January/February 2016 - page 43

February 2016
& M
The flexible platform
for IoT applications
By Adrian Bertl, and Roland Peindl,
This article introduces
the GATEBox 100 which can
aggregate, share and filter data for
analysis purposes in the emerging
Internet of Things applications.
An astonishing estimation: in 2020 more
than 200 billion devices will be connected to
each other. Connectivity reigns and by realiz-
ing the power of the IoT the main point is the
use of the data provided by these connected
devices. The ability to share data is based
on intelligent gateways, which unlock these
borders and enable companies to seamlessly
interconnect industrial infrastructure devices
and secure data flow between devices and the
Connecting a device to the internet or with a
cloud solution, there are a lot of industrial PCs
on the market that could support you with
this functionality. But it is not easy to find out
which one of this big variety matches in your
individual system. To find out the difference
between all these industrial PCs is already a
question of engineering. Buy or build? – Spe-
cific interfaces and functions decide the right
connection for the needed application. In
most existing infrastructures the basis is a
data source and most likely an interface, like
analog or digital I/O or bus interfaces like
CAN, to connect to.
Most standard IoT gateways offer standard
PC interfaces for a simple IoT connectivity.
When it comes to more industrial interfaces
the variety of standard products are less and
often it’s hard to find GPIOs or CAN Bus on
these gateways. So most developers have to
decide if they build a second industrial PC
with the interfaces they want to connect to the
cloud. The other option is that they build and
qualify a whole new industrial PC with IoT
gateway functionality and at the end they are
reinventing the wheel to face two applications
in one single box.
Knowing this challenge from customers
b-plus developed an IoT gateway which is
a perfect compromise between building a
whole new industrial PC and having an extra
box for interface connectivity. The GATE-
Box 100 is a Box PC with flexible I/O shields,
called Smart I/O Driver Interface (SIODI).
Because of this concept it is possible to imple-
ment additional interfaces without developing
something whole new. It is irrelevant if you
need additional analog/digital in- and outputs,
field buses like CAN, Audio or customer-spe-
cific I/O cards. There are already predefined
options including scalable CPU Power.
The base configuration of the Industrial PC
with only 15cm width, 5.8cm height and
9.5cm length brings data acquisition and
communication together. The standard ver-
sion with two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces
provides two physically separated networks
for the setup of firewall applications. Further-
more the standard box provides two USB 2.0,
one HDMI connector and also two DSUB9
connectors with variable RS232/RS485/CAN
But how can you make sure that the indus-
trial PC includes the perfect balance between
computing power and power consumption in
your application? With respect to the specific
operating conditions or for software reasons
it is important to choose the fitting comput-
ing platform. For this reason the GATEBox
100 is based on SMARC CPU Modules which
offer various performance classes and archi-
tectures. So it can be equipped with Freescale
i.MX6 series (ARM) as well as x86 solutions
like Intel Quark X1000 or Atom E38xx series.
For the future product life cycle the next gen-
eration of processor module can be used with
the same box.
To specify your requirements this industrial
PC is equipped with a special interface area
where custom interfaces can be added. With
the flexible SIODI (Smart I/O Driver Inter-
face) shields of the GATEBox 100 the system
designers are able to be configured to an indi-
vidual system rapidly. With a special system
service, called SIODI service, the I/O data
becomes available in the OS. SIODI service is
capable of multi instances. So you can connect
to the hardware SIODI I/O shield via various
software instances. For example, you can real-
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