PICMG

June 29, 2022

PICMG Announces Significant Progress of IoT.X Family of Sensor Data Modeling and Abstraction Specifications

Industry NewsNewsPICMG

Wakefield, MA., USA / Nuremberg, Germany, June 23, 2022 – The PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturer’s Group (PICMG), a leading consortium for the development of open embedded computing specifications, is excited to announce significant progress on its IoT.X family of specs. Highlighted by the IoT.1 firmware interface and data modeling specification and soon-to-be-ratified IoT.2 network architecture, ongoing efforts promise to abstract low-level device physics such that sensor node data becomes interoperable across all levels of smart factory deployments.

PICMG IoT.1 focuses primarily on a data abstraction layer that allows users to turn traditional sensors and effecters into plug-and-play smart sensors and effecters using free and open-source tools that require little-to-no programming expertise. For example, the PICMG IoT Configurator and IoT Builder tools are reference implementations for building and generating smart sensor firmware that can be read by any sensor or controller.

Both can be accessed from the PICMG Github repos

The separate but complementary IoT.2 network architecture specification defines the integration of these smart sensors and effecters, as well as their data, into larger Industry 4.0 systems of systems. Based on the Data Management Task Force’s (DMTF’s) Redfish API, the .2 spec outlines an abstraction layer and transactional model so that sensor and effecter endpoints can be monitored and managed in the context of job models similar to those available from major cloud service providers.

In other words, the data transparency afforded by the two specifications permits IT factory personnel to send specific, state-based jobs to a machine or clusters of machines in the pursuit of a desired outcome.

“IoT.1 provides low-level visibility of physical device parameters that can directly impact the quality and efficiency of your production line,” says Doug Sandy, CTO, PICMG. “IoT.2 provides an IT-like interface for managing both machines and jobs at a high level of abstraction.

“When used together, they support the analytics required for higher levels of productivity and throughput across a factory environment,” he adds.

To foster an environment of openness and collaboration, IoT.2 will not be exclusive of other existing IoT communications protocols and models and allows them to be converted to maintain compliance with the new spec.

For more detailed technical information on IoT.1, IoT.2, and how PICMG’s latest family of specifications is helping accelerate Industry 4.0 adoption, please visit PICMG’s website www.picmg.org/understanding-smart-sensors. More information on PICMG’s overall Industrial IoT activities can be found at www.picmg.org/industrial-iot-overview.

IoT.1 was developed in collaboration with the following PICMG members: Arroyo Technology, nVent, Triple Ring Technologies, Sandy Systems. The IoT.1 specification can be purchased and downloaded here: www.picmg.org/product/iiot_firmware.

About PICMG

Founded in 1994, PICMG (PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group) is a nonprofit consortium of companies and organizations that collaboratively develop open standards for high performance telecommunications, military, industrial, and general-purpose embedded computing applications. There are over 140 member companies that specialize in a wide range of technical disciplines, including mechanical and thermal design, single board computer design, very high-speed signaling design and analysis, networking expertise, backplane and packaging design, power management, High Availability software, and comprehensive system management. Key standards families developed by PICMG include CompactPCI CompactPCI®, AdvancedTCA®, MicroTCA®, AdvancedMC®, CompactPCI® SerialCOM Express®, SHB Express®, MicroSAM, COM-HPC. and HPM (Hardware Platform Management).

March 2, 2022

PICMG Committee to Develop New Modular Box PC Open Specification

Industry NewsNewsPICMG

ModBlox7 introduces an open standard to proprietary multi-billion USD market

PICMG, a leading consortium for developing open embedded computing specifications, announces a technical subcommittee formed to create a new PICMG form factor specification named ModBlox7. This specification will transform the multi-billion dollar Box PC industry by introducing an open standard to what is currently a proprietary market. Box PCs are highly integrated computing solutions, but the lack of interoperability limits the ability for end users to achieve truly cost-effective and sustainable solutions.

The ModBlox7 specification will describe a compact and modular Box PC that is flexibly configurable and can be wall-mounted, snapped onto a DIN rail, or integrated into a 19” subrack. The height and depth are fixed; the width is variable in multiples of 7HP. The maximum length is 84HP. The modular Box PC designs will be very robust, support passive conductive cooling, and be used for demanding applications such as railway, avionics, mobile machines and autonomous mobility as well as machinery in discrete manufacturing and controls in critical process industry infrastructures. The result of the committee’s work will be a basic specification describing the housing mechanics, the modular functional units, and the electrical interconnection of the units. The standard will guarantee interoperability of units for manufacturers as well as interoperability for users of the Box PC, while combining the advantages of modular systems and highly integrated cost-sensitive Box PC solutions.

