystal Forest preview products on hand, including two ATCA blades from Emerson. I am working on an article that will reveal the details of these products and explore the details of the Crystal Forest platform. To be the first to receive these details, subscribe to the Embedded Innovator.


Advantech, Emerson, Kontron, Portwell, and Radisys are Premier members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. Dell OEM and Wind River are Associate members and Digi International is a General member.



Kenton Williston

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Editor-In-Chief Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston