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110 Posts authored by: MarkScantlebury

Network function virtualization (NFV) is radically changing the communications deployment model, taking a top-down approach to molding the network to service requirements. The missing components in this transition are probe solutions that can address hybrid environments encompassing both virtual and physical networks. Discover a virtual probe function that delivers true end-to-end network visibility.


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Virtual Customer Premise Equipment (vCPE) enables service providers to offer new value-added services such as next-generation firewalls, application-specific quality of service (QoS), and service chaining with a web-like delivery model. Explore a Layer 7 classification engine that enables vCPE solutions to utilize real-time application and subscriber information to deliver a high degree of personalization.


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Setting up an IoT platform to gather data from sensors and send that data to the cloud is far from easy and often requires supporting third-party vendor solutions for specific end-to-end data flows. Make the job easier with a set of solutions designed around the Intel® IoT Platform that enables companies to deploy, configure, and manage end-to-end IoT deployments from a single, cloud-based portal.


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The industry talks a lot about how to build bridges from the edge to the cloud, but it can be equally hard to find solutions that present the information to the customer in ways that truly foster good, fast decisions. Learn about a solution that unifies data from any data source, any format, and any application, and presents it in a single, intuitive visual interface that makes it easy to turn data into action.


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There’s big data and then there’s fast data. High in volume and time-sensitive, fast data must be processed quickly or the opportunity to act or deliver an alert is lost. Explore an IoT data fusion platform from a Silicon Valley company serving Global 1000 companies and government agencies that helps developers handle fast data for their customers.


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Physical store success increasingly depends on IoT technologies for real-time access to inventory data, as well as product location, information, and reviews. Some retailers take it even further with proximity beacons that provide customer movement data and transmit promotions to smartphones and tablets. Learn how to turn sales associates into knowledge workers with rugged tablets built for the sales floor.


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The Intel® Retail Sensor Platform offers brick-and-mortar stores a compelling solution for revolutionizing inventory tracking, collecting in-depth intelligence on customer behavior and preferences, and dramatically reducing losses from misplaced items and inventory shrink. All this helps retailers deliver improved customer experiences and increase sales.


However, as an end-to-end Internet of Things (IoT) solution, there is more this platform can do to boost physical store success. As an example, let’s look at how adding a retail beacon solution from MobStac could extend this platform, helping physical stores track and engage customers on the sales floor.


The Intel® Retail Sensor Platform

The Intel Retail Sensor Platform provides a complete Internet of Things (IoT) platform for helping developers, solution providers, and system integrators quickly create and deploy retail solutions informed by analytics (Figure 1). This flexible, secure foundation enables better inventory tracking, faster time to insight from retail data, and new ways to increase customer satisfaction.



Figure 1. The Intel® Retail Sensor Platform provides a complete Internet of Things (IoT) platform for helping developers and system integrators quickly create and deploy retail solutions informed by analytics.


Early implementations focused on using RFID technology to track the movement and location of inventory, and relate it with other data to identify ways to increase sales and profitability. As described in this white paper, the inventory accuracy and management improvements achieved by the Intel Retail Sensor platform deliver the following benefits:


  • Lower inventory carrying costs
  • Fewer missed sales opportunities
  • Reduced inventory shrinkage
  • Optimized product placement
  • Increased sales associate effectiveness
  • Improved order fulfillment
  • Expanded customer services


The platform accomplishes all this by providing the ingredients to securely send RFID and other sensor data to the cloud for analysis by business-class applications. Key components include:


  • Retail IoT sensors to detect everything from inventory movement to customers in the store
  • IoT gateways for collecting sensor data and sending it to the cloud
  • Cloud and big data architecture to ingest and analyze retail data
  • External APIs to enable software developers to easily integrate innovative applications
  • Application software to perform retail functions such as inventory tracking, replenishment notifications, and insights on customer movements and consideration of specific items


Adding Beacons

Beacons are low-cost, low-powered transmitters equipped with wireless technology such as Bluetooth* Low Energy (BLE or also called Bluetooth 4.0 or Bluetooth Smart). In a retail store, a beacon communicates with a customer’s smartphone or tablet app to determine the customer’s location in a particular aisle or department and deliver context-aware messages.


Using beacons enables retailers to better know who is in their stores, where they spend the most time, and how effective in-store sales promotions are in drawing traffic. Beacons also give retailers the ability to entice customers to make immediate purchases through real-time coupons and other promotional techniques.


Consider these two examples:

  • A beacon communicating with a smartphone could identify what store section a customer just entered. If there is anything in that section that is on the customer’s shopping list or recent browser search history, the store could send a notification through the beacon (Figure 2).
  • A beacon could identify the in-store presence of a member of the retailer’s customer loyalty program and send a discount on a certain item based on past purchases or predicted interest.


in-store image.jpg

Figure 2. A beacon communicating with a smartphone could identify what store section a customer just entered and send a notification of something in that section that is on the customer’s shopping list.


Because the Intel Retail Sensor Platform architecture is based on an industry-standard, open-software platform, new functions and sensors, such as beacons, can be added to the platform any time. System integrators and developers can write applications to the external API and analytics engine to access sensor data from the gateway, cloud, or metadata.


The platform runs on private (on-premise) and public cloud infrastructures. It offers an open-source analytics platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for cloud applications (Figure 3). It can be extended and customized by solution providers, enabling solution providers such as MobStac to easily add their solution to the platform and expand it to include retail beacons and their analytics solution.


Figure 2 of platform.JPG

Figure 3. The Intel® Retail Sensor Platform offers an open-source analytics platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for cloud applications.


Advantages of MobStac

MobStac offers an end-to-end platform for businesses to engage customers in a personalized, context-aware way that leverages indoor location and proximity, using iBeacon and Wi-Fi* technology. MobStac's proximity marketing and analytics platform, Beaconstac is a proximity marketing and analytics product using Bluetooth* Low Energy (BLE) beacon technology. With iBeacon (Apple technology) and Eddystone (Google technology) hardware, iOS and Android SDKs, and a cloud platform to manage everything in one place, Beaconstac provides a quick and easy way to increase customer engagement and gather useful analytics in physical spaces.


Retailers can use Beaconstac to send relevant offers to in-store customers, as well as gather and visualize data about who the customers are and how they engage with a specific physical store. For really large stores, Beaconstac can also enable indoor wayfinding to guide customers to products they want.


screen image.png

Figure 4. MobStac Beaconstac helps retailers gather and visualize data about who their customers are and how they engage with a specific physical store.


Beaconstac’s beacons are fully secure, enterprise-ready solutions that can operate as long as four years with just AA batteries. Their iBeacon and Eddystone compatibility enables them to work with the vast majority of smartphones and tablets.


Beaconstac software includes campaign management tools for creating and managing proximity marketing campaigns. The iOS and Android SDKs make creating mobile apps offering customized beacon experiences easy. Developer documentation includes tutorials, technical information, and answers to frequently asked questions.


Getting Started

MobStac offers a Beaconstac starter kit that includes three enterprise-grade beacons, the Beaconstac app with SDKs for iOS and Android, and free access to a cloud-based proximity marketing and analytics console for 60 days (Figure 5). Purchasing the starter kit includes assistance from MobStac engineers in setting up a test location-based campaign.



Figure 5. The Beaconstac starter kit includes three enterprise-grade beacons, the Beaconstac app with SDKs for iOS and Android, and free access to a cloud-based proximity marketing and analytics console for 60 days.


For help implementing Beaconstac on the Intel Retail Sensor Platform, retailers can turn to a complete list of solution integrators, analytics providers, and technology providers that can provide deployment assistance. See the list on this web page.


Step Up to Proximity Marketing

Adding a solution like MobStac’s Beaconstac to the Intel Retail Sensor Platform is a great way to extend the Intel Retail Sensor Platform and reap even more benefit from its ability to improve physical store operations and better compete with online-only merchants. To learn about other innovative retail solutions, visit the Solutions Directory.


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Contact featured member:


Solutions in this blog:


Related topics:

MobStac is an Associate member of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance.


Mark Scantlebury

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance

Editor-in-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Full HD (1080p) and 4k UHD video, as well as H.265 technology, are driving increased global demand for IP-based video surveillance systems and powerful, versatile network video recorders (NVRs). Check out a COM Express board and a ready-to-go NVR system that enable top-of-the-line transcoding performance with Intel® Core™ and Intel® Xeon® processors and integrated Intel® HD Graphics.


