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49 Posts authored by: kentonwilliston

Smartphones have dramatically changed the shopping experience. Before the smartphone, customers depended on sales staff for even basic information – and getting that info was often a tedious process. To check stock, for example, a salesperson had to leave the sales floor and inspect the back room.

 

Today, smartphones give customers instantaneous access to everything from product ratings to competitor’s prices. Customers no longer have patience for slow or uninformed staff. If a clerk leaves to check stock, for example, the customer can buy the item online instead of waiting around.

 

To keep up, sales staff need their own mobile tech – specifically, mobile point-of-sale (MPOS). These go-anywhere tablets let staff complete transactions on the sales floor, giving customers the speedy service they expect (Figure 1). MPOS also let salespeople do price matching, review product ratings, and show customers alternative items. Clerks can even check backroom stock online – and if a product is out of stock, the customer can order it on the spot, avoiding a lost sale.

 

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Figure 1. Tablets let staff complete transactions on the sales floor.

 

MPOS tablets also enable the same personalization consumers get online. By looking up a customer’s purchase history, sales staff can recommend related items and more easily upsell higher-priced items. Suppose a customer had purchased a charm bracelet. The salesperson could see which charms the customer bought, and encourage them to buy new charms that complement their previous purchase.

 

Tablets based on Intel® processors offer a number of other important advantages. First among these is flexibility. As illustrated in Figure 2, members of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance offer tablets in a wide variety of form factors and configurations, giving retailers the freedom to choose a system that meets their unique needs.

 

Product

Key Features

Advantech

MICA-071

  • 7” LCD, Intel® Atom™ processor
  • Microsoft* Windows* 8.1 Industry Pro
  • 32G eMMC
  • 1D/2D barcode scanner, 802.11n
  • IP54 rated

Dell

Venue Pro 11 7000 series

  • 10.8” LCD, Intel® Core™ M processor, 8 GB RAM
  • Microsoft* Windows* 8.1
  • 256GB storage, LTE/HSPA+, 802.11n, Miracast, NFC
  • Security/manageability: KACE, Dell DDP|E, dTPM
  • Stylus, optional keyboard & tablet dock
  • Optional MPOS payment sleeve; Dell PocketCloud

Venture Corporation

Titan-S1

  • 8” LCD, Intel® Atom™ processor, 2 GB RAM
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1
  • 32 GB eMMC, MicroHDMI, MicroUSB 3.0(OTG), 802.11n, Bluetooth, ZigBee, NFC, optional EDGE/GPRS/3G/LTE
  • IP54 rated

Aava

Inari

  • 8.3” or 10.1” LCD, quad-core Intel® Atom™ processor, 4 GB RAM
  • Microsoft Windows 8 or Android 4.4,
  • 128 GB storage, MicroSDXC, NFC, 802.11n, Intel® Wireless Display (Intel® WiDi), Bluetooth*, GPS/GLONASS; optional LTE
  • 1 m drop resistant, IP65 rated, supports hand strap, MSR

EBN

X-TPC 770

  • 7" LCD, Intel® Atom™ processor, 8 GB RAM
  • Microsoft* Windows* Embedded Standard 7, Microsoft Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry
  • 512 GB storage, MicroSD, SIM socket, USB, VGA/DP/HDMI, 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Docking station with USB, Ethernet
  • IP54 rated, 1.2 m drop resistant

Figure 2. Retailers can chose from a wide range of tablets. Maximum configurations shown.

 

Perhaps most importantly, Intel processor-based tablets let retailers choose between Microsoft* Windows* and Android*. Each retailer has its own IT integration requirements and technical support capabilities, and OS flexibility makes it considerably easier to find an optimal solution.

 

Unlike consumer-grade tablets, these MPOS solutions are designed specifically for professional use. The tablets are ruggedized for hectic environments and secured against theft of valuable data. They can be equipped with retail-specific features like magnetic strip readers (MSR), contactless payment systems, and barcode scanners. Swappable batteries and external battery packs support all-day use.

 

MPOS systems based on the Intel® Core™ M processor are particularly appealing for store managers. These systems combine blazing speed with exceptional energy efficiency to deliver the capabilities of a laptop in a tablet. With the ability to use productivity software anywhere in the store, managers can check worker schedules, verify inventory, and observe sales trends while aiding the sales effort. What’s more, managers can plug these systems into a detachable keyboard when they return to their offices, unleashing the full productivity of a laptop.

 

The Dell* Venue 11 Pro 7140 is a great example of an Intel Core M processor-based MPOS solution. This Microsoft* Windows* 8.1-based tablet combines performance and portability with an ability to integrate into existing Windows environments. The 2-in-1 design offers the convenience of a detachable keyboard for a laptop experience (Figure 3).

 

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Figure 3. The Dell Venue 11 Pro offers 2-in-1 convenience.

 

The Dell Venue 11 Pro 7140 can also be equipped with a payment sleeve that adds useful features like MSR, 1D/2D barcode scanner, and hand straps (Figure 4). These features turn the tablet into a remarkably powerful yet convenient MPOS solution.

 

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Figure 4. The payment sleeve is packed with convenient features.

 

Retailers can also choose a tablet powered by Intel® Atom™ processors, which offer excellent energy efficiency for responsive performance that can last an entire shift. A good example here is the Aava Inari. This tablet family comes in 8.3” and 10.1” sizes, and supports both Microsoft Windows 8, and Android 4.4. The 8.3” version supports an integrated MSR reader for easy payment processing (Figure 5).

 

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Figure 5. The Aava Inari supports an integrated card reader.

 

These tablets are just a small sample of the MPOS solutions available from the Alliance. To learn more about your options, check out my recent article Personalize Retail with Secure Interactivity as well as the product listings in our constantly updated Solutions Directory.

 

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Contact featured members:

 

Solutions in this blog:

 

Related topics:

 

Advantech and Dell OEM are Premier members of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance. Venture Corporation is an Associate member of the Alliance. Aava and EBN Technology Corp. are General members of the Alliance.

 

Kenton Williston

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

For medical imaging, time is of the essence. Faster imaging not only improves productivity, it can save lives. The Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v3 product family is helping healthcare organizations achieve better, faster results to improve medical outcomes and accelerate the transition toward personalized, data-driven health care.

 

Consider the experience of Neusoft*, the largest IT Solutions and Services provider in China. The company found that its Neusoft CT* systems generated CT images about 72% faster using the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v3 product family than they did with the previous-generation parts (Figure 1).

 

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Figure 1. Neusoft* CT increased performance from 219 images/sec to 322 images/sec.

 

This record-breaking performance was due partly to the increased core count – 20% higher than preceding processors – and partly due to the Haswell microarchitecture upgrade. The new architecture comes with a host of improvements, most notably Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (Intel® AVX2). As we discussed in a previous blog, Intel AVX2 introduces a fused multiply-add that doubles peak floating point throughput. Multiply-add workloads are a critical component of image processing, so this upgrade benefits many medical applications.

 

The new processor also offers better scalability. Vital Images*, a provider of 2D, 3D, and 4D images, found that the latest Intel® Xeon® processor increased the number of simultaneous users they could support on a single system by 60% (Figure 2).  This improvement is particularly valuable for small-to-medium businesses, which can expand productivity without investing in large, complex systems.

 

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Figure 2. VitreaAdvanced* concurrent users increased from 5 to 8.

 

Upgrades to the processors’ memory systems are essential to achieving this performance. To keep the cores fed with data, the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v3series includes an enlarged L3 cache of up to 45 MB. The on-die bus now uses two fully buffered rings that increase the effective bandwidth (Figure 3). A corresponding QPI interface frequency increase improves multi-socket performance, and Last Level Cache (LLC) changes reduce latency and increase bandwidth.

 

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Figure 3. The new Intel® Xeon® processor employs two buffered rings.

 

External interfaces have also been upgraded. The new processors support DDR4 system memory, which offer up to 3x the memory bandwidth in as little as half the power of DDR3.

 

Other key features include:

  • An increase in virtualization density of up to 1.6X compared to the previous generation, which means more workloads on fewer servers.
  • Intel® Turbo Boost 2.0, which cranks up speeds during high-demand periods and throttles performance in low-demand periods. The latest processors can independently adjust the speed of each core, and run the cores and “uncore” at different speeds to improve energy efficiency.
  • Intel® Data Protection Technology with Intel® Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (Intel® AES-NI), which accelerates data encryption and decryption up to 2X faster than the previous generation.

 

Healthcare organizations can take advantage of these upgrades with imaging solutions from the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance. From modular components to market-ready systems, Intel and the 250+ global member companies of the Alliance provide scalable, interoperable solutions that accelerate deployment of intelligent devices and end-to-end analytics. Close collaboration with Intel and each other enables Alliance members to innovate with the latest technologies, helping developers deliver first-in-market solutions.

 

One good example of these solutions is the Super Micro X10DRi-T (Figure 4).  This dual-processor E-ATX motherboard is an great choice for imaging equipment like CT scanners and MRI machines. Key features include:

  • Up to 1TB ECC DDR4
  • 3x PCI Express* (PCIe*) 3.0 x16 and 3x PCIe 3.0 x8
  • 10x SATA 6Gbps RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
  • IPMI 2.0 and KVM with dedicated LAN
  • 5x USB 3.0 and 6x USB 2.0

 

X10DRi-T_spec_0.jpg

Figure 4. The Super Micro X10DRi-T has a powerful feature set.

 

Another good example is the FUJITSU Server PRIMERGY CX400 M1 (Figure 5). This system contains up to four server nodes with a total of 8 Intel Xeon processors and 64 DDR4 memory DIMMs in a single 2U enclosure, providing excellent performance density and energy efficiency. A variety of server node and storage options allow mixing and matching for scale-out solution stacks.

 

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Figure 5. The PRIMERGY CX400 M1 offers a variety of options.

 

For large-scale deployments that require extreme performance and high-density computing, consider the AMAX* ClusterMax* Apex Supercomputer Cluster (Figure 6). This high-performance computing (HPC) solution features up to 2,592 Intel Xeon processor cores per 42U cabinet – a remarkable level of density. Key features include:

  • A power-conscious design.
  • Integrated web-based cluster management for turnkey provisioning and hassle-free management.
  • Optimized MPI implementations and pre-tuned networking components to get parallel applications up and running.
  • Highly scalable, modular architecture with FDR Infiniband and PCIe 3.0 support.

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 12.32.00 PM.png

Figure 6. The ClusterMax* Apex features up to 2,592 cores per cabinet.

 

To see more healthcare solutions based on the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v3, see our Solutions Directory. For more on the case studies cited here – and many additional examples – see Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2600 v3 Family Software Solutions.

 

Learn More

Contact featured members:

 

Solutions in this blog:

 

Related topics:

 

Amax, Fujitsu Technology Solutions and Super Micro Computer Inc. are Associate members of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance.

 

Kenton Williston

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

Networks security requires a tremendous degree of flexibility. The nature of the threats, the diversity and volume of traffic, and even the underlying network architectures are all changing rapidly. Here’s how the latest network appliances can help you keep pace by providing a wide choice of processor, accelerator, and I/O configurations – all using Intel’s latest Haswell microarchitecture.

 

Performance from 2 to 24 cores

If maximum performance is your goal, the Nexcom NSA 7130 (Figure 1) is a good choice. This 2U appliance uses the just-announced Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v3 family, which offers up to 24 cores in a dual-socket configuration. To put that number in context, that’s 20% more cores than the previous generation processor in the similar thermal design power (TDP).

 

Nexcom.jpg

Figure 1. The Nexcom NSA 7130 offers dual-socket performance in a 2U chassis.

 

The Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v3 family also benefits from various upgrades in the Haswell microarchitecture. One particularly noteworthy new feature is the Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX) 2.02. This upgrade expands most integer operations from 128 bits to 256 bits, and it doubles multiply-add throughput with the fused multiply-add (FMA) operation. Suffice it to say this major update can significantly boost performance on data workloads.

 

Using this new processor, developers can expect an up to 3X boost in performance, giving you a powerful platform for compute-intensive security network functions like deep packet inspection. In addition, the platform achieves up to 24% better energy efficiency, helping lower operational costs. (A full list of benchmarks is available here.)

 

The Nexcom NSA 7130 takes full advantage of these upgrades, with dual-socket configurations scaling from 12 to 24 cores. Other notable features include up to 512GB of DDR4 memory, four 10GbE ports, eight 1GbE copper ports, and eight 1GbE fiber ports. The appliance can be configured through hot-pluggable PCI Express* (PCIe) modules – which we’ll look at more closely in a moment.

 

CASwell has taken a similar approach with its CAR-5040 2U rackmount system (Figure 2). With up to 24 cores, sixteen DDR4 DIMMs @ 2133MHz, and 54 network ports, the CAR-5040 is a powerful platform for network security in either conventional or software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) settings . Customers can select various combinations of 3.5”/2.5” HDD/SSD, copper/fiber media, GbE/10GbE/40GbE and third-party hardware acceleration smart module. Notably, the smart N+1 hot swappable fan modules support operation for 72 hours should one CPU fan shut down.

CAR-5040.jpg

Figure 2. The CASwell CAR-504 is a powerful security platform.

 

If you want a balance of performance and low power, CASwell’s recently refreshed CAR-4020 (Figure 3) is worth a look. This 1U appliance is available with a variety of single-socket configurations ranging from 2 to 4 cores through a choice of Intel® Xeon® processor E3-1200 v3 family, Intel® Core™ and Intel® Pentium® processors. All of these chips use the same Haswell microarchitecture as the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v3 family, making it easy to scale software across these platforms.

 

CAR-4020-s.jpg

Figure 3. The CASwell CAR-4020 refresh is a 1U appliance notable for its configurability.

 

Notable features of the CAR-4020 include up to 32GB of dual-channel DDR3 1600 memory, modularized IPMI, and integrated LCM controls. Like the NSA 7130, the CAR-4020 is configurable through PCIe modules.

 

Strong virtualization support

The challenge for developers is crafting software that can take full advantage of this flexible performance. Creating software that excels in virtualized environments – such as the increasingly common SDN/NFV architectures – is particularly important. Fortunately, the hardware is up to the task – according to one benchmark, the new Intel® Xeon® processors can handle up to 79% more virtual machines. And there is plenty of software support available as well, starting with the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK). This packet-processing library is optimized to provide bare-metal performance in a virtualized environment, ensuring maximum throughput.

 

brocade.png

Figure 4. The Data Plane development Kit (DPDK) provides a foundation for virtualized security functions. (Figure courtesy Brocade.)

 

Building on top of this foundation, Intel provides a variety of resources like the DPDK Accelerated Open vSwitch. This virtual switch takes full advantage of DPDK’s high-throughput packet switching, as well as its zero copy packet switching between switch and guest application. It also moves the switch from the Linux* kernel to user space to allow further enhancements.

