Everybody is talking about the Internet of Things (IoT). However, the IoT paradigm comprises of a diverse array of vertical markets and is not a homogenous entity. Take the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) for instance. Known to some people, particularly in Europe, as Industry 4.0, such technology often finds a home in the Smart Building or Smart Factory.
The drive behind IIoT comes from the notion of connecting machines to the cloud and adding intelligence to them, a concept that is easier said than done. Machines don't necessarily talk in the language of networks and the cloud. Moreover, the number of network types and protocols operating in an industrial automation environment is steadily rising, so there is a growing need to bridge the gap between the industrial and IT networking domains. That bridge is typically handled with an IoT gateway.
A developer needs to look no further than the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance for help. One Associate member of the Alliance aiming to bring industrial automation into the IoT arena is AAEON, the industrial and embedded computing subsidiary of ASUS, a large-scale manufacturer of PCs, tablets, and mobile phones based in Taipei, Taiwan. AAEON specializes in the design and manufacture of industrial PC (IPC) products, such as industrial motherboards, embedded CPU boards, panel computers, and industrial box computers. Such products are quite suited to Smart Building/ Factory applications.
AAEON is leveraging the Intel®http://iotsolutionsalliance.intel.com/solutions-directory/intel_technologies/947IoT Gateway reference design which includes technology from McAfee and Alliance membersWind River. This design is helping AAEON expand connectivity, improve interoperability, and shorten time to market for developers looking to transform business and operations.
AAEON, which recently joined hands with HMS Networks AB, a supplier of communications solutions for industrial automation, is now offering end-to-end IoT solutions that exchange data between "things" and the cloud—hence the need for a gateway as the IIoT bridge. AAEON’s gateway solutions offer Intel® Quark™ SoCs and Intel® Atom™ processors, Wind River Intelligent Device Platform XT* 3,Linux*,and McAfee*Embedded Control security technologies.
The solution targets the Smart Building/Factory, which would require a programmable logic controller (PLC) for industrial electromechanical processes, in addition to the industrial I/O modules for multiple arrangements of digital and analog inputs and outputs, and a gateway to pass the information back and forth between the server and end-devices (Figure 1). AAEON's AIOT-DRM is an Intel Quark SoC-based IoT gateway that can function as an industrial I/O module. When paired with a PLC, it reduces the overall solution's cost, size and weight, while enabling cloud connectivity and greater flexibility.
Figure 1. The AAEON gateway forms the bridge required in an Industrial IoT platform.
The step pyramid-shaped gateway is comprised of a base PC board, CPU board, and industrial I/O board, each stacked atop one another from the top to bottom, respectively. The top level of the AIOT-DRM system provides Internet access and expansion capabilities; computation in the middle; and analog-to-digital conversion at the bottom.
This IoT gateway takes data from sensors, video cameras and RFID tags via multiple sources like Wi-Fi and ZigBee and dispatches the data to a server. In the Smart Building/Factory example, it allows those responsible for building management to monitor the data with a tablet or a mobile phone via a gateway link to the cloud.
Embedded computing solution providers like AAEON focuses more on the x86 ecosystem compared to ARM as it is less fragmented and offers greater space for differentiation. Basing the solution on the Intel IoT Gateway design, which includes an embedded OS and security software stacks, allows firms like AAEON to offer application-ready embedded platforms. An SDK supplied by AAEON simplifies the access capability needed by third-party software to control or access the IoT gateway and sensors.
Gateway solutions for other IoT applications are also available from AAEON. For example, the AIOT-X1000 subcompact board—powered by the Intel® Quark™ SoC X1000 series—integrates rich communication interfaces such as RS-485 and analog and digital I/Os. The motherboard provides the basic building blocks for IoT gateways like AIOT-QA for retail and banking applications, and additional customization and support for industrial communication protocols like EtherCAT, ProfiNET, ModBus, and more (Figure 2).
Figure 2. AAEON offers one-stop shopping for IoT gateway solutions.
AAEON provides IoT solutions combining hardware and software for the specific vertical markets it serves. The Intel IoT Gateway design that AAEON has adopted provides an integrated software platform and OS board support package (BSP) to support the operation of the gateway. Moreover, the company works closely with system integrators and installer to ensure that it provides validated IoT solutions with actual IoT system integration track records.
See our Solutions Directory for more products from AAEON.
Contact featured member:
Solutions in this blog:
AAEON is an Associate member of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance.
OpenSystems Media by special arrangement with the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance.