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Latest Developments in the Embedded Marketplace

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Support For Just-Adopted Internet Protocol v6 (IPv6) Aware AdvancedTCA Specification

Early industry support for the IPv6-awareness has been added to the ATCA specification via a just-adopted Engineering Change Notice (ECN). The 3.5.0 release of the Pigeon Point Shelf Manager, which is already shipping, includes basic support for IPv6 communication with the Shelf Manager, when running on the ShMM-700R shelf management mezzanine module. The 3.5.1 release, scheduled for July 2015, will add specific support, also on the ShMM-700R platform, for the ECN-defined IPv6 extensions in the ATCA specification, PICMG 3.0.

IPv6 is the newest version of the ubiquitous Internet Protocol (IP) on which much of modern electronic communication is based. IPv6 solves multiple long term problems with the existing IPv4, including the impending exhaustion of IPv4 addresses, which are only 32 bits in size. The burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) is making it ever more crucial to continue and accelerate the availability of IPv6, which supports 128-bit addresses. Though many existing AdvancedTCA (ATCA) applications will continue to use IPv4 for a considerable time, it is crucial for ATCA to allow new applications to make use of IPv6 where appropriate. The Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI, a foundation for the management layer of ATCA) was augmented with IPv6 support in 2013. PICMG’s new ATCA ECN adopts that IPMI support as an option and adds ATCA-specific facilities to that support, such as for configuring shelves with IPv6 access addresses, among other areas.

The already shipping 3.5.0 release of the Pigeon Point Shelf Manager supports IPv6 access to any of the external Internet Protocol interfaces of the ShMM-700R, specifically including the IPMI-defined interface, which uses the Remote Management Control Protocol (RMCP). For instance, support in RMCP and in the Shelf Manager’s Command Line Interface has been added for more than 30 IPv6-related LAN configuration parameters. The upcoming 3.5.1 release augments that support with the ATCA-specific extensions defined by the new ECN.

The new PICMG 3.0 ECN and a companion ECN adding IPv6-awareness to PICMG 3.7, the ATCA Base Extensions Specification, were just adopted by PICMG after being developed in the Hardware Platform Management (HPM) subcommittee. This subcommittee within PICMG was proposed by and is led by PPS. The subcommittee is also adding IPv6 awareness to HPM.2, the LAN-attached IPM Controller Specification and HPM.3, the DHCP-Assigned Platform Management Parameters Specification.

The ShMM-700R uses a Freescale i.MX287 ARM9-based main processor to execute Linux and the Shelf Manager application, plus a Microsemi SmartFusion A2F060 intelligent mixed signal FPGA for critical supplementary functions.  (Pigeon Point also delivers SmartFusion-based variants of its market-leading Board Management Reference (BMR) series of xTCA board and module management controller solutions.)

 

VITA Standards Organization Ratifies ANSI/VITA 46.11 System Management on VPX

The VMX Industry Trade Association (VITA) has announced that VITA 46.11 “System Management on VPX” has reached ANSI recognition as ANSI/VITA 46.11-2015. This specification has completed the VITA and ANSI processes reaching full recognition under guidance of the VITA Standards Organization (VSO).

ANSI/VITA 46.11 defines a framework for System Management in VPX systems. It enables interoperability within the VPX ecosystem at the Field Replaceable Unit (FRU), chassis and system levels. The framework is based on the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) specification and leverages many concepts and definitions from the AdvancedTCA (ATCA) specification by PICMG.

VITA 46.11 took on the challenge of defining a set of physical, logical, and protocol requirements to standardize the management of VITA 46 and VITA 65 compliant modules and backplanes. ANSI/VITA 46.11 provides a true solution for systems management interoperability across various hardware and software vendors, chassis suppliers, systems integrators, and end users. It provides consistent management capabilities and behaviors for these disparate elements, and provides a robust framework that allows individual implementers to add their own enhancements without impacting interoperability. Copies of the specification are available for purchase at the VITA Online Shop (http://shop.vita.com/).