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To handle today’s massive and ever-increasing amounts of data traffic, business communications equipment requires performance. Every system component, large and small, must be meticulously selected to eke out greater performance gains. Find out how embedded solid-state drives (SSDs) deliver space-saving capacity to boards and modules to enhance flexibility, scalability, and ruggedness.


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Driver fatigue is a leading cause of traffic accidents for heavy-duty vehicles such as mining trucks, excavators, bulldozers, cranes, cargo trucks, and buses. Their drivers need a rapid alert system to keep them awake and on the road. Find out about an in-vehicle surveillance platform that uses a camera to monitor drivers for fatigue, analyzing video in real-time to activate alerts and wireless communications.


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The market for point-of-sale (POS) machines is extremely competitive, but POS machine designers can get an edge by appealing to two top retailer concerns: security and maintenance costs. Solve these problems for retailers and they are likely to line up to buy your money-saving solution.


How big of a problem are these two issues? According to Global IT service provider CompuCom, an IT visit can cost USD $187. A remote repair, on the other hand, costs just USD $12 – that’s 90 percent less expensive.


What about security? According to the Verizon 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report, the location of 70 percent of retail security breaches is the point of sale. This one remarkable fact shows just how vulnerable legacy POS machines are to identity thieves.


The first step to solving these issues for retailers is basing POS solutions on Intel®  vPro™ platforms. Platform choices include the Intel® Core™ i5/i7 vPro™ processor family and the Intel® Xeon® processor E5-1600, E3-1500, and E3-1200 product families, as well as numerous Intel® chipsets and network adapters.


In cases where retailers are already using POS machines with these components, IT managers and managed service providers can activate the Intel vPro features in them. Intel® Setup and Configuration Software 9.0 makes implementing Intel vPro processor-based devices simple and fast. In a matter of minutes, many of the security and manageability features described here can be available.


Reducing Maintenance Costs

Intel® vPro™ technology and its remote device management component, Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT), easily and inexpensively integrate with existing IT environments and management infrastructure. Once activated, Intel vPro technology and Intel AMT work together to support the following management capabilities:


  • Real-time access and full remote control over POS devices with integrated Keyboard-Video-Mouse (KVM) capabilities – even when operating systems or disk drives fail and the device won’t boot (Figure 1)
  • Direct remote boots into the BIOS (via KVM support)
  • Highly secure remote resets of forgotten disk encryption passphrases or PINs
  • Remote system reimages and rebuilds
  • Preboot eXecution Environment (PXE) support to boot devices remotely using their PXE-capable network interface controller (NIC)
  • Remote shutdown and power-on to reduce energy consumption
  • Provision of a temporary POS device to enable users to continue working while a device is repaired or reimaged


KVM use case.JPG

Figure 1. Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) enables real-time access and full remote control over POS devices with integrated Keyboard-Video-Mouse (KVM) capabilities – even when operating systems or disk drives fail and the device won’t boot.


Improving Security at the Point of Sale

Any compromise of data generated at a retail POS is unacceptable – yet many retailers still rely on software-based authentication such as username and password. More than 50 percent of data breaches are caused by misused or stolen user credentials.


A retailer’s reputation can be lost right along with any customer identity information in a fraction of a second. Intel vPro technology helps protect against threats from hackers and identity thieves through exceptional, hardware-based security features. Its security takes a multilayered approach:


  • Protection through hardware-based security access featuring the multifactor authentication of Intel® Authenticate Technology. In addition, Remote Secure Erase and Intel® Enterprise Digital Fence provide excellent data protection for Intel® Solid State Drives.
  • Detection through security features such as BIOS Guard and OS Guard offering hardware-based device and platform protection against BIOS and malware attacks.
  • Correction through remote out-of-band patching and recovery.


Use Case Examples

Intel vPro technology solutions are helping retail operations all over the world save on maintenance. The Bank of New Zealand, for instance, uses Intel vPro technology for their ATMs to power up devices for delivering patches, distributing software updates, and enforcing security policies. When an ATM experiences a system crash, the bank avoids a costly truck roll by running diagnostics and remediating issues via a remote hardware-based KVM session.


