PICMG standards key to embedded computing industry

The annual resource guide showcases how important PICMG [PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group] standards have been and continue to be to the embedded computing industry. It represents all of the group’s standards and reflects the multitude of offerings showcased at this year’s show in Nuremburg, Germany.

Embedded World is the largest annual event dedicated to the embedded computing industry. Last year’s event attracted more than 30,000 visitors and over 1,000 exhibitors; the 2018 event is expected to meet or exceed last year’s level of participation. Speaking as an international standards organization, PICMG finds this event to be one of the strongest forums for our members to meet with customers and colleagues. This year’s event will enable many face-to-face meetings with members, potential members, and other consortia. If you are attending, we encourage you to visit us at booth 3A-624, as well as our exhibiting members (find the list on page 5).

The 2018 Embedded World conference keynote this year is “Embedded Goes Autonomous,” which reflects the current focus on enabling devices to safely interact with, and react to, their environment. The Embedded World themes are tightly aligned with PICMG’s current areas of focus, including the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), security, high-performance computing, and connectivity.

For more than 15 years, PICMG members have exhibited at the event; this year we have more than 45 members exhibiting. Moreover, we are pleased to have an official PICMG presence at the show for the first time in 2018. We are exhibiting thanks to the support of several sponsoring members. Each of the sponsor members will showcase one of its compliant products at the PICMG booth – representing each of our major standards – including , CompactPCI Serial, cPCI Serial Space, , /AMC, SHB Express, and . Products to be displayed include connectors, backplanes, chassis, boards, and integrated systems.

Key accomplishments from 2017 include new specifications, design guidelines, and IIoT exploratory committees. The ratification of COM Express revision 3 at mid-year added high-performance server-grade functionality to the COM Express standard. The cPCI Serial Space specification, a derivative of CompactPCI Serial, was ratified in August 2017. This specification is intended to be used in space, e.g., on board satellites as the platform system and the payload controller, as well as on Earth for the control systems and ground stations. Multiple vendors have launched standards-compliant products which will be on exhibit at Embedded World 2018.

In addition to the newly ratified standards, PICMG also completed four Design Guides for MicroTCA, covering topics including hot-plug capabilities for advanced mezzanine cards/rear transition models (AMCs/RTMs), functions, and APIs for standard device model and standard process model. Exploratory work on the role of PICMG in IIoT with our members, other industry leaders, and complementary consortia have led to new activities that address dhe existing challenges to the adoption and deployment of IIoT, including cyber­security, lack of standardization, and legacy installed base.

Many IIoT leaders have selected COM Express as their preferred platform due to size, performance, flexible I/O, and its ability to address many of the challenges listed above. With the addition of COM Express Type 7, we expect even greater adoption by the IIoT community, because COM Express can meet new high-bandwidth, data-intensive edge node server application requirements. CompactPCI Serial, MicroTCA, and emerging new standards will play key roles in addressing certain IIoT requirements.

To gain a greater understanding of PICMG’s IIoT initiatives, read the article in this issue on page 12 written by Doug Sandy, PICMG CTO.

This year we are introducing short-form specs for both CompactPCI serial and COM Express that will be publicly available to aid ease of adoption. The short-form specs enable our members to share with their customers and allow nonmembers to gain a deeper understanding of the specifications. We will continue reaching out to industry leaders and other consortia (including the Trusted Computing Group, Industrial Internet Consortium, and OpenFog) with complementary sets of expertise to collaboratively address rapidly developing requirements. Furthermore, PICMG continues to educate and evangelize about the value of open standards to both current and upcoming generations of engineers. Our long-term goal: Getting engineers to actively participate in defining new standards.

I am confident that increased participation and collaboration will lead to innovations that will address our industry’s evolving needs. Whether you are currently a member, planning to become one, or are currently a member of a complementary consortium, I encourage you to contact us at officers@picmg.org to discuss ways we can work together. Thank you.

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