Monthly Archives: June 2014

June 26, 2014

Embedded World


The Embedded World trade show and conference was held February 25-27 in Nuremburg, Germany. Over 850 exhibitors from 35 countries exhibited their products and technologies and more than 26,000 people attended. The show occupied 6 exhibit halls at the Nuremberg Messe. Jessica Isquith, PICMG Marketing VP, and I attended. We spoke about PICMG at a press conference organized my PICMG member MEN Mikro and visited more than 50 PICMG member companies who were exhibiting there.

This show is now the world’s largest, I believe, that is strictly devoted to embedded technologies. There was very little telecom equipment, as most of those suppliers were at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which was held the same week.

Jess and I were absolutely amazed at how many PICMG compliant products were on display. It is clear that PICMG has become a truly global organization, and just about everyone we talked to knew about PICMG.

Pat Hopper, Publisher and Partner at Open Systems Media, which publishes this journal, said “It was great to see a huge turnout from PICMG members and from the engineering community at Embedded World.  And, with over 1,000 copies of PICMG Systems & Technology magazine distributed from the show floor, it is a great sign that PICMG specifications are being widely adopted and used around the world.”


June 26, 2014

CompactPCI Serial and COM Express – More news from Embedded World


Two things were especially surprising to me. First, virtually every vendor who builds CompactPCI, which remains very popular, was showing CompactPCI Serial products – boards, chassis, and complete systems. We saw CompactPCI Serial gear in dozens of booths and it is fairly clear that this technology, which was developed largely in Europe, is being adopted more broadly than in the US or Asia. I believe it has become very popular because it builds on a trusted platform, CompactPCI, but is much faster using modern serial interfaces and can be built using regular CompactPCI I/O cards if that is required.

The CompactPCI Serial specification was released in March, 2011 and is being adopted  more quickly than most embedded technologies, which usually take 5 years or so to reach widespread deployment.. The technical committee that developed the specification was headed by Manfred Schmitz of MEN Mikro and that committee is now ready to release Revision 2 of the spec, which will provide more flexibility by incorporating more user defined rear I/O pins and a more flexible way to use Ethernet, which can be used for external communications or to interconnect up to 8 CPUs in the same chassis.

The second thing that struck us was that COM Express seemed to be everywhere. There are dozens and dozens of small form factors in existence, but COM Express seems to be the most popular with the broadest support. That a mature organization like PICMG is managing its evolution, and not just a few companies, was mentioned by quite a few people. Most people we talked to believe the global market for COM Express boards is now in the 2-4 million units per year range. The development of Rugged Com Express, which provides surfaces on all four edges of the board to which a metal clamshell can be clamped, will further open up Com Express to more mil/aero/UAV and rugged industrial and transportation applications.