 

Many software providers, including 6WIND and Wind River, are creating additional security functionality on top of DPDK. These offerings can significantly reduce development costs – and therefore, capex costs for the end customer.

 

Cryptography acceleration

DPDK can be used with Intel® QuickAssist Technology to further accelerate cryptography, data compression, and pattern matching – all critical tasks for network security. For example, Intel QuickAssist technology hardware accelerators can achieve up to 47Gbps IPsec throughput.

 

All of the CASwell and Nexcom appliances support Intel QuickAssist Technology through plug-in PCIe modules. These modules provide another degree of flexibility, as they allow you to choose the level of acceleration appropriate to your application. For example, the Nexcom appliance can be configured with:

 

  • NSK-CTCK, which achieves 47Gbps bulk cryptography with the Intel® Communications Chipset 8925 (Intel® DH8925 PCH).
  • NSK-CVCK, which offers 20Gbps bulk cryptography through the Intel® Communications Chipset 8920 (Intel® DH8920 PCH) along with 4 copper ports.
  • A variety of other modules that offer I/O but no accelerators

 

Flexible configurations

In addition to offering flexible processor and accelerator configurations, the CASwell and Nexcom appliances support a high degree of configurability through plug-in PCIe modules. In the case of CAR-5040, for example, you get 6 slots that support a mix of 3.5”/2.5” HDD/SSD, copper/fiber media, GbE/10GbE/40GbE, and hardware acceleration modules.The modular design supports diverse network adapters from copper to fiber, dual ports to 8 ports, non-Bypass or Bypass, and 1GbE to 40GbE options. Similarly, Nexcom offers two PCIe* Gen 3  x8 slots for a mix of interface and HDD modules to facilitate scaling in, scaling up, and scaling out of applications.

 

All of this flexibility can give you a big advantage in dealing with the rapidly changing needs of network security. And the best new is that the solutions I’ve highlighted here are only a small sample of what’s available. You can find more security appliances based on Intel’s Haswell microarchitecture in our Solutions Directory. Check it out to see which solution is right for you!

 

 

Learn More

Contact featured members:

 

Solutions in this blog:

 

Related topics:

 

CASwell is a division of Portwell, a Premier members of the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance. Nexcom and Wind River Systems are Associate members of the Alliance; 6WIND SA is an Affiliate member.

 

 

Kenton Williston

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

Extreme! That is my one-word summary for the Intel Develop Forum 2014 (IDF 2014). Whether you are into the extremely small or the extremely powerful, this show was the place to be. By far the biggest news of the show was the production release of the postage-stamp-size Intel® Edison Module. This platform has been covered extensively elsewhere (see PC Pro and CRN, for example), so I won’t go into the details here. But did you know that Intel gave the modules to attendees for free? How cool is that!

 

There was lots of other extremely tiny tech at the show, all centered around the Internet of Things (IoT). First up was the new Intel® Galileo Gen 2 Development Board. This Arduino-certified board has been upgraded with power of Ethernet (PoE) support, 12-bit pulse-width modulation (PWM), and a variety of other enhancements. As before, the board is powered by the Intel® Quark™ SoC X1000 for robust performance at low power.

 

There were tons of cool demos based on Intel Galileo. One of my favorites was from HCL, an Affiliate member of the Intel® Internet of Things Alliance (Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance). This demo used Intel Galileo as a smart building gateway that could be controlled with any Android* device – even a smart watch! To prove the point, HCL let me play with a watch and a tablet, showing how I could control the lights, air conditioning, and so on. The photo below doesn’t really do the demo justice – it was a lot of fun!

 

hcl.JPG

 

There were also several demos that used Intel Galileo boards as edge devices, and connected them together using the Intel® Gateway Solutions for the Internet of Things (Intel® Gateway Solutions for the IoT). I particularly liked the pipeline inspection demo that Intel built using the UTX-3115 gateway from Premier member Advantech. This demo showed how you could collect data from parts of a pipeline that are not connected to a network. Specifically, it uses an Intel Galileo-equipped drone to fly out to the remote location, gather sensor data, and then physically return the data back to the gateway for processing and action.  The video below shows how it all works…

 

 

Of course, the other big news at IDF was the announcement of the Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v3 series. The new chips implement the Haswell architecture and boast up to 12 cores per processor (up from 10), DDR4 memory (vs. DDR3), Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX) 2.02, and a variety of other enhancements. Intel reports that these changes boost performance by up to 3X. That’s quite an impressive number, and you may wonder what you can realistically expect for your applications. To get a better idea of the real-world performance, Intel put together a long list of benchmarks on various servers.

 

The tests from Associate member Super Micro are likely to be particularly useful. These include a variety of integer and floating-point tests, as well as energy efficiency results.  Among other things, these tests illustrate the benefits of Intel® AVX 2.02, which offers an up 2X per-cycle throughput improvement for vector operations. This upgrade is crucially important for signal- and image-processing applications like communications, radar, and medical imaging.

 

A large number of Alliance members announced hardware based on the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v3 series. In addition to Super Micro, I saw products from ADLINK, Artesyn, Radisys, Dell, HP, and many others. Most of these solutions are already listed in our Solutions Directory. I’ll highlight a few notable examples here.

 

Super Micro’s latest version of its MicroBlade platform certainly stands out for squeezing an incredible amount of compute power into a dense space. Its enclosure supports up to 196 dual-processor nodes per 42U rack – in other words, and incredible 4,704 cores per rack. (The system can go up 5,488 cores with enterprise-class 14-core processors vs. the embedded-class 12-core processors we have discussed so far in this blog.)

 

supermicro.png

 

I was also intrigued by the Radisys ATCA-4700. This ATCA blade packs in up to 24 cores of processing power, up to 512Gb of DDR4 memory via 8 VLP DIMM sockets, and dual- or quad-40GbE ports via backplane I/O. The back plane I/O is particularly notable, as it enables up to 160 Gbps to the fabric in an active-active configuration. This throughput is possible thanks to the board’s use of the new Intel® Ethernet Controller XL710 Family, which provides flexible 10/40 gigabit Ethernet connections – I plan take a closer look at this controller in an upcoming blog. As you might expect, Radisys says that the blade is suitable for applications that require high performance and high density I/O, including Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), packet processing, and video optimization.

 

radisys.png

 

 

Last but certainly not least, I was impressed by the activity around the Wind River Titanium Cloud Ecosystem. This new program validates hardware and software for use with Wind River’s Carrier Grade Communications Server, creating a set of interoperable solutions for network functions virtualization (NFV). Since its launch earlier this year, the program has been steadily gathering new participants. The big news at IDF was the addition of Kontron, which has just certified its Symkloud MS2910 platform. This high density 2RU, 21-inch deep modular platform is designed with 10G redundant switching for OpenFlow, and uniquely packages multiple Intel® processors with dedicated memory and storage. I’ll have more on this platform and its integration with Wind River software in an upcoming blog.

 

There was much, much more to see at the show. If you couldn’t make the event, I hope we’ll see you next time!

 

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Solutions in this blog:

 

Related topics:

 

ADLINK, Advantech, Dell OEM, and Kontron are Premier members of the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance. Artesyn Embedded Technologies, Hewlett-Packard, Radisys, and Super Micro Computer Inc. are Associate members of the Alliance.HCL Technologies Ltd is an Affiliate member.