METRO Cash & Carry, an international leader in self-service wholesale, uses Intel vPro technology to remotely update POS machines even if a location is closed and machines are switched off (Figure 2). According to internal tests, METRO is saving the equivalent of several IT workdays per month by employing the remote manageability features offered by Intel Core vPro processors.


direct power control.JPG

Figure 2. Intel® vPro™ technology enables remotely updating POS machines even if a location is closed and machines are switched off.


Architectural Considerations

Intel vPro technology platforms include features and capabilities to tightly integrate with complex infrastructure components such as Microsoft Active Directory*, DNS, DHCP, public key infrastructure (PKI), enterprise WLAN environments, and standard toolsets such as Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and McAfee ePO Deep Command*. These infrastructure components are optional and depend upon IT requirements around security and investment in existing systems management products.


At the highest level, the recommended and most secure version of the solution architecture is comprised of the components shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4.


vpro architecture.JPG

Figure 3. This diagram shows how to use Intel® vPro™ technology in a retail enterprise environment for the best results in terms of security and manageability.


Intel vpro platform.JPG

Figure 4. This is a close-up of the Intel® vPro™ technology portion of Figure 3.


Putting Intel® vPro Technology on the Sales Floor

For over a decade now Intel has continuously improved the feature set of Intel vPro technology and the performance, stability, and reliability of Intel AMT. POS machine designers can choose from a wider variety than ever of embedded boards and POS systems offering Intel vPro technology, including new boards and systems featuring the latest 6th generation Intel® Core™ i5/i7 vPro processors. With advances in performance, productivity, data security, and identity protection, these processors provide Intel’s best solution yet for retail POS.


To provide a sample of what’s available from members of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance, we chose a selection based on the mini-ITX form factor. Mini-ITX is a good choice because components are on a single board, all I/O is defined and integrated on the board in a standard manner with standard commercial connections, and the boards are competitively priced.




  1. Intel® vPro  Processors


Form Factor



Avalue EMX-Q170

  1. 6th generation Intel® Core i7/i5 processor product family


  • 2x 260-pin DDR4 2133MHz SO-DIMM socket, supports up to 32GB
  • 1x Intel® I219LM PCIe Gigabit Ethernet PHY
  • 1x Intel® I211AT PCIe Gigabit Ethernet
  • Realtek ALC892 HD Audio Codec
  • VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort, dual channel 18/24-bits LVDS (Chrontel CH7511B eDP to LVDS)
  • 5x SATA III, 1 x SATA III or 1 x mSATA III switch by Jumper
  • 1x PCIe x16
  • 1x full-size mPCIe with mSATA Support (SATA III)
  • 1x half-size mPCIe
  • 6x USB 2.0 by pin header
  • 4x USB 3.0 at I/O
  • 1x PS2 keyboard/PS2 mouse with dual deck USB 2.0
  • 5x RS232, 1x RS232/422/485
  • Line-in, Mic-in, Line-out
  • 8-bits GPIO
  • Onboard Infineon SLB9665 support TPM 2.0
  • ATX Power

Ennoconn NSB-3011

Intel® Xeon® processors E3-1275 v5, E3-1268L v5, E5-1225 v5


  • 3x displays (VGA, DisplayPort, HDMI)
  • DDR4 support (ECC memory support)
  • COM1 for RS-232/422/485 selectable
  • 2x GbE
  • USB 3,0
  • PCIe x16
  • COM
  • Audio

Fujitsu D3433-S






  • Designed for 24-hour operation
  • DDR4 2133 SO-DIMM up to 32GB
  • 2x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x DVI-D, 1x eDP, 1x LVDS dual channel 24-bit
  • PCIe Gen3 and mPCIe
  • 4x SATA III
  • RAID
  • mSATA & M.2 socket
  • 2x GbE
  • Dual power option (ATX/12V DC-in)
  • TPM 2.0
  • 2x serial ports
  • 1x DVI
  • 4x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0
  • Audio







