Open Standards

There are twelve distinct “families” of PICMG standards. Many have subsidiary specifications that are designed to add additional capability. Click on any of the standards families listed below to learn about each one.


This high performance modular standard, also called ATCA®, was developed for critical central office telecommunications applications and is also used for a wide range of commercial and military applications. It offers a complete management infrastructure so that high availability systems with “six nines” reliability can be deployed.

A modular general purpose computing system based on 3U and 6U Eurocard mechanical standards, it features hot swap capability and can be either convection or conduction cooled. With hundreds of thousands of installations worldwide, this popular architecture is one of the most successful and popular standards in use today.

COM Express® 
This Small Form Factor (SFF) standard is designed for deeply embedded applications where space is at a premium but high performance is required. COM Express boards can be used standalone or plugged onto an application-specific baseboard with I/O expansion.

COM-HPC, short for computer-on-module (COM) – high performance compute (HPC), is an open Computer-On-Module form factor standard that targets very high I/O and computer performance levels. Each COM-HPC module integrates core CPU and memory functionality and a rich feature set of I/Os including USB up to Gen 4, audio (MIPI SoundWire, I2S and DMIC), graphics, (PCI Express) up to Gen. 5, and Ethernet up to 25 Gbits/s per lane. All I/O signals are mapped to two high density, high speed and low profile connectors on the bottom side of the module. COM-HPC employs a mezzanine-based approach. The COM modules plug into a carrier or base board that is typically customized to the application.


Interedge specification defines a modular architecture for process control systems (PCS). The IEC 61499 and IEC 61131-compatible InterEdge specification promises to revolutionize the industry with an interoperable, multi-vendor alternative to proprietary Industrial PCs (IPCs), Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), and Distributed Control Systems (DCSs).


Often called “AdvancedTCA’s little brother”, MicroTCA is a modular platform for building smaller and less expensive systems that AdvancedTCA while retaining the high availability architecture of AdvancedTCAMicroTCA systems use AMC modules as their basic computing and I/O building blocks.

Advanced MC®
This standard defines a family of small, hot swappable, and fully managed mezzanine cards that can be used to tailor I/O for large AdvancedTCAsystems or used as the basis for building MicroTCA systems. They are commonly called “AMCs”

CompactPCI® Serial

This standard uses CompactPCI’s mechanical structure but updates the system interconnects to include PCI Express, Ethernet, SATA, and USB. It offers 20 to 40 times the backplane bandwidth of CompactPCI and is ideal for new applications or upgrades to older systems.

SHB Express™

This upgrade to the PCI-ISA standard replaces parallel PCI interconnects with serial PCI Express lanes, improving performance and increasing compute power. A passive backplane is used, and standard desktop PCI Express cards can be used for I/O customization.

Hardware Platform Management 
Also known as “HPM™”, this software standard defines how to build fully managed, high availability AdvancedTCA or MicroTCA systems. It is the first, and currently the only, open standard for system management.

PICMG’s first open standard, PCI-ISA is used to build rugged, reliable, and maintainable computers that are designed to replace desktop PC’s in industrial control communications, or data acquisition applications. The PCI-ISA standard moves all of the active circuitry normally found on a motherboard to an easily replaceable and upgradable plug-in card. Standard PC cards plug into other slots to customize a system. A PCI-ISA system uses a Passive Backplane consisting of connectors with no active components.


This specification defines a new form-factor that is targeted at helping traditional sensor vendors quickly create smart sensors without having to worry about the control domain of the sensor.  The Micro Sensor Adapter Module (MicroSAM) is a compact computing module developed specifically to meet the needs of sensor-domain control within the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) application space.


A typical ModBlox7 system consists of Power Units, Processing Units, and PCIe or USB 2.0/3.0 Input and Output Units (IOUs), each of which measures 1.4” or 7 HP wide. Units can also be extended in 7HP increments to 14 HP, 21 HP, and so on and remain compatible with the specification.

While a minimum ModBlox7 system consists of just one Processing Unit and one Power Unit, they can support as many as four PCI Express-based or eight USB-based IOUs. For high-availability or safety applications, ModBlox7 systems can also be configured with redundant Processing Units or Power Units. The maximum number of slots supported in any ModBlox7 is 12.

Under Development

New standards come to life when members identify the need to create a new embedded computing standard for a particular market or application. This is a structured process, but is relatively simple to initiate. All it takes to begin the development process is an initial Statement of Work, sponsored by three or more Executive members, that describes the market need and a rough proposal of what a standard addressing that might look like