 

Kenton Williston

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

The Internet of Things (IoT) promises a future where everything is online. But today, a lack of standards makes it difficult to connect. To learn how developers can solve this problem, I spoke with three industry experts:

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  • Jens Wiegand, CTO of Kontron, a Premier member of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance (Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance)
  • Ido Sarig, Vice President and General of IoT Solutions Group at Wind River, an Associate member of the Alliance
  • Tony Magallanez, OEM Systems Engineer at McAfee, an Associate member of the Alliance

 

Below are key excerpts from my interviews. For more information, see my full interviews with Kontron, Wind River, and McAfee.

 

What are the biggest challenges to deploying IoT solutions?


Jens Wiegand-sm.jpg

Jens Wiegand, Kontron: Currently the market is fragmented and characterized by incompatible systems and stovepiped solutions. IoT concepts like predictive maintenance, big data, and analytics require a holistic approach, but there is a lack of cooperation between hardware and software suppliers, service providers, and communication infrastructure vendors.

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Ido Sarig, Wind River: Much of the industry’s effort is focused on connecting legacy or “brownfield” devices that were not designed to be connected and even designed to make connectivity difficult in order to protect them from network-borne threats. Developers must figure out not only how to connect brownfield devices but how to safely connect them.

 

Another challenge is the lack of a single standard for connecting to networks. Many brownfield devices use proprietary protocols and will require gateways to connect with IP-based networks. And if they are already IP-based, they may be using a wide variety of protocols. Developers will need to be able to build gateways that support virtually any communication protocol.

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Tony Magallanez, McAfee: The major problem we see is the security of these devices. These devices tend to be not manned but often handle personally identifiable information. The question is how you protect the data both while it’s on the system and while it’s being transmitted between devices.

How can developers address these issues? In particular, how do standards and multi-vendor solutions help?

 

Jens Wiegand, Kontron: Developers should strive to build on solutions that adhere to industry standards on all levels, from communications protocols to cloud connectors. In particular, they should seek standards that are supported by multiple industry leaders in form of application-ready concepts. Such standards can reduce complexity and risk, and provide a time to market advantage.

 

Ido Sarig, Wind River: Delivering secure and reliable IoT solutions requires an end-to-end view that encompasses the endpoint device, the connectivity layer, the gateway, and the application running in the cloud. For example, security challenges need to be factored in at every level. Virtually every known type of hardware and software security measure comes into play in IoT. Secure booting at the device level, access control and authentication, application whitelisting, and firewalls and intrusion prevention systems are just some of the tools at hand to respond to security threats.

 

The benefits of the IoT have been thus far constrained by the complexity of issues like this. As standards coalesce, market needs and business cases become more sharply defined, and operators and device manufacturers are freed to focus on the true value they can deliver: innovative new services and applications.

 

What role do you see for standards bodies like the new Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC)?

 

Jens Wiegand, Kontron: The IIC as well as Industry 4.0 are good examples where a consortium of industry leaders drives towards a common goal: enabling business value for end customers by implementing standards and by developing the ecosystem to enable solutions.

 

Ido Sarig, Wind River: Organizations such as the IIC bring together expertise and the tools to bring smart connectivity, high security, and manageability to the market. These consortia will help expedite the realization of the IoT through specialized skills and expertise required to build intelligent devices which typically reside outside the core competency of operators and device manufacturers.

 

Tony Magallanez, McAfee: Most people understand that they need security, but in many cases they lack expertise –and in far too many cases they end up doing nothing if they don’t have to. That’s where I see consortiums or standards-based organizations driving security.

 

Talking specifically about IIC, its recommendations are likely to overlap with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC CIP) recommendations. But one of the great things about these consortiums is that they go further than the regulations require. For example, they may recommend things like application whitelisting. In the regulatory bodies, whitelisting is still a bit of an outlying technology. So these standards bodies can help developers not only achieve compliance but also true security.

 

So how do you comply with these regulations? Typically, OEMs or ODMS have taken a buy or build mentality. However, it’s very difficult to build your own security infrastructure. So it’s wise to get help from vendors who are experts in security, and ask these security solution vendors to make sure the systems are secure.

 

What role do you see for ecosystems like the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance?

 

Jens Wiegand, Kontron: The Alliance is a great example of a large scale ecosystem that enables rapid deployment with IoT solutions that are pre-integrated, verified, and validated by system integrators and solution providers like Kontron. The benefits for our customers are flexibility, choice, velocity, and the ability to focus on the development of innovative applications with less risk and pain.

 

Tony Magallanez, McAfee: Alliance members will help provide the components to meet regulatory recommendations or requirements. They will give you the building blocks to get you to compliance and beyond. Without these groups, you will have different OEMs/ODMs and device owners all struggling to define what the security should look like. Not being security experts, they can miss out on some of the security opportunities.

 

How you are using standards and ecosystem collaboration to create IoT solutions?

 

Ido Sarig, Wind River: As part of Intel IoT Group, Wind River is collaborating with Intel on solutions like the Intel® Gateway Solutions for the Internet of Things (Intel® Gateway Solutions for the IoT), which serves as the software backbone for intelligent gateways. It is a complete software development environment that provides pre-integrated and fully tested ready-to-use components to secure, manage, and connect intelligent gateways.

 

Tony Magallanez, McAfee: What we are doing with the Intel Gateway Solutions for the IoT is providing a platform that will allow OEMs/ODMs to establish a base level of security and functionality in the device without having to do a lot of the development on their own. In addition, the hardware that’s built in gives them a starting point that is easier than taking a huge SKU sheet and picking out the components individually.

 

Jens Wiegand, Kontron: The Intel Gateway Solutions for the IoT is a good example of how Kontron builds on industry standards and capitalizes on the work of the Alliance by leveraging platform concepts to create IoT-enabled hardware and software stacks. [Editor’s note: Kontron recently announced the Intel® Gateway Solutions for the IoT-based KBox A-201 mini.] But even more, we strive to develop standards further, grow the ecosystem, and offer more value to our customers with IoT solutions that enhance the reach of our application-ready platforms. We see solution- and application-readiness as well as software expertise as key differentiators and innovation enablers.

 

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Kontron is a Premier member of the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance. McAfee and Wind River Systems are Associate members of the Alliance.

 

Kenton Williston

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

The Internet of Things (IoT) promises a future where everything is online. But today, a lack of standards makes it difficult to connect. To learn how developers can solve this problem, I spoke with Jens Wiegand, CTO of Kontron, a Premier member of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance (Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance).

 

Below are key excerpts from my interview. For more on this topic, see my interviews with Wind River and McAfee.

 

What are the biggest challenges to deploying IoT solutions?

 

Jens Wiegand, Kontron: Currently the market is fragmented and characterized by incompatible systems and stovepiped solutions. IoT concepts like predictive maintenance, big data, and analytics require a holistic approach, but there is a lack of cooperation between hardware and software suppliers, service providers, and communication infrastructure vendors.

 

How can developers address these issues? In particular, how do standards and multi-vendor solutions help?

 

Developers should strive to build on solutions that adhere to industry standards on all levels, from communications protocols to cloud connectors. In particular, they should seek standards that are supported by multiple industry leaders in form of application-ready concepts. Such standards can reduce complexity and risk, and provide a time to market advantage.

 

What role do you see for standards bodies like the new Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC)?

