We all know the drill when it comes to developing a new product. You start with a review of the specs, then go into design review. You scope out the components that you’ll need, and then see if they are available and what the leads times are (note that this step is not nearly as straightforward as it was before the “chip shortage”).
Artificial intelligence has been around for quite some time, both real and the science-fiction variety. Real AI, the kind that’s useful in a host of embedded applications today, arrived in full form about a decade ago. Early examples of AI use