INDUSTRY INSIDER OCTOBER 2009 Kontron Acquires Digital-Logic Kontron has acquired the non-public Digital-Logic, headquartered near Solothurn, Switzerland. Kontron takes over a 78 percent majority of Digital-Logic, which has specialized on highly reliable and compact rugged embedded computer boards and systems since 1992. Kontron intends to increase its ownership of the company with 15 million Euros revenue and 100 employees to 100%. With the acquisition, Kontron further increases its market share strengthening the market position in Central Europe, and complements the product portfolio for the strategically important markets of Railway/Transportation, Military/Aerospace/Security and Medical. All of those markets need embedded computers with high reliability and longevity. The portfolio comprises of: small form factor single board computers PC/104, PC/104Plus and PCI/104-Express, as well as fanless, rugged and compact embedded computers for stationary and mobile applications. The products are designed and manufactured to withstand extended temperature range and high shock/vibration in harsh environments. Kontron management says it sees synergies for the new member in the Kontron group utilizing Kontron´s strong global Sales/Marketing channels and supply chain. Ulrich Gehrmann, CEO of Kontron says, “The philosophy toward highest quality and excellent customer relationship of the Digital-Logic team is well aligned with our strategy, and from the complementary product offerings in the area of standard and customized rugged compact computers, our customers will benefit a lot. The location of Digital-Logic close to our headquarters will ease the integration and management of the new team.” Digital-Logic will be integrated under the Kontron as “Kontron Compact Computers.”
Pico-ITXe and Pico-I/O Specifications for Smaller Stackable Embedded Systems
The Small Form Factor Special Interest Group (SFF-SIG), a collaboration of suppliers of embedded component, board and system technologies, has announced the availability of revision 1.0 of both the Pico-ITXe and Pico-I/O Specifications for small, rugged, stackable embedded systems. The Pico-ITXe Specification builds on the momentum of the popular, but de facto and unexpandable Pico-ITX standard, to enable stackable I/O expansion using SFF-SIG’s flexible Stackable Unified Module Interface Technology (SUMIT) interface. Pico-ITXe boards are the same size (72 x 100 mm) and have the same mounting hole placement as Pico-ITX boards, allowing easy migration to support SUMITbased, stackable I/O modules. To
OCTOBER 2009 RTC MAGAZINE
speed and simplify the design of tiny Pico-ITXe SBCs, the Pico ITXe Specification offers a high level of flexibility in comparison to other stackable SBC specifications by allowing the Pico I/O module stack to be placed anywhere within the outline of the Pico-ITXe SBC. Two example placements are shown in the specification. The Pico-I/O Specification defines small 60 x 72 mm stackable I/O expansion modules for use with Pico-ITXe or, in fact, any other SBC form factor that incorporates SUMIT expansion with Pico-I/O mounting holes. Through the inclusion of one or two 52-pin SUMIT connectors, a Pico-ITXe SBC can provide PCI Express (up to five x1 lanes or two x1 and 1 x4 lanes), four USB 2.0, LPC, I2C and/or SPI interfaces to the Pico-I/O modules. The Pico-ITXe designer has the flexibility to provide all or any subset of these interfaces. A Pico-I/O module may
be implemented using any one or more of these interfaces. In anticipation of the release of these Specifications, a PicoITXe SBC is already available from member company Via Technologies, and Pico-I/O modules are available from member companies Acces-I/O and WinSystems as well as Via. Both Specifications are free and available online at the SFF-SIG’s website. The PicoITXe and Pico-I/O Specifications may be downloaded from www. sffsig.org/picoitx.html.
OpenVPX Draft Specification V0.9.4 Completed
The OpenVPX Industry Working Group (www.openvpx.org), an alliance of VITA member defense and aerospace prime contractors and embedded computing systems suppliers focused on addressing VPX (VITA 46) system-level interoperability issues, has announced the completion of the OpenVPX draft V0.9.4 specification. The OpenVPX working group established an aggressive schedule to address interoperability improvements in the VITA 46 specification in a timely manner. The member companies have come together and have been working to meet these goals. As a result of the focused efforts within the OpenVPX Technical Working Group, the specification is nearing completion and is on schedule. Plans call for the specification to transition into the VITA 65 working group following submission of the completed OpenVPX V1.0 Specification in October, with the objective of VITA Standards Organization (VSO) ratification before year’s end. The OpenVPX draft defines the VPX Systems Specification, an architecture that manages and constrains module and backplane designs. The VPX Systems Specification includes the definition of pinouts and sets interoperability points within VPX, while maintaining full compliance with the existing VPX specification. The OpenVPX V1.0 Specification, developed by VITA members, is on track to be turned over to the VSO in October
as VITA 65 for final comment, ballot and ratification as a standard. An OpenVPX Media Press Conference shall be held at the upcoming MILCOM tradeshow in Boston on October 19th. Press Conference details shall follow prior to the show. For more information on the OpenVPX Industry Working Group, visit www. openvpx.org. OpenVPX is a trademark of VITA. For an in-depth preview of the specification, see the article titled, “OpenVPX Promises VPX Interoperability” in this issue of RTC.
ATCA Market Resilient in Economic Downturn
Analysts tracking the market for AdvancedTCA-based products say the economic downturn has had a relatively small effect on revenues compared with other embedded computing segments and technology markets in general. The latest forecast data from VDC Research Group indicates the total 2009 ATCA market will be comparable to 2008 levels, which reached $483 million. For 2010, analysts predict the ATCA market to experience a return to stable growth along with the general economy. “While some embedded computing segments will contract by double digits this year, our ATCA market sizing research indicates that 2009 will be within a few percentage points of what we saw in 2008,” said Eric Heikkila, Director of VDC Research Group’s Embedded Hardware and Systems practice. “The key is the relative stability of investment in new applications, which has been a sweet spot for ATCA. Tier II and III Network Equipment Providers have broadly adopted ATCA and those are the firms producing much of the innovative equipment that is still driving new revenue for Service Providers.” VDC Research Group’s interviews with more than 50 network equipment providers (NEPs) show that nearly 80 percent of Tier II and III NEPs are commercially implementing the