 

The IIC as well as Industry 4.0 are good examples where a consortium of industry leaders drives towards a common goal: enabling business value for end customers by implementing standards and by developing the ecosystem to enable solutions.

 

What role do you see for ecosystems like the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance?

 

The Alliance is a great example of a large scale ecosystem that enables rapid deployment with IoT solutions that are pre-integrated, verified, and validated by system integrators and solution providers like Kontron. The benefits for our customers are flexibility, choice, velocity, and the ability to focus on the development of innovative applications with less risk and pain.

 

How you are using standards and ecosystem collaboration to create IoT solutions?

 

The Intel® Gateway Solutions for the Internet of Things (Intel® Gateway Solutions for the IoT) is a good example of how Kontron builds on industry standards and capitalizes on the work of the Alliance by leveraging platform concepts to create IoT-enabled hardware and software stacks.  [Editor’s note: Kontron recently announced the Intel® Gateway Solutions for the IoT-based KBox A-201 mini.] But even more, we strive to develop standards further, grow the ecosystem, and offer more value to our customers with IoT solutions that enhance the reach of our application-ready platforms. We see solution- and application-readiness as well as software expertise as key differentiators and innovation enablers.

 

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Kontron is a Premier member of the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance

 

Kenton Williston

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

The Internet of Things (IoT) promises a future where everything is online. But today, a lack of standards makes it difficult to connect. To learn how developers can solve this problem, I spoke with Ido Sarig, Vice President and General of IoT Solutions Group at Wind River, an Associate member of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance (Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance).

 

Below are key excerpts from my interview. For more on this topic, see my interviews with Kontron and McAfee.

 

What are the biggest challenges to deploying IoT solutions?

 

We summarize the biggest IoT deployment challenges into three categories, connectivity, manageability and security. Today, much of the industry’s effort is focused on connecting legacy or “brownfield” devices that were not designed to be connected and even designed to make connectivity difficult in order to protect them from network-borne threats. Developers must figure out not only how to connect brownfield devices but how to safely connect them. Security is arguably the overriding issue in the IoT, inseparable from performance and reliability. The number of network-based attacks on embedded devices that control critical infrastructure is increasing at an alarming rate, as is the attacks’ sophistication.

 

Another challenge is the lack of a single standard for connecting to networks. Many brownfield devices use proprietary protocols and will require gateways to connect with IP-based networks. And if they are already IP-based, they may be using a wide variety of protocols. Developers will need to be able to build gateways that support virtually any communication protocol.

 

The next challenge is how to manage the device remotely over time. The device needs to be provisioned securely with software updates as they become available. When a device is not performing properly, users need to be alerted and be able to diagnose the problems remotely without the risk of disruption or downtime.

 

How can developers address these issues? In particular, how do standards and multi-vendor solutions help?

 

Delivering secure and reliable IoT solutions requires an end-to-end view that encompasses the endpoint device, the connectivity layer, the gateway, and the application running in the cloud. For example, security challenges need to be factored in at every level. Virtually every known type of hardware and software security measure comes into play in IoT. Secure booting at the device level, access control and authentication, application whitelisting, and firewalls and intrusion prevention systems are just some of the tools at hand to respond to security threats.

 

The benefits of the IoT have been thus far constrained by the complexity of issues like this. As standards coalesce, market needs and business cases become more sharply defined, and operators and device manufacturers are freed to focus on the true value they can deliver: innovative new services and applications.

 

What role do you see for standards bodies like the new Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC)?

 

Organizations such as the IIC bring together expertise and the tools to bring smart connectivity, high security, and manageability to the market. These consortia will help expedite the realization of the IoT through specialized skills and expertise required to build intelligent devices which typically reside outside the core competency of operators and device manufacturers.

 

What role do you see for ecosystems like the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance?

 

In order to reach its full potential, the Internet of Things requires a robust and collaborative ecosystem to be in place. Ecosystems like the Intel IoT Solutions Alliance bring together the hardware, software, firmware, tools, and systems integration players that are all necessary to advance the IoT.

 

How you are using standards and ecosystem collaboration to create IoT solutions?

 

The IoT market is fragmented and this fragmentation stifles widespread adoption. Many different vertical industries are creating applications that tend to have little overlap, making it difficult to scale IoT solutions. There are also complexity and customization requirements. The technologies involved in creating intelligent systems are extremely broad and complex. Most solutions do not provide a seamless end-to-end experience between the business backbone and the system or device domain, and thus must be customized to some degree.

 

Standards in technology or application deployment are evolving slowly. Much development is taking place in isolation. The core components of IoT architectures have often been implemented in an ad-hoc fashion, using multiple competing standards in development and deployment. Few operators or device manufacturers can create IoT-based solutions without significant assistance from partners, who may as yet be outside of their current ecosystem.

 

As part of Intel IoT Group, Wind River is collaborating with Intel on IoT solutions like the Intel® Gateway Solutions for the Internet of Things (Intel® Gateway Solutions for the IoT), which includes Wind River* Intelligent Device Platform XT.  Based on our industry-leading operating systems and development tools, Wind River Intelligent Device Platform XT serves as the software backbone for intelligent gateways.  It is a complete software development environment that provides pre-integrated and fully tested ready-to-use components to secure, manage, and connect intelligent gateways.  Earlier this year, we also introduced the next-generation version of our Wind River* VxWorks real-time operating system (RTOS), re-architected into a modular and scalable platform to address the new market opportunities created by the IoT. VxWorks is the first major commercial RTOS to be enabled on the Intel® QuarkTM SoC X1000.

 

 

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Wind River Systems is an Associate member of the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance.

 

Kenton Williston

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

The Internet of Things (IoT) promises a future where everything is online. But today, a lack of standards makes it difficult to connect. To learn how developers can solve this problem, I spoke with Tony Magallanez, OEM Systems Engineer at McAfee, an Associate member of the Intel® Internet of Things Alliance (Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance).

 

Below are key excerpts from my interview. For more on this topic, see my interviews with Wind River and McAfee.

 

What are the biggest challenges to deploying Internet of Things (IoT) solutions?

 

The major problem we see is the security of these devices. These devices tend to be not manned but often handle personally identifiable information. For example, a device in a hospital – like an imaging device – will transmit personally identifiable information to the back-end system to keep track of things like device machine management and billing.  The question is how you protect the data both while it’s on the system and while it’s being transmitted between devices.

 

How can developers address these issues? In particular, how do standards and multi-vendor solutions help?

 

Most people understand that they need security, but in many cases they lack expertise –and in far too many cases they end up doing nothing if they don’t have to. That’s where I see consortiums or standards-based organizations driving security. In particular, standards that have enforcement regulations tend to drive the security standards in a specific direction. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a good example. Because PCI can enforce the standard though penalties, fees, and denial of service to vendors who do not comply, they can drive compliance.

 

Depending on the industry, there are a number of regulatory bodies that define security. In the medical space, devices often have to comply with FDA certifications and HIPPA, for example. In the financial space, Sarbanes-Oxley and a number of other regulatory bodies define security and compliance. In industrial control there are dozens of regulatory rules that systems have to comply with. There's not just one overarching definition of what security should look like, there are dozens of opposing views of what security should look like.

 

So how do you comply with these regulations? Typically, OEMs or ODMS have taken a buy or build mentality. However, it’s very difficult to build your own security infrastructure. So it’s wise to get help from vendors who are experts in security, and ask these security solution vendors to make sure the systems are secure.

 

What role do you see for standards bodies like the new Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC)?

