congatec announces ComX standardization initiative

congatec announced the extended standardization initiative ComX that goes beyond the current specifications for computer-on-modules. This ComX standardization targets two pillars, the API and middleware standardization including APIs for IoT Gateways or embedded features of COM Express Type 7 server-on-modules as well as approved circuit diagrams and logic for demanded carrier board implementations such as FPGA integration, switching logic for USB-C, or for SMART battery logic.

For custom specific designs, computer-on-modules deliver the vendor independent, standardized and application ready computing core, thereby making the realization of individual board configurations far less time consuming. By utilizing computer-on-modules engineers can immediately equip their designs with the latest processor technology, with the additional benefit that the modules come not only as components but also with comprehensive driver support, which is mainly focused on the module functions.

The goal of the ComX standard is to establish an additional design-in and API standardization on top of the core standards to further simplify the development of customers’ dedicated applications based on standardized embedded computing building blocks. ComX standardization addresses everything beyond the existing module centric standards. A selection of standardized options is showcased at the congatec ESEC booth and additional vendors are invited to help further establish the standardization of these features within the PICMG and SGET.

congatec showcases at ESEC 2017 Japan a quick boot demo based on congatec’s new Qseven conga-UMX6 computer-on-module with NXP’s i.MX6 processors. i.MX6 processors enable a highly customizable quick boot of systems in less than a second from power off to full operation including running applications. This is vital for delivering the best user experience at maximum power savings. Typical use cases range from kiosk systems and video surveillance applications with motion detection to any other application that needs to be instantly available after an active impulse, such as in-car infotainment systems and multiple HMI/GUIs of any machinery. ComX standardization includes the CPU technology independent implementation of a carrier board. A clever designed carrier board can utilize I2S for ARM and HDA for x86 sound implementation.

Also brand new and impressive is the new SMARC 2.0 computer-on-module demonstration based on of Intel Atom, Celeron and Pentium processors where congatec presents the implementation of fully featured USB Type C connectivity with USB 3.1 Gen1, power and graphics. By demonstrating this universally applicable form of plug & play functionality, congatec greatly simplifies the use of embedded technology. Fully featured USB-C jacks are still rare and present a real breakthrough for standardizing the fragmented world of cable-based external interconnects.

A highlight for the high-end embedded and edge sever sectors are the new COM Express Type 7 based server-on-modules offering server-grade performance and functionality with their Intel Xeon D processors, 2x 10 GbE and 32 PCIe lanes. The latter can be used for powerful intra system expansions such as GPGUs and NVMe based ultra-fast storage devices as well as multi-module configurations on one single carrier board for high performance computing (HPC) designs. Application areas for the server-on-modules can be found in various scenarios from IT and carrier-grade server farms and cloudlets to edge, fog and Industry 4.0 servers.

The presentation of the new congatec Cloud API, that is designed for IoT gateways and edge servers and a proposed element of SGETs API standardizations, rounds off the innovations displayed by congatec, one of the world’s leading vendors of boards, modules and embedded design and manufacturing services. This API is made available to become the universal hub between local sensor networks and the IoT clouds. congatec’s new Cloud API for IoT Gateways communicates with local smart sensors, processes and converts the acquired data and executes automated actions based on a local rule engine, reducing traffic to the IoT cloud and enabling fast local actions. Secure bidirectional data exchange with any suitable clouds is achieved by using the TLS secured MQTT protocol. Clients can access this cloud via https in client or administrator mode. All these features make the new congatec Cloud API for IoT Gateways an ideal starting point for OEMs that wish to access smart sensor networks via IoT gateways and IoT edge servers on the basis of congatec’s comprehensive boards and module offerings ranging from COM Express, Qseven and SMARC modules to Pico-ITX and Mini-ITX motherboards plus various designs on IoT gateway level. Custom specific configurations of the congatec cloud API can be made available by congatec’s Embedded Design & Manufacturing Services.

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