 

Irish Power Plant Launches GE Software Platform, Improving Power Delivery to Nearly 10 Percent of Households

Seeking to increase its availability to meet Ireland’s future energy needs, the Whitegate Power Station in County Cork, Ireland, has implemented new GE software technology to operate more efficiently and reliably. The site is the world’s first plant to install Reliability Excellence, a new advanced software solution which taps into industrial-scale data analytics to predictively identify operational issues before they occur.

The 445-megawatt gas combined-cycle power plant is located 25 miles east of the city of Cork. GE, which provided the plant’s original generation equipment, operates and maintains Whitegate for Bord Gáis Energy under a 12-year service agreement. Whitegate began operating in November 2010 and generates enough electricity to meet the needs of 300,000 homes in Ireland.

In June 2014, GE launched the software project by installing a condition-based, real-time monitoring solution featuring 141 total sensors throughout the plant. Through around-the-clock monitoring of Whitegate’s hardware assets, GE’s Reliability Excellence technology provides the facility’s operators a single, consolidated view of plant performance. These insights are being translated into operational recommendations that are expected to help the station focus its maintenance activity on minimizing downtime.

Additionally, the software’s comprehensive data analytics is helping Whitegate detect operational anomalies, including combustion dynamics and parts degradation, before they become serious issues that could force the plant offline for costly unplanned repairs.

Phase two of the project will include an operations module for process optimization and operational excellence, providing key performance indicator-focused analytics to multiple levels of the facility. This phase will provide a pathway to more flexible operation and connect the plant performance better to the real time marketplace. These analytics will help customers identify actions for lowering production costs, increasing plant capability and improving system reliability.

Reliability Excellence technologies are powered by an enterprise GE platform called Predix. Representing an industrial cloud-based platform, this fully connected and secure cloud environment unifies the flow of data across all plant and fleet assets, delivering the enterprise visibility and insights needed to help optimize power plant, fleet and business operations.

 

Wind River Partners with CoreAVI to Enable Intel GPUs for Safety Critical Platforms

    Core Avionics & Industrial (CoreAVI) and Wind River have announced the availability of safety critical graphics drivers and DO-178C Level A safety certification support for a broad selection of Intel processors. CoreAVI’s HD 4000/5000 OpenGL driver suite supports Intel HD 4000/5000 graphics processors integrated with Atom, Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 CPUs and SoCs. The graphics driver suite supports the robust safety partitioning and secure virtualization/separation capabilities available with Wind River’s real-time operating system suite, including VxWorks 7, VxWorks 653 and VxWorks MILS.

    CoreAVI’s and Wind River’s solutions are successfully flying together in aircraft display systems by many of the world’s leading avionics manufacturers, such as Boeing, Airbus, Northrop Grumman, Honeywell and Cobham Aerospace. The latest collaboration and support for Intel graphics architectures enables military, aerospace, automotive, medical, industrial, and other high reliability system manufactures to deploy Intel’s unique processor capabilities, including multi-core silicon and secure partitioning for DO-178C certified platforms.

    “Wind River has partnered with CoreAVI to offer their Intel HD safety critical graphics drivers in conjunction with Wind River operating systems in order to deliver our customers a complete graphics solution and DO-178C Level A certification package based on both Intel CPU and GPU processor architectures,” said Dinyar Dastoor, vice president and general manager of operating system platforms at Wind River. “CoreAVI and Wind River’s combined solutions enable avionics and high reliability system manufacturers to harness the high performance capabilities available with Intel’s wide range of processors.”

 

Bsquare Renews Microsoft Windows Mobile Distribution Agreements

Bsquare has announced the renewals of the company’s Windows Mobile Distribution Agreements with Microsoft Corporation. With these renewals, Bsquare continues to provide software licensing to the main geographic markets where Windows Mobile devices are developed by leading edge vertical OEMs. Bsquare complements this licensing relationship with value added engineering services and technical support. As its OEM customers move forward with new product roadmaps, they will be offered the MobileV platform to transition new products to an Intel based platform, running both Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 operating systems. Windows 10 is critical to Microsoft and Bsquare for much broader IoT solutions development.