 

Talking specifically about IIC, its recommendations are likely to overlap with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC CIP) recommendations. But one of the great things about these consortiums is that they go further than the regulations require. For example, they may recommend things like application whitelisting. In the regulatory bodies, whitelisting is still a bit of an outlying technology. So these standards bodies can help developers not only achieve compliance but also true security.

 

What role do you see for ecosystems like the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance?

 

Alliance members will help provide the components to meet regulatory recommendations or requirements. They will give you the building blocks to get you to compliance and beyond. Without these groups, you will have different OEMs/ODMs and device owners all struggling to define what the security should look like. Not being security experts, they can miss out on some of the security opportunities.

 

How you are using standards and ecosystem collaboration to create IoT solutions?

 

The Intel® Gateway Solutions for the Internet of Things (Intel® Gateway Solutions for the IoT) is designed to be a development gateway. It is designed to allow ODMs to be able to create a device that will fit in their given space. There is nothing particularly geared towards one industry or another, though it fits well in the industrial control space because there are models that are models that are heat tolerant, rack ready, and things of that nature.

 

What we are doing with the Intel® Gateway Solutions for the IoT is providing a platform that will allow OEMs/ODMs to establish a base level of security and functionality in the device without having to do a lot of the development on their own. In addition, the hardware that’s built in gives them a starting point that is easier than taking a huge SKU sheet and picking out the components individually.

 

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McAfee is an Associate member of the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance.

 

Kenton Williston

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

Smart cameras are popular with manufacturers who need low-cost, easy-to deploy automated inspection systems. By integrating lenses, sensors, processors, and software, smart cameras are considerably simpler and more compact than traditional vision systems. They can also offer greater reliability than PC-based systems thank to their rugged designs and minimized components.

 

However, smart cameras also have disadvantages. Their small size limits thermal dissipation and processing power. Thus, smart cameras are often restricted to one simple task like counting or barcode scanning. In addition, their optical systems are typically insufficient for high-speed, high-precision processing. Flexibility is also an issue: many smart cameras offer minimal programmability and I/O. These factors have significantly constrained the applications for smart cameras.

 

For more demanding applications, manufacturers have turned to embedded vision systems. These systems feature a high-performance industrial PC running a standard operating system, enabling complex image processing and an open programming model. Their versatile I/O allows for multiple high-performance cameras and flexible connection with other factory devices.

 

However, these features are overkill for many applications. This has created a frustrating gap between the low-cost but limited capabilities of smart cameras and the more advanced but complex and costly embedded vision systems. Hence the obvious question: Is possible to create a solution that combines the best aspects of smart cameras and embedded vision systems?

 

The new ADLINK NEON-1040/1020 (Figure 1) answers this question with a definitive “yes.” These smart cameras combines a 1.9 GHz quad core Intel® Atom™ processor, a 1” global shutter sensor 4 MP/60 fps in the NEON-1040 and 2 MP/120 fps in the NEON-1020 and rich software and I/O support. These features give the NEON-1040/1020 capabilities far beyond those of a typical smart camera while maintaining the simple, compact design that makes these cameras so popular. ADLINK has written an excellent white paper explaining how the cameras work; I'll highlight a few key details here.

 

NEON-1040_simg_en_1.jpg

Figure 1. The ADLINK NEON-1040/1020 brings new levels of performance to smart cameras.

 

The key innovation in the NEON-1040/1020 is their use of the  Intel® Atom™ processor E3845. This quad-core processor offers far more performance than the single-core processors found in most smart cameras, while maintaining a low power consumption of 10 watts. This leap in processing power enables sophisticated image processing as well as robust multi-tasking.

 

The Intel® processor also allows the NEON-1040/1020 to offer full PC functionality, with support for 64-bit Microsoft* Windows* 7 embedded and Ubuntu Linux*. This open development environment facilities software porting from PC-based vision platforms, and simplifies integration with motion controllers and other factory devices. In addition, the cameras support a wide range of imaging software, including GeniCAM and GenTL support for image acquisition, STEMMER Common Vision Blox and MVTec HALCON middleware, and Open CV and Open CL programming.

 

The high-performance processor is matched by a high-performance optical system. Specifically, the cameras use 1” monochrome sensors (4 MP/60 fps or 2 MP/120 fps) with a global shutter. As illustrated in Figure 2, the global shutter is critical for high-speed imaging. Conventional smart cameras often use a rolling shutter, which collects sensor data line by line. This approach can distort fast-moving objects, and thereby limit inspection speeds. In contrast, a global shutter collects all pixel data from the sensor at once, enabling accurate high-speed imaging.

 

http://www.adlinktech.com/Vision/img/NEON-1040_Global-shutter.jpg

 

Figure 2. Rolling shutters distort fast-moving objects; global shutters do not.

 

The main drawback to global shutters is that they require considerably more processing power than rolling shutters. In the past, smart cameras simply did not have enough performance to handle this workload. Today, the high-performance Intel Atom processors used in the NEON-1040/1020, allow these small form factor smart cameras to handle a global shutter.

 

To add even more performance, the processor is supported by an FPGA coprocessor that accelerates LUT (look up table), ROI (region of interest) and shading correction. This coprocessor significantly reduces CPU loading and enables complex image acquisition at high speeds.

 

Looking beyond the core camera features, the NEON-1040/1020 integrates a great deal of functionality that would have previously required a full embedded vision system. Most notably, the NEON-1040/1020 supports:

 

  • A gigabit Ethernet (GigE) Vision 1 slave camera for two-camera applications
  • Built-in PWM lighting control
  • VGA output for easy connection with HMI or monitors
  • 4x isolated inputs, 4x isolated outputs, USB 2.0 port, and RS-232 ports for connection with other factory systems such as motion controllers

 

As shown in Figure 3, these features enable the NEON-1040/1020 to take on many responsibilities that previously required separate hardware, significantly shrinking the system footprint and bill of materials (BOM). The reduced component count also simplifies maintenance and enhances reliability.


vision_system_vs_smart_camera.GIF

Figure 3. ADLINK’s solution cuts system footprint and bill of materials (BOM)

 

All in all, the ADLINK NEON-1040/1020 represents an important new option for developers creating mid-range vision systems. The cameras nicely fill the gap between smart cameras and embedded vision systems. They minimize system size and complexity while offering high performance and programmability. In my opinion, these cameras will be particularly appealing to developers who need extra features like a second camera or a built-in HMI. For these design scenarios, the NEON-1040/1020 may be able to eliminate a costly vision system, and are worth a closer look.

 

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ADLINK is a Premier member of the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance.

 

Kenton Williston

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

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter:  ad@kentonwilliston

Defense budget negotiations begin next week in the US House of Representatives, and the ongoing sequestration is once again driving deep cuts across the military – including major cuts to technology spending. These harsh cuts are drawing loud criticism from across the political spectrum, but few observers expect the situation to change soon. And the situation in the US is hardly unique. Global military budgets are also under fire, with weak economies and austerity measures putting pressure on spending worldwide.

 

Despite these tight budgets, armed forces worldwide are still need advanced technology to fulfill their missions. This creates a tough challenge for designers, who are being asked to create cutting-edge solutions on a shoestring budget. To deal with this new reality, engineers need to carefully optimize their development processes. Key areas to consider include commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and portable software – two approaches that can cut costs not only today but in the future.

