Guest article: In the second part of the interview with elektronik industrie, Norbert Hauser talks, among other things, about the FabEagle Connect software platform and which product innovations can still be expected from Kontron in 2021.
Mr. Hauser, what are the special advantages of the FabEagle Connect software platform?
Norbert Hauser: FabEagle Connect is a simple and universal solution for secure and fast connection between OT (manufacturing technology) and IT (information technology). Thus, the transfer of data from manufacturing to Big Data applications via REST, MQTT or AMQP is just as possible as the connection of machines via OPC UA, SOAP, FTP and TCP/IP. With FabEagle Connect factory operators gain an overview of the entire site through step-by-step integration, starting with the most important processes.
What are the specific requirements for the future Edge Computing in IoT/IIoT?
Norbert Hauser: The shift of complex tasks from Cloud to Edge, such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine/Deep Learning, Predictive Maintenance or Visual Inspection, increases the demands on Edge Computing. A central role is being played here by the developments in the area of High-Performance Computing (HPC). Many existing as well as future applications require HPC platforms. Many of these requirements can already be met today, using the COM Express Type 7 modules and systems based on them. But the development still goes on: COM-HPC is set to become one of the leading, if not the leading standard for HPC. That is the case even for both client and server applications that do not have to be installed in the IT server room but on site, sometimes in harsh environments. The specification for the total of five form factors has now been released by PICMG. The robust and compact COM-HPC modules enable Intelligent Edge Computing to be implemented efficiently in the smallest of spaces and even in harsh environments.
What do customers expect from Kontron?
Norbert Hauser: Kontron has always been valued by our customers as a pioneer in key technologies. Our expertise in reliably introducing and implementing new technologies while taking into account the various requirements is in high demand. In this context, customers not only expect us to provide attractive technical and cost-effective solutions, but also a consideration of costs/ROI in larger digitization projects.
What new products will be in focus in 2021, and what new products can still be expected in 2021?
Norbert Hauser: By the beginning of the year, we already expanded our Industrial Switch product line with 23 powerful and cost-effective models of the KSwitch family for Fast and Gigabit Ethernet up to 10G. They were developed specifically for use in industrial environments and will be supplemented by further variants in the course of the year. We already introduced COM Express modules and motherboards for compute- and graphics-intensive applications like the AMD Ryzen processor as well. In June, we introduced a COM Express Basic Type 7 computer-on-module based on AMD-EPYC Embedded 3000 SoC processors that offers cost-effective, highly scalable server-class performance in a small form factor. We then launched a new SMARC module fA3399 with Arm processor Rockchip RK3399K in June as well. In the benchmark of Arm-based modules, the new Kontron module has the highest performance compared to its price and offers high graphics performance for 2D and 3D displays.
To ensure a wide range of safety functions for different fields of application of "Functional Safety" (FuSa), we are currently developing our own hardware-based "FuSa-ready" plattform, which is expected to be available by the end of 2021. Also for Artificial Intelligence and TSN we will make some new introductions.
What are the most important trends that Kontron will follow in 2021?
Norbert Hauser: The most important trends from our point of view are: High Performance Computing in Intelligent Edge, AI, 5G, the open standard OPC UA over TSN as well as the digital transformation and creation of digital business models.
How does Kontron differentiate itself from its competitors?
Norbert Hauser: A major key to success from Kontron's perspective is a holistic approach to digitalization in terms of our SUSiEtec toolset. By combining hardware, software and expertise, we are able to manage the complexity of different projects and create individual solutions. Pursuing a scalable solution approach here, which can also keep pace with the customer's growing requirements over time, is also of importance here. The active participation in the definition and support of open standards in the areas of hardware, software and communication helps our customers to establish future-proof and sustainable solutions.
What else needs to be said, or what is still particularly important to you?
Norbert Hauser: Even with advancing digitalization and numerous virtual meetings due to the pandemic, I still believe that good, personal customer relationships and trusting partnerships built on a long-term basis are essential for a successful company; especially in times of crisis, a successful partnership can prove its worth. For the upcoming exhibition SPS 2021 end of November, we hope for many visitors and are already excited today to finally have physical meetings with customers, partners and the press again.
You can read the first part of the interview at:
You can also find the interview at: