Collaboration enables innovation

"In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed." - Charles Darwin

PICMG has begun several exciting new initiatives during the past year, within an atmosphere of strong collaboration that will only help in the success of each. The rapid adoption of industrial IoT (IIoT) and growing requirements in the Computer on Module (COM) market have led to the formation of multiple new committees, groups, and alliances within PICMG and the industry at large – collaboration in action.

This issue contains four contributed articles with key market and technical updates on many of our key initiatives. First, I provide an overview (page 8) of the COM market, the PICMG family of specifications (including an introduction to two new initiatives), and a status update on our IIoT programs. Often, while reviewing reports and articles in preparation for presentations, reports, and meetings, I try to find contradictions among the many publications. In the past few years, however, I’ve found two areas of undeniable growth with no studies to the contrary: the COMs market and the IIoT market.

Doug Sandy, PICMG CTO, has been leading IIoT initiatives related to the sensor domain, which until now has suffered from a lack of standardization. His latest article addresses the challenges we expect to face developing two new open specifications to facilitate the deployment of IIoT. These challenges include security, data modeling, synchronization, and required memory footprint. You can find his article, “Tackling the challenges of industrial IoT” in this issue on page 20.

Christian Eder of congatec is the chairperson of the new PICMG COM initiative. In his article, “COM Express is heading towards ‘server-on-module’” (read it on page 12), he provides an in-depth explanation of COM Express Rev. 3, which was ratified in mid-2017.

The High-Speed MicroTCA committee has made a number of breakthroughs towards establishing a 40G specification. Justin Moll is leading these efforts and provides a detailed update on MicroTCA applications and future innovations on page 16. He reports that this phase of work is expected to be completed and prepared for review within the next two quarters. In December, DESY will be hosting the seventh annual MicroTCA workshop for Industry and Research in Hamburg. For more information please email us at

University outreach

In 2019 we plan to launch a university outreach program and an academic membership level. As PICMG enters its 26th year, we want to support and encourage young engineers’ interest in embedded computing and facilitate their understanding of the value of Open Standards. Many of our members already have active alliances and programs with universities. Our goal is to help the next generation of engineers get involved with PICMG standards so that they will be prepared to specify them upon their entry into industry. Excellent examples of successful university/industry relationships include Extreme Engineering, NEXCOM, and SECO.

Show presence in 2018 and 2019

For the first time in several years, PICMG sponsored three key industry events in 2018. First up was Embedded Tech Trends, where we launched our IIoT initiatives. At embedded world, we showcased over 20 members’ products, while more than 40 PICMG members exhibited at the largest annual embedded computing event in the world. We also exhibited at the Sensors Expo, where Doug Sandy presented an update of our IIoT initiatives along with a CNC-based proof of concept. This major sensors event will be expanded next year to include an Embedded Pavilion. We will have a presence at each of these events in 2019 as well, so please contact us if you would like to attend and/or actively participate.

PICMG is growing!

As with all organizations, some members leave and new ones join. I am pleased to share that we have gained more than a dozen new members in the past two years! In 2018 we welcomed TQ-Systems GmbH, Honeywell Inc., Core Source Technologies, Dynetics, Inc., North Atlantic Industries, and Vectology, Inc.

We have also witnessed the introduction of hundreds of new products based upon PICMG standards and encourage all members to present their products on our website. I hope you enjoy this application guide. Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any PICMG initiatives or specifications at