Today we are pleased to share a blog entry by Florian Haidn, Managing Director from our partner Aaronn Electronic GmbH:
For many of us, more has changed professionally and privately in a short period of time over the past ten months than would otherwise have happened in ten years. The upheavals and changes demand a lot of our attention. Again and again, changes and innovations have to be understood, implemented and ultimately accepted at short notice in order to make the best of them. This takes energy.
Nevertheless, development continues elsewhere - in our industry as well. Much of what was developed, tested and prepared for series production before the pandemic is now available. Not all of it is getting the attention it deserves because strategic initiatives have been put on hold in many companies: Either there is a lack of human resources or companies are planning more cautiously, being not sure how their own business will develop.
Nevertheless, there are increasing signs that the self-imposed slumber will be over by the second half of 2021 at the latest. It will be high time to be wide awake then. If the cake is big enough, everyone will get a piece. Winners and losers, on the other hand, are made in difficult times.
On-site Computing Power is essential
I am more convinced than ever that a large part of what is commonly referred to as "digitisation" will take place in the area of IoT. This is also helped by the fact that there has been another leap forward in the area of embedded box PCs. With current, powerful processors, up to 32 GBytes of RAM, extensive memory equipment and a wide range of interfaces, running sophisticated software on site is no longer a problem today.
Good examples of this are video, audio and image processing, where interesting applications have already been successfully introduced with models from Kontron's KBox B series and current Intel processors up to ninth-generation i7. The KBox B-201-CFL, for example, can be attached to the back of a monitor with a VESA mount and can process video streams from up to eight cameras in control rooms.
It can also be used to record and document visitor numbers or for quality management via video data in production. In the area of predictive maintenance, machine sounds can be analyzed to identify and plan for impending difficulties or replacement of wear parts at an early stage. The considerable required computing power for the analysis of sounds is now available. Many more examples can be listed, from medical, image-processing devices, to use at sites with poor Internet connectivity where on-site computing power is essential, to optimization in warehouse logistics using autonomous vehicles - or many more industry-specific scenarios.
New Possibilities for Companies
What they all have in common, however, is that IoT devices can no longer merely act as sensors, data providers, or control functions with severely limited functionality. Rather, with the appropriate hardware, they can become fully-fledged computing nodes in an increasingly complex and diverse network. This opens up entirely new possibilities for companies, from the optimization of established business processes to the development of new business models based on them.
Nevertheless, this does not replace previous IoT approaches, in which data is often collected and processed in a central cloud. These scenarios still are valid, as they offer interesting possibilities - especially when it comes to Big Data, artificial intelligence or machine learning. However, the new, powerful embedded box PCs expand the range of choices considerably. Many things that previously could not be implemented on site due to excessive latency, a lack of Internet connection or a lack of computing power can now be implemented.
As a long-standing sales partner and system integrator of Kontron, we at Aaronn Electronic are already working with our customers on interesting IoT projects in order to make good use of the new possibilities of the hardware and to adapt them to industry-specific and individual requirements. As they come to terms with the past few months, many companies are questioning what they can do better and more efficiently in the future. Current possibilities should play a role in these considerations. After all, true future viability cannot be achieved with yesterday's tools.