Bsquare has been a Microsoft authorized Value-Added Provider of Windows Mobile Operating Systems since November 2009. The agreement, which is effective for the period July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, renews the Bsquare Microsoft Windows Mobile distribution relationship for the 6th consecutive year. The renewals of the Microsoft Bsquare distribution relationship for the Windows Mobile Operating System in Japan, the Americas (excluding Cuba), Taiwan and the region comprised of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) lay the framework for the continued migration to Bsquare’s expanding MobileV portfolio. These agreements are in addition to Bsquare’s existing Windows General Embedded Distribution Agreements, which are also valid through June 30, 2016.

 

Connected Cars to Represent 20% of Global Market by 2019

    A recent report by Juniper Research forecasts that the telematics sector will continue to outperform all other M2M markets over the next five years, in revenue terms, with one in five passenger vehicles connected globally by 2019. Smartphone-based models have become the key disruptor for M2M, as sectors such as healthcare, consumer electronics and retail continue to evolve. The report forecasts that the M2M sector will generate service revenues of over $40 billion globally by 2019 - doubling the size of today’s market.

    The new research, M2M & Embedded Devices: Strategic Analysis & Vertical Market Forecasts 2015-2019, observed that the roll-out of smart metering initiatives will see rapid up-take over the next six years, driven in part by governments’ ambitions to increase efficiency. According to research author Anthony Cox, “Both India and China are expected to see rapid adoption of smart metering as new metering infrastructure is installed and smart cities are created.” The utility sector however is not expected to generate similar revenues to that of the connected automotive sector.

    Agriculture and environmental applications are starting to emerge as important new sectors in the M2M market, with applications as diverse as wild-life and farm animal monitoring, and increasing productivity through precise field mapping. M&&A is also beginning to bring together some of the industry’s most powerful players, such as the merger of KORE Telematics and Raco Wireless, and the acquisition by Huawei of the M2M technology start-up Neul.

 

Wi-Fi to Carry up to 60% of Mobile Data Traffic by 2019

    New research has forecast that Wi-Fi networks will carry almost 60% of smartphone and tablet data traffic by 2019, reaching over 115,000PB (Petabytes) by 2019, compared to under 30,000PB this year - representing almost a four-fold increase. The new research - Mobile Data Offload & Onload: Wi-Fi, Small Cell & Network Strategies 2015-2019- found that mobile data offload (data migration from a mobile network to a Wi-Fi network) offers several key benefits to industry stakeholders. Offload not only addresses the issue of patchy coverage, but also has the potential for the creation of new services such as VoWi-Fi (Wi-Fi Calling) and to increase the usage of existing 3G/4G services.

    However, the research cautioned that Wi-Fi offload brings challenges to Operators of effective deployment and ROI. “Operators need to deploy their own Wi-Fi zones in problematic areas or partner with Wi-Fi hotspot operators and aggregators such as iPass and Boingo”, added research author Nitin Bhas. Additionally, operators are also converting residential customers to community hotspot providers, especially in the US. According to Wi-Fi service provider iPass, there were nearly 40 million community hotspots in 2014 and expects this to more than double this year to nearly 90 million.

Other global mobile data traffic highlights include:

• Global mobile data traffic generated from devices including smartphones, featurephones and tablets forecast to exceed 197,000PB in 2019.

• Juniper estimates global smartphone data consumption to be nearly twice the amount of tablet traffic in 2015.

• Developing markets such as the Indian Subcontinent are forecast to witness higher growth rates and increased market share of the total mobile data traffic over the next 5 years; with operators in India already witnessing close to 100% y-o-y growth in data usage.

• North America and West Europe will together account for over 50% of the global mobile data being offloaded in 2019.

The whitepaper, Wi-Fi Calling Operators is available to download from the Juniper Research website together with further details of the new research and interactive dataset.