 

Deployment-Ready Systems

Let’s start with a look at the hardware. COTS boards have already gained widespread popularity, but I think it is worth considering a move beyond boards to deployment-ready systems. These systems can provide major schedule and risk benefits by pre-integrating COTS boards, storage, power supplies, and other components. To illustrate this point, look at the testing requirements for a conventional system. Qualification can require 20-25 individual tests, each of which can cost up to $3,000 USD and last up to three days – a major undertaking, to say the least.

 

Deployment-ready systems avoid much of this testing, and can minimize other integration, optimization, and qualification burdens. What’s more, you don’t have to compromise technical specs to take get these benefits. For example, the CRS 48.5 from GE Intelligent Platforms is available with the latest 4th generation Intel® Core processor product family, which provides cutting-edge performance and power efficiency. Check out GE’s COTS Rugged Systems page for more info on this and other COTS systems. And to see how pre-integrated systems can be deployed in UAV applications, I recommend ADLINK’s recent article.

 

3736image.jpg

Figure 1. The GE Intelligent Platforms CRS 48.5 is built on cutting-edge tech.

 

Portable Software

Of course, hardware design is only part of the development process. Software development presents its own challenges, particularly in high-performance applications like signal and sensor processing. These applications typically require multi-processor architectures and intense performance optimization – two demands that can strain development budgets and timelines. Fortunately, COTS development tools and middleware can meet the challenge.

 

One good example here is the recently-upgraded Advanced Multiprocessor Integrated Software (AXIS) development environment from GE Intelligent Platforms. The tool set includes a variety of features that aid multi-processor development, such a GUI for visualizing and tuning processes across multi-threaded, multi-core, and multi-node platforms. AXIS 6.0 adds support for the 4th generation Intel Core processor and support for the Open MPI Message Passing Interface (MPI).

 

The Open MPI support is particularly noteworthy because it enhances some of the key benefits of COTS hardware, namely better code re-use and portability. Because it is a widely accepted standard, Open MPI-based software can be more readily re-used on new hardware and ported across different vendors’ hardware. For example, Mecury System’s tools also support Open MPI.

 

Similar benefits are available from other widely-used middleware like Gedae* and Data-Distribution Service for Real-Time Systems (DDS) – for more on this and related development topics, I recommend reading the Curtiss-Wright paper Five Budget-Busting Cost Drivers that Threaten Sensor Processing System Design.

 

Optimized Libraries

GE’s upgraded tools also include the latest version of AXISLib, a set of optimized DSP and math libraries. These libraries recently added support for the Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 (Intel® AVX 2.0), providing an up to 2X boost in signal processing performance. It is hard to overstate the value of libraries like AXISLib. DSP code optimization is one of the most challenging tasks a programmer can face. Using a math library lets you avoid the optimization time sink and all the headaches that go with it.

 

We’ve written a lot about Intel AVX 2.0 and the libraries that support it. But if you missed our earlier comments, a good place to start is the Intel AVX 2.0 primer written by N. A. Software. As illustrated in Figure 2, this article lays out the details of the architecture and the performance improvements you can expect. For a few more details and a quick look at the Curtiss-Wright Continuum Vector libraries, see our Intel AVX 2.0 imaging blog.

 

avx.png

Figure 2. Intel® AVX 2.0 provides up to 2X faster performance.

 

The hardware, tools, and libraries I’ve described here are only a few of the options available from the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance. From modular components to market-ready systems, Intel and the 250+ global member companies of the Alliance provide scalable, interoperable solutions that accelerate deployment of intelligent devices and end-to-end analytics. Close collaboration with Intel and each other enables Alliance members to innovate with the latest technologies, helping developers deliver first-in-market solutions.

 

You can find more of the Alliance’s mil/aero products in our Solutions Directory. And of course you can browse this community for more insights on designing advanced solutions on a tight budget. Let me know if there is a topic you’d like to see us address!

 

 

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ADLINK is a Premier member of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance. GE Intelligent Platforms is an Associate member of the Alliance. Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions, Gedae, Inc., and Mercury Systems, Inc. are General members.

 

 

Kenton Williston

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

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter:  @kentonwilliston

The annual Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco starts September 10, but Intel is already kicking off the action on Twitter – look for the #IDF13 hashtag.

 

You can also get a sneak peak over at the embedded@Intel blog, which promises prizes for developers who stop by the Intelligent Systems Zone. Check out embedded@Intel to learn more, and make sure you register to attend!

 

We will also be covering key events from the show here at the Intel® Embedded Community. Stay tuned for more!

 

Kenton Williston

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

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

This week at a customer event co-located with Interop, Dell and Intel announced that Dell OEM Solutions is now a Premier member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. Troy Smith, Director of Intel® Intelligent Systems, welcomed the company to its new role, saying “As a member of the Alliance, Dell OEM has been a valuable partner in supporting Intel’s efforts to enable smart, connected systems. We are excited to promote Dell OEM to our highest level of membership and look forward to growing our collaboration with them.”

 

As a Premier member, Dell now has privileged opportunities to work with Intel through executive, architectural, joint marketing, and sales relationships. In addition, Dell OEM gains the highest level of access to Intel design and development expertise, helping align its technical roadmaps and programs with Intel’s. By optimizing the entire development lifecycle of Intel® architecture-based products, Dell OEM offers reduced risk and lower development costs, improved access to leading-edge solutions, and faster time to market.

 

Intel and Alliance members like Dell OEM are focused on three key areas:

 

  • Systems: Billions of devices are connecting to the Internet, each other and the cloud, transforming the industry from fixed function and isolated embedded systems to a new category of intelligent systems. These systems are secure, connected, managed and demand greater performance.
  • Experiences: Intel and the Alliance view 2013 as the year of accelerated transition to intelligent systems. As connectivity becomes even more pervasive, intelligent systems will continue to demand more performance to bring richer experiences and become more fundamental to our daily lives.
  • Data: Intel and Alliance members are helping to simplify the deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) to enable customers to shift investment from interoperability to extracting greater value from their data.

 

This three-pronged approach will lead to lower development costs, easier integration, and greater ability to enable innovative services. The end goal is an easier, faster path to making IoT and Big Data a reality.

 

Dell OEM is a division of Dell that specializes in helping global customers accelerate their time to profit with customizable tier-1 OEM technologies developed by their dedicated team of experts. Dell supports OEMs who build a wide array of their own hardware-based products and need high-quality, stable and well-engineered technology to run their solutions. Dell OEM markets to a wide range of industries, including aerospace and defense, telecommunications, healthcare, industrial, retail, and consumer interaction. Customers trust Dell OEM to deliver world-class hardware and services to serve as the backbone of their solution.

 

Dell OEM was most recently an Associate member of the Alliance. The Alliance is made up of four tiers, with the highest being “Premier,” reflecting the closest alignment with Intel. From modular components to market-ready systems, Intel and the 250+ Member companies of the Alliance provide the performance, connectivity, manageability and security developers need to create smart, connected systems. There are four Premiers today, including Dell OEM.

 

This is an exciting and pivotal time for the industry. Watch this space, as well as Alliance publications, particularly the Embedded Innovator magazine and newsletter series, for all the great things to unfold from this latest addition to the Premier tier of the Alliance.


Kenton Williston

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

Editor-In-Chief Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

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.

 

idp-stack-diagram-large.jpg

 

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.

 

product-rackmount-RMS220-back.jpg

 

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.

 

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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

As the embedded systems grow increasingly interconnected, fragmentation is becoming a major problem. Consider a service station with pumps, point-of-sale (POS) systems, digital signage, and surveillance cameras. If each system uses a unique platform—which is often the case—connecting everything to the cloud can be a major headache. Now expand the problem to an entire chain of stations, which have installed incompatible systems at different points in time. Integrating all of these systems can be nigh-impossible.

 

The new Intel® Intelligent Systems Framework solves the problem with a set of interoperable solutions that can scale across applications. The framework brings together hardware, OSs, and software for connectivity, security, manageability. The new approach promises to lower deployment costs, ease integration, and enable innovative services. The end goal is an easier, faster path to making buzzwords like Machine to Machine (M2M), Internet of Things (IoT), and Big Data a reality.

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(Click to enlarge)

 

So what is the Intel Intelligent Systems Framework? One way to think of it is a set of recipes for connected devices. Intel has specified key ingredients than can be flexibly combined, including:

 

  • Processor platforms (including Intel® Atom™, Intel® Core™ and Intel® Xeon® )and related tech like Intel® vPro and Intel® TXT, as well as a range of I/O for flexible communications
  • OSs including Microsoft* Windows*, Wind River* Linux*, and Wind River* VxWorks*
  • Security including McAfee Embedded Control and McAfee Deep Defender
  • Remote manageability capabilities that support third-party management consoles

 

In addition to identifying the key functionality, Intel is ensuring the compatibility of compliant solutions. It has already certified systems from members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance including Advantech, Dell, Kontron, Portwell, and Wind River.

 

In addition to these key ingredients, Intel is working with system vendors, ISVs, and system integrators to create cloud-to-device services that build on the framework. Wind River and Digi International have already announced solutions, and additional solutions are scheduled to launch over the coming months from Arrow, Avnet, Axeda, and WebHouse. Intel’s vision is to enable rapid deployment across a wide range of industries including retail, smart grids, medical, communications, transportation, and manufacturing.

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(Click to enlarge)

 

Earlier today I spoke to Adam Burns, Director of Marketing for the Intelligent Systems Framework. Adam pointed out that deployment is typically 5X the cost of the systems itself. Reducing deployment costs can launch you on a virtuous cycle of continuous innovation. The way Adam sees it, the reduced costs free up budget to implement new, innovative features—and these new features can generate extra revenue for even more innovation. What’s more, building on the Intel Intelligent Systems Framework saves you from reinventing the wheel on every project, leaving more time to focus on new things.

 

Returning to the service station example, Adam noted the benefits that accrue from connecting everything together. When the pump is connected to inventory data, you can make sure it is advertising items that are actually in stock. And when you bring the POS data into the loop, you can see how successful the pump ads were in driving additional sales.

 

Adam pointed out three practical ways the service station could benefit from the Intelligent Systems Framework:

 

  • If a device is connected, it needs to be secured. Integrating multiple security solutions into the backend will drive up costs—it is better to have a unified solution across the board.
  • Having universal security and manageability features drives down total cost of ownership (TCO). For example, service calls are expensive, but the remote manageability in Intel® vPro has a small marginal cost. That gives the technology a very quick return on investment (ROI).
  • Being able to quickly deploy the basic technology allows developers to focus on new services and opportunities. For example, the service station could add weather data to its pump adds so the pump would promote umbrellas during storms and sunglasses when the skies cleared.

 

The launch of the Intelligent Systems Framework is clearly a significant move for Intel and its partners in the Alliance. I expect that we will be hearing a lot more about this framework in the coming months, and I look forward to learning more as the story unfolds.

 

interoperability.pngTo learn more about building interoperable, standards-based solutions, visit intel.com/go/embedded-interoperability

 

Advantech, Kontron, and Portwell are Premier members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. Dell 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

Rugged design is a key requirement for many embedded applications, including industrial automation, mil/aero, and energy. The basic techniques for ruggedization – such as fanless design and minimized component counts – are well understood, but these techniques often conflict with other requirements such as high performance, flexibility, and short time-to-market. For example, it can be difficult to achieve high performance without using power-hungry parts that require fans to keep cool. Similarly, flexibility and short time-to-market are easiest to achieve with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) parts, but COTS designs typically have high component counts than custom designs.

 

Fortunately, the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance can help you get around these conflicting requirements. The 200-plus members of the Alliance collaborate closely with Intel to create hardware, software, tools, and services to help you speed rugged designs to market. These include a wide range of solutions designed around the latest Intel® architecture (IA) processors, which offer a host of features that benefit rugged designs.  Let’s briefly review these new features and then look at some application examples.

 

New Processors

 

First up, the new 3rd-generation Intel® Core™ processors (formerly codenamed “Ivy Bridge”) are the first to use Intel’s 22 nm fabrication process, which provides up to 20% better performance in the same thermal envelope as the previous generation, making it easier to achieve your performance goals in a fanless design. What’s more, graphics engine has been upgraded to provide an up to 2X boost in 3D performance and support for 3 displays – features that can eliminate the need for a graphics card, thus lowering system power and component counts. To dive deeper, check out my Intel™ Core® processor blog.

 

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Figure 1. The latest Intel Core processors boast significant performance improvements. Note that the data shown here is for a PC-oriented part; performance for embedded parts will differ somewhat.

 

The new Intel® Atom™ processor N200 and D2000 series (formerly codenamed “Cedar Trail”) are similarly upgraded with up to 4X the 3D graphics performance of their predecessors along with 1080p hardware video decode. The new parts also gain major improvements in performance-per-watt – for more details, I recommend my recent Intel Atom processor blog.

 

Example Applications

 

These new processors go a long way towards addressing concerns around performance, power, and component counts, but what about flexibility and time-to-market? That’s where the Alliance comes in. Alliance solutions offer a compelling balance of application-specific optimization and flexibility to help you innovate. In industrial automation, for example, Alliance members offer specialized systems designed for hazardous locations like oil rigs or chemical processing plants. These systems greatly reduce hardware design complexity while retaining the software-design flexibility inherent to Intel® architecture. For example, developers can use the multi-core performance of Intel Core processors to replace real-time hardware with software.

 

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Figure 2. MEN Mikro’s RC1 family of rugged systems is a good example of highly ruggedized equipment

 

Similar concepts apply to energy applications such as smart grids and building automation. Whether you are trying to securing smart grid devices or build home energy management systems, Alliance solutions can help you deliver advanced features on a short timeline. The security and manageability features of IA processors are particularly useful for these applications, and can help give you a leg up over your competitors. To learn more, check out my recent smart grid blog.

 

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Figure 3. The Norco PPC-3112 is well suited to wind power monitoring.

 

In the mil/aero market, the Alliance supports for a wide range of applications including sensing and analytics such as radar, sonar, and video surveillance.  Many of these solutions are designed to address the size, weight, and power (SWaP) concerns that have become so prominent in mil/aero. Virtualization is one key element of addressing this concern – and virtualization is also key to providing military-grade security. To see one example of how the Alliance is bringing virtualization to the battlefield, check out the Radisys white paper Leveraging Virtualization in Aerospace & Defense Applications.

 

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Figure 4. Virtualization allows applications with different security levels to run on the same platform.

 

The links I’ve noted here show just a few examples of the solutions available from the Alliance. To learn more about the Alliance and its solutions, see intel.com/go/embeddedalliance

 

Radisys is a Premier members of the Intel® Embedded Alliance. Norco is and Associate and MEN Mikro is an Affiliate member of the Alliance.

 

Kenton Williston

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

Editor-In-Chief Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

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