The open specification will contain the following requirements or specified functions:

  • Cost-efficient design with minimum mechanical effort. No additional backplane or heat sink will be required. Coplanar board-to-board connectors couple each unit to its neighbor and route defined I/O interfaces (PCIe and USB) to the next board. 
  • Modular, functionally encapsulated plug-in units in multiples of 7HP width pitch. Units form functional assemblies such as power supply, CPU, switch and I/O. Units can be multiples of 7HP, e.g., implement more interfaces or functionality in a single building block assembly.
  • This results in a wide range of device combinations in a modular design in increments of 7HP (21HP, 28HP, 42HP to 84HP), making it cost-efficient even in small quantities.
  • Each modular computing unit can host a stack of 1, 2, or 3 PCBs – depending on the complexity. Separation is typically made according to the front I/O and the power and communication requirements between the host unit and its expansion units.
  • Flexible mounting with minimal accessory components for wall, din-rail, and 19″ subrack installations.

“For industrial end users, the advantages of an Box PC open standard lie in the cost-effective design of the dedicated systems and the flexible interchangeability of components to tailor the platform for dedicated tasks. Manufacturers also benefit, as the interoperability between the units strengthens their core competence, and they do not have to develop each unit and its embedded components such as cables and mechanics themselves. For VARs and system integrators, the new ecosystem will provide faster configuration options with components from multiple vendors,” states Mathias Beer, chief product officer at Ci4Rail.

According to Markets and Markets, the global industrial PC market size is estimated to reach USD 6.1 billion by 2026 from USD 4.6 billion in 2021, growing at a CAGR of 5.8%. The market growth is fueled by increasing demand for industrial IoT, a steady shift towards digitalized manufacturing from traditional manufacturing, growing awareness for resource optimization in manufacturing industries, and stringent regulatory compliances.

The goal is to have the specification ratified by the end of 2022. The team has elected Bernd Kleeberg of EKF Elektronik as chairman of the committee. Manfred Schmitz of Ci4Rail is the technical editor, and Johann Klamer of ELTEC Elektronik acts as secretary.

This initiative has over 15 active member companies, including: ADLINK, Ci4Rail, EKF Elektronik, Elma Electronic, ELTEC Elektronik, Embeck, ept, General Micro Systems, HEITEC, Hirose Electric, Intel, Kontron, nVent, Schroff, Samtec, Sealevel Systems and TEWS TECHNOLOGIES. Further vendors are invited to join the committee to actively develop the new modular Box PC open standard.

For more information, visit the PICMG website: https://www.picmg.org/modblox7/

 

October 6, 2021

PICMG Ratifies IoT.1 Firmware Specification for Smart IoT connected Sensors and Effecters

Industry NewsNewsPICMG

PICMG, a leading consortium for the development of open embedded computing specifications, announces the ratification of IoT.1 specification defining a communication standard between sensors / effecters and local IoT controllers such as micro Sensor Adapter Modules (microSAM) already specified by PICMGs IoT.0 specification.

The IoT.1 specification defines a firmware interface and low-level data model that provides for vendor-independent configuration of smart sensors and effecters, as well as plug and play interoperability with higher levels of the installation. IIoT.1 supports both sensing and profiled motion control required by most emerging Industry 4.0 applications.

The IoT.1 specification is the first work product from PICMG based on collaboration with the DMTF organization. PICMG’s IoT.1 specification leverages and extends the Platform Level Data Model (PLDM) specification from Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) in order to address the needs of industrial automation and control. PLDM is a low level messaging system that supports topologies, eventing and discovery and runs over a variety of system level buses such as I2C/SMBus and PCIeVDM (Vendor-Defined Message) over MCTP (Management Component Transport Protocol) as well as RBT (RMII-Based Transport (RMII = Reduced Media Independent Interface)) over NC-SI (Network Controller Sideband Interface).

IoT.1 was developed in order to benefit the industry in four specific ways:

  1. To enable sensor vendors to create smart sensors without having to manufacture the control circuitry and/or software by purchasing these components from PICMG-compliant suppliers
  2. To enable controller suppliers who wish to create smart sensors or smart-sensor components to do so in a way that is interoperable with other suppliers
  3. To enable sensor/effecter integrators to integrate sensors/effecters from multiple vendors with controllers from multiple vendors
  4. To accelerate the uptake of smart-sensor technology through open-specifications and interoperability

When combined with the PICMG sensor-domain network architecture and data model, sensors connected to MicroSAMs (PICMG IoT.0) or other controller modules will seamlessly integrate into the network with plug-and-play interoperability.

“Nothing like this has ever been done before in Industrial IoT – PICMG IoT.1 brings true multi-vendor plug and play interoperability to the sensor/effecter domain with flexible, open-standards based solutions,” said Doug Sandy, CTO of PICMG.

Jessica Isquith, president of PICMG, adds “this specification has the potential to accelerate the shift to better sensor interoperability and encourage a better and wider range of options.”

IoT.1 was developed in collaboration with the following PICMG members: Arroyo Technology, nVent, Triple Ring Technologies, Sandy Systems, PICMG

For more information, please visit PICMG’s website https://www.picmg.org/industrial-iot-overview/. The specification can be purchased and downloaded here: https://www.picmg.org/product/iiot_firmware.