​Reasons to be cheerful - 2019 promises to be an exciting year for embedded designers and developers

The IoT effect  

There’s never been a better time to be designing and developing embedded solutions. The IoT - and its industrial counterpart the IIoT – is creating a huge and varied market need for mobile and embedded IoT applications - many of which would just not have been possible just a few years ago. Sure, it’s challenging, but technology and embedded solutions manufacturers are stepping up to help share the load.    


COMs and SBCs for all shapes and sizes

Rather than building embedded systems from scratch, many developers already appreciate that standardized scalable small form factor COMs and SBCs can offer a lower risk and cost benefit, as well as faster time to market. But now they’re now available with even more processor options and in a wider range of small form factors. For ARM developers the choice will likely come down to Qseven or SMARC formats as the COM Express Mini is only x86 based. However, the latest ‘industrial grade’ pITX SBCs also offer further options.


The latest processors open up a high potential of possibilities


New ARM processor developments: More choice, less power and greater performance  

There’s now an even wider choice of x86 and ARM processors to choose from depending on your embedded system performance, power, connectivity and pricing requirements. Take, for example, NXP’s latest i.MX portfolio which has evolved to use Cortex-A8, A9, A35 and A53 cores, bringing the benefits of ARM’s 64bit v8 architecture. This includes the i.MX 7 and i.MX8 technologies but also continues with the long established i.MX6 processor family which is still in demand and remains a good all-rounder.


Fog plus the magic of middleware

The latest processors and embedded platforms deliver unprecedented levels of processing performance and scalability. Add Edge, Fog and middleware and you have the means and flexibility to control, compute and connect multiple applications.


Speaking of middleware, Kontron’s new SUSiEtec  software is designed to remotely deploy, manage, and update edge computing devices, bridging edge nodes, sensors, and other IoT devices to cloud frameworks, and automating the provisioning of software and updates to remote embedded equipment. To facilitate this Kontron offers comprehensive Board Support Packages on various operating software including Yocto Linux and Android.


Kontron’s latest NXP-based ARM embedded solutions    

Kontron offers a SMARC-sAMX6i module with single, dual or quad core NXP i.MX6 processors for covering a wide performance range.NXP’s i.MX6 is suitable for many embedded processing applications from e-readers and smart thermostats to point of sale systems and building controls. It’s based on the ARM Cortex A9 technology, enabling efficient development of smart devices in an extremely compact, fanless design with balanced processor and graphics performance.


But if you are looking for greater power efficiency, especially for smart phones and tablets as well as the kind of embedded routing and gateway devices now required in edge IIoT industrial environments, Kontron has the answer with the i.MX7. Kontron was the first embedded manufacturer to make both SMARC and Qseven COM versions available using this processor. It enables more independent control and flexible power domains, allowing, for instance, the boot up of systems in different ways.


The i.MX8X processor series


Then again, there’s the i.MX8X processor range. This is an evolution of the i.MX6, offering more performance. Kontron already offers it with the SMARC-sAM8X module and a Qseven option is coming very soon. The i.MX8 processor family offers parts with up to four Cortex-A53 and A35 cores and a Cortex-M4 core, along with hardware accelerated graphics and video engines. Capable of driving up to three displays simultaneously, the i.MX8X series offers users scalable power and performance as well as software reuse. Furthermore, extensive high-speed interface options enable broader system connectivity. Among others, this processor range will be increasingly deployed in embedded industrial control and robotics applications, and for advanced graphics designs such as HMIs, imaging, machine vision, audio, voice and safety-critical systems.      


Still want more?

How about the forthcoming i.MX8M with A35 core? It promises processing performance that’s comparable to the Intel Atom - but using considerably less power. With powerful graphics capabilities, this will offer a real alternative for graphics-intensive embedded applications such as HMIs, real-time signage, infotainment, and medical imaging where low power as well as high performance is the priority.


If a SBC is more appropriate, why not consider Kontron’s new pITX small-form factor embedded board solution, the pITX-iMX8M. It not only offers two Gbit interfaces, but also delivers powerful graphics capabilities by using the iMX8M (Mini) ARM multi-core CortexA53 processor launched by NXP earlier this year.  Kontron has also launched a low power dual core Cortex A-72 SMARC module using the NXP LS1028 Layerscape processor. It will be particularly suited to real-time embedded applications requiring multiple Ehernet connectivity. Of note, one PCIe line can be used as a QSGMII port to drive 4 x 1 GByte TSN capable Ethernet ports.


Last but not least, for total peace of mind, all of Kontron’s COM modules and boards feature APPROTECT, our comprehensive cross-platform security framework based on WIBU software solutions.  Rest assured that Kontron will be with embedded designers and developers every step of the way, globally supporting the best and latest processor innovations in the broadest range of standardized COMs and SBCs on the market.


So, now who doesn’t have a big smile on their face?!     




Cover picture: AdobeStock © 고운 이  

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