For the most senior of us who were introduced into the weird techno fun culture of Douglas Adams (the Hitch Hickers Guide to the Galaxy), this expression will bring back some memories of weird influence of the technology on our daily life. When the PC-AT was introduced in 1981 in New York, who could even imagine that, despite the rate of evolution in our industry, this architecture would still prevail in most deployed computers today and that the serial line console registers would still be accessed @0x3F8 to 0x3FF well within this century! This illustrates the virtues of an open and standard architecture; the PC. However, in the embedded world, which embraced this architecture too, the use case of a personal computer is less and less relevant. No one is sitting in front of the computer, or even interacting with it. Furthermore, a lot of the nice features of a PC can become a problem in the Internet of Things. On our PC, we like to plug any new gizmo in any available connector and expect the system to recognize it and interact. In the embedded world, our customers want to prevent modification to the deployed equipment, Plug and Play is not a friend, you need to change this. On the PC, regular updates of the software have become the norm, especially since these little computers are continuously connected to the Internet. Updating deployed equipment something our customers want to be able to control with a fine granularity. On a PC, one is used to see the performance degrade over time because of cluttered storage or dust in the fans, this is not tolerable in security and safety applications where real-time is key and reliable operation is the norm. Kontron is continuously required to change the regular PC into something more solid, more customized, to match the Transportation, Automation, Military and Communication markets requirements to secure their deployments. This is why Kontron has developed special skills and technologies which allow our product to differentiate in computer health management, fast recovery, zero maintenance and connectivity. Taking care of our markets needs for stability and longevity of their computing technology goes very far, like selecting certain kind of silicon parts better suited to fulfill this goal. The tremendous acceleration of the deployment of embedded computers we are seeing now will create even more challenges here. Our customers expect to deploy 10, 100 or 1000 more computers than in the previous decade, but they will not survive the same increase in the maintenance and service costs. Deploying more Personal Computers in various shapes and skins will simply have too much impact on their bottom line. This is why, even though a vast majority of Kontron product is based on x86 technology, our products have evolved beyond being just a PC in different shapes. With all the small improvements that we have added to our products to ease their deployment. In a nutshell, check for the details beyond the CPU chip or the price tag, what we design is now becoming ‘almost entirely unlike a PC’.
Almost entirely unlike a PC
| 28. Feb 2014