  • 2x DDR4 SO-DIMM slots for up to 32GB of memory
  • 6x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0
  • 6x COM
  • 4x SATA III
  • RAID
  • DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort, and 24-bit dual channel LVDS
  • PCIe x16, PCIe x8, PCIe x4, PCIe x1, mPCIe, and 3x PCI slots
  • 2x GbE
  • 1x PCIe x16, 2x mPCIe, 1x M.2
  • TPM 2.0
  • iSMART 3.0
  • Digital I/O (4-in/4-out)
  • Audio
  • Watchdog timer


6th generation Intel® Core i7/i5 processor product family


  • 2x SO-DIMM DDR4-2133 up to 32 GB
  • 3x display (HDMI 2.0/HDMI/Display Port/VGA/iDP)
  • 2x GbE
  • SATA 6Gb/s
  • mSATA
  • USB 3.0
  • 8-bit digital I/O (2x 5pin)
  • 1x SMBus
  • Audio
  • Watchdog timer

Jetway JNF594-Q170

6th generation Intel® Core i7/i5 processor product family


  • 2x SO-DIMM DDR4-2133 up to 32 GB
  • 3x display (HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI-D)
  • 4x SATA III
  • RAID
  • mSATA/mPCIe shared slot
  • 1x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1x mPCIe
  • 2x GbE
  • Audio
  • 6x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
  • 4x serial (2x RS232, 2x RS232/422/485)




  • Low power consumption solution
  • 2x SO-DIMM DDR4-2133 up to 32 GB
  • 2x display (HDMI, DisplayPort)
  • 2x GbE
  • 4x USB 3.0, 8x USB 2.0
  • 2x SATA III
  • 4x COM (COM 1 RS-232/422/485; COM 2-4 RS-232)
  • mSATA/mPCIe shared slot
  • Audio
  • Watchdog Timer
  • FCC, CE, C-Tick, VCCI, BSMI

Portwell WADE-8017

6th generation Intel® Core i7/i5 processor product family


  • 2x SO-DIMM DDR4-2133/1866 up to 32 GB (ECC option)
  • 3x display (HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA)
  • 2x GbE
  • 1x PCIe x16
  • 1x mPCIe or mSATA
  • 1x M.2
  • Audio (line-in, line-out, mic-in)
  • Serial (1x RS-232/422/485; 1x RS-232; 4x RS-232 on pin header)
  • 4x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
  • TPM 1.2 (optional)
  • MTBF over 120,000 hours at 40° C


Give Your POS Solutions the Intel® vPro™ Technology Advantage

Boost your sales by differentiating your POS systems using the manageability and security features that come by starting with a board offering Intel vPro technology. For a complete list of the hundreds of embedded systems and boards targeting the retail market and offering Intel vPro technology, see the Alliance’s Solutions Directory.


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Solutions in this blog:


Related topics:

Avalue, Ennoconn, Fujitsu, iBASE, IEI, and Portwell are Associate members of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance. Micro Star International (MSI) is an Affiliate member. Jetway is a General member.


Mark Scantlebury

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance

Editor-in-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Imagine 27 billion connections by 2024 and 69 percent of them short-range wireless such as Wi-Fi*, Bluetooth* Low Energy (BLE), and ZigBee*. For the world’s developers, that’s a huge challenge in connectivity, hardware, firmware, security, maintenance, and device management. To help build this new tomorrow, consider an innovative edge sensor platform based on Intel® Quark™ microcontrollers.


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Sometimes you have to stroll out to the barn to get a real sense of how far IoT technology has come and what it can accomplish in the real world. Imagine, for instance, using it to improve milk and beef yields by ensuring cow feed is better mixed. See how a farm equipment manufacturer is working daily with farmers through an IoT gateway solution that turns cloud analysis into advice in the field.


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The Raspberry Pi 2 is the de facto standard for today’s maker market, but there has been nothing similar in a credit-card-sized form factor x86 board for the professional maker market. Until now. Learn about the UP board, a collaboration of AAEON, Emutex, and Intel that began with a Kickstarter campaign and now is taking off as a fast and powerful alternative to any kind of Pi.


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Growing competition in the IoT space puts pressure on price, performance, and feature set in edge devices. The more you can do with the least amount of power, the better. Find out how the 14nm Intel® Atom™ processor x5-E8000 slashes the price and power consumption of quad-core 64-bit computing. Then look at four different boards and modules that feature this processor.


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