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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kontron aims to quickly connect machines to the Cloud with Atom-based M2M dev kit.

Plug & play M2M for quick entry into the Cloud-based 'Internet of Everything' market

By Nick Flaherty

Kontron has launched a machine-to-machine (M2M) Smart Services Developer Kit based around Intel's Atom processor, the first time the chip has been used in a more deeply embedded system.
The Computer-on-Module (COM)-based kit provides simple 'plug & play' capability enabling designers to develop and test their application's connectivity and performance, then quickly deploy. 
The Kit is designed to meet customer needs for accelerated M2M connected-computing launch schedules of smart services that use cloud-based computing to communicate and aggregate data on edge node and gateway devices and uses the COM Express compatible nanoETXexpress-TT, M2M System Carrier Board and an AV board to support headed configuration use. It is 802.11a/b/g/n WLAN (wireless local area network) and 802.15.4 WPAN (wireless personal area network) capable allowing rapid development of wireless connectivity solutions. 3G WWAN (wireless wide area network) is either pre-installed or easily enabled by dropping in a pre-certified PCI Express 3G/4G module for further broadband connectivity flexibility. 
The COM-based modular architectural approach gives OEMs, smart services developers, and independent software vendors (ISVs) multiple benefits including reduced development cost, risk and time-to-market in an optimal, proven production-ready COTS small factor platform that includes mounting hardware for ease of deployment. The M2M solution and kit packaging may be easily customized to include the network operator's, OEM's, or ISV's brand.
Industry analysts have forecasted that over the next decade billions of devices will be deployed as edge node and gateway devices collecting and sending data. This will be a cross-industry phenomenon that has the potential to be a game-changing disruptive force pushing the need for connectivity, high-performance, and standards-based solutions into a myriad of new and existing device platforms that will drive the creation of new smart services. M2M smart services will be deployed in a wide variety of markets including building automation, energy, healthcare, IT/networking, retail, security and transportation, among others.
"Designed as a production-ready solution that helps to accelerate smart services deployment opportunities, Kontron is simplifying M2M application development by providing connected computing M2M intelligent devices based on Intel architecture, as well as the infrastructure building blocks to enable M2M technology data from the point of collection through the cloud to the point of aggregation and decision," said Dirk Finstel, CTO of Kontron.
The Kit is preloaded with a 90-day free trial of Wind River Linux 4.1 and includes a Wind River LiveUSB drive that provides the software stacks and drivers to support immediate wireless connectivity testing. The pre-flashed drive containing Wind River software is optimized for developing, running, debugging and prototyping embedded software directly onto the Kontron M2M System using Wind River development tools.
"Machine-to-Machine is all about seamlessly integrating compute and connectivity in 'small smart platforms' with the focus on simplifying the development process by relieving designers from having to master the complexities of wireless connected computing technologies. Intel is excited about the possibilities of next generation machine-to-machine smart services developed and deployed with solutions such as the Kontron M2M Smart Services Developer Kit that is production-ready for high volume M2M deployments," said Kevin Johnson, director of Embedded Connected Devices for Intel's Embedded and Communications Group. Based on the Intel Atom processor, the new kit and product line gives designers a small, power efficient, high-performance production-ready solution that is supported by a robust ecosystem of hardware and software providers.
"The M2M ecosystem is rapidly expanding and Wind River has world-class software and middleware solutions that support the enablement of M2M services," said Jens Wiegand, vice president and general manager of industrial, medical and M2M at Wind River. "By tightly integrating and optimizing Wind River's suite of software tools with Kontron's M2M system, the Kontron M2M Smart Services Developer Kit can dramatically reduce complexity and help customers get products to market faster."
  • nanoETXexpress-TT COM using the Intel Atom processor E640 1 GHz and other Kontron M2M System boards in a 67mm x 100mm x 27mm chassis. 
  • The external USB port simplifies use of M2M SDKs provided by M2M ISVs. Sufficient storage is provided for M2M smart service applications, middleware and OS on the 4 gigabyte (GB) internal MicroSD card
  • Built-in accelerometer, dual HDMI and HD audio support enables designers to implement both movement tracking and intensive audio/video smart services features. 
  • Supports 300 Mbps Wi-Fi throughput with 802.11 b/g/n at 2.4 GHz band and 5 GHz band for 802.11a.
  • Integrated 802.15.4 WPAN transceiver flexibly supports a wide range of protocols and network topologies, such as 6LoPAN, Wireless HART, ZigBee and others, using a unique 802.15.4 MAC layer interface. 
  • Driver support for a pre-certified Ericsson 5521gw module and an option of having that module pre-installed. Other pre-certified 3G/4G modules and drivers may be added to the Kontron M2M System for additional connectivity development. 

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