CEO S&T AG Hannes Niederhauser on the technology trends of the year  

 

"Digitalization and innovations will continue to guarantee growth!“

Hannes Niederhauser, CEO at Kontron and Chairman of the Management Board of the S&T Group, identifies five technology topics that will shape the IT market in 2020. You can find out what these are and how Kontron is supporting the European climate protection goals in the interview. 

 

Kontron Blog Editorial Team: 

Mr. Niederhauser, which technology trends will ensure that the ongoing trend toward digitization does not come to a halt in 2020?

 

Hannes Niederhauser:

In implementing the digital transformation in industry today, nothing works without powerful edge computers, because in recent years more and more concepts from the cloud and data center area, such as virtualization, modular software in containers and software defined networking, but also AI, have shifted into the area of traditional embedded systems. Applications are becoming more flexible, scalable and easier to manage, while at the same time the demands on edge computing platforms are increasing. The demand for powerful edge computers triggers modern edge platforms, which are used for high performance edge computing and embedded edge servers. 

Kontron Blog Editorial Team:

Speaking of High Performance Edge Computing: What role will the new COM-HPC specification play in the further development of edge computers?

 

Hannes Niederhauser:

With the extension of the established COM Express® standard for Computer-on-Modules by the COM-HPC standard specification, new solutions with higher processor performance, larger memory capacities and increased bandwidths for data transfer will become possible. The ratification of version 1.0 is expected for the first half of 2020.

Kontron Blog Editorial Team:

There continues to be a high demand for modules that make it easy to integrate things, machines, sensors and actuators. How is standardization in this area being driven forward?

 

Hannes Niederhauser:

Standardization measures have already been initiated for soldered System-on-Modules (SOM) used in cost-sensitive low-end/high-volume applications, which means that an initial specification by the SGET standardization committee is expected in mid-2020. We are also already planning the first products based on this standard.

Kontron editorial team:

Will 5G continue to play an important role in 2020, or will it be replaced by other trend topics in the area of real-time network infrastructures?

 

Hannes Niederhauser:

Real-time capable network infrastructures are and will remain an important foundation for edge computing in our core markets. Therefore, 5G will continue to be a trend topic in the wireless mobile communications sector, just like in the wired sector, standards-based real-time communication via TSN and OPC UA, which is becoming increasingly important in connection with standards-based real-time communication in automation technology as a manufacturer-independent machine-to-machine protocol. 2020 will almost certainly be the year of the TSN application standard, as the application profiles for vertical markets such as Industrial Automation or Automotive In-Vehicle Communication are expected to make decisive progress. The topic of TSN network configuration can also be brought to a conclusion this year, so nothing should stand in the way of rapid adaptation in industry. And to get back to the original question: With its short latency times and the resulting real-time capability, the 5G standard is an ideal supplement to the wired TSN standard - and I see both as absolute basic technologies for the Industry 4.0, Transportation, Automotive and Medical sectors.

Kontron Blog Editorial Team:

And what about purely software-driven network platforms?

 

Hannes Niederhauser:

In the mobile communications sector, virtual radio access network (vRAN) concepts and projects such as OpenRAN in TIP (Telecom Infra Project) are already paving the way to purely software-defined, centralized general-purpose network platforms. The purely software-driven development that this makes possible ensures faster innovation cycles and maximum flexibility in implementation. The new Edge Servers from our Communications Division are increasingly being used in this environment and help to achieve the lowest latencies, e.g. for IoT devices in the machine environment, relieve the connection to the core network and increase data security by processing data closer to the company.

Kontron Blog Editorial Team:

In 2020 many investments will be made within Europe in infrastructure and public transport to reduce CO2 emissions. How can Kontron Transportation contribute to this positive development?

 

Hannes Niederhauser:

With Kontron Transportation, we are taking a leading role in research projects and standardization committees to define the future communication system for rail transport, called FRMCS, based on 5G and validate it through various test projects. With innovative software solutions in the fields of Mission Critical, Mobile Communications and IoT we support our partners in developing reliable solutions and sustainable concepts for the digitalization of rail traffic.

Kontron Blog editorial team:

How will the demand in the area of AI develop?

 

Hannes Niederhauser:

In 2020, the demand for hardware and software solutions for the high requirements of AI applications with specially developed processors will increase. The acquisition of Habana Labs by Intel® shows that development is progressing very quickly and justifies massive investments. Initially, I expect increased demand primarily from the field of Vision, intelligent pattern recognition with video/image processing, and autonomous movement of robots and vehicles. Kontron will expand its existing portfolio of hardware and software accordingly with solutions from Intel® and other partners. The first systems are already available as "proof of concept".

Kontron Blog Editorial Team:

With the ongoing digitalization, the topic of security is becoming more and more important every year. How does Kontron deal with this important topic?

 

Hannes Niederhauser:

Kontron offers functions such as Secure and Measured Boot, Remote Attestation and the rollout of encrypted software with hardware-based support through Trusted Platform Modules to meet the demand for more security for IT systems, IT connected machines, sensors and actuators in the production environment. 

Kontron Blog Editorial Team:

And now a brief summary: What are your technology trends for the year 2020?

 

Hannes Niederhauser:

Edge computing, real-time capable networks, new standards for embedded platforms, cyber security and AI!

 

Kontron Blog Editorial Team:

And your general growth forecast for the year 2020?

 

Hannes Niederhauser:

Even in economically difficult times, digitization in companies and the rapid innovation cycles in IT are reliable to ensure growth - so things will continue to rise steeply!

Thank you for the interview!

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