At the same time as Intel launched the new Apollo Lake processors, the SGET released the SMARC 2.0 specification, leading many engineers to wonder: “Which of the three credit card sized form factors should I choose – COM Express Mini, Qseven or SMARC 2.0?”

First off, here’s some reassurance – the well-known industry mantra “Never change a running system” still holds. Engineers who have designed their systems on the basis of COM Express Mini or Qseven have chosen a reliable platform and they can continue to work with both form factors for many years to come. But what is the recommendation for new system designs? What should those system designers consider? There is no easy answer to this question, and one needs some market insights to make a good decision. So let’s start with a brief look at the history of Computer-on-Modules (COMs) to see the entire picture.

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The Internet of Things and increasing network bandwidths are significantly changing the way applications are designed. Edge and fog computing provide extremely powerful server technology at the edge of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Server-on-Modules from congatec with Intel® Xeon® processor technology target precisely this application field.

Edge servers are deployed on the verges of the Internet. Because they perform important tasks for the network as well as the local applications, they are – in addition to IoT gateways – the most important building block for the IIoT. Fog computers fulfil very similar functions. But what exactly is fog computing? The term was coined in analogy to cloud servers: In contrast to clouds, fog settles in the valley. Clouds are high up in the network, fogs are low down at the local IIoT level. This sums up the difference between cloud and fog servers. Unlike edge servers, fog servers add real-time virtualization across multiple systems to the picture.

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Computer modules are now empowered to be deployed in servers, a fact PICMG recognizes with the recent publication of the COM Express Type 7 specification. With the launch of this specification, congatec is now offering application-ready server-on-modules with Intel® Xeon® D processors.

The use of modules in servers has not been common until now, partly because server technology developers have had their own ideas about the specific hardware design of the systems, and partly because they had the volumes to justify developing dedicated systems. This is why there are currently a large number of dedicated systems with homogeneous designs in carrier networks and server farms.

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A teach pendant simplifies robot programming, but the internal electronics must be high-performance, low power and ready to withstand the harsh conditions of a factory floor. When producing their DTP7-P teach pendant for industrial robots, Daincube chose the DFI BT700 Qseven System-On-Module (SOM) based upon the Intel Atom® processor. Daincube is a leading manufacturer of industrial robot controllers, including teach pendants, robot motion controllers and safety controllers. The Daincube teach pendant is differentiated by its ergonomic design and adaptability to a wide range of
automation applications.

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As customers expect that electric vehicles can run as far as normal cars, many electric car makers have launched a new generation of household electric cars equipped with a 32A bigger battery. The new electric cars take more time to
charge. To relief customers of this drawback, fast charging is the solution that will help customers charge their cars faster at home. Therefore, DFI is collaborating with a client in Europe to build a smart charging system that integrates solar power into electricity system. We are not only eco-friendly, but we are also improving the user experience of the electric cars while saving end-users’ money and time.

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A total healthcare solution provider based in the U.S. was looking to build a medical video recorder equipment to be integrated into their overall medical data management system that could capture detailed medical images/videos and enable real-time connectivity with the enterprise IT infrastructure. The equipment should demonstrate outstanding graphics capabilities, be able to connect to the database instantly, and conform to strict regulations imposed by government entities. Considering these requirements, DFI suggested the use our Mini-ITX HM101-QM87 motherboard to power this medical imaging device.

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In order to help the customers achieve time-to-market goals as well as reducing total-cost-of-ownership in the field of high-end pharmacy POS application, DFI’s embedded board (with product longevity and high reliability) deployed a flexible and innovative solution to cater to all the requirements of customizable POS terminal.

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Pneumatic equipment is prevailing in modern factories to convey adequate and clean compressed air for air-driven motors or operating tools. DFI provides a robust and WiFi-support industrial PC to build a real-time monitoring solution. The solution aims at helping operators have full control of the machine and reach the purpose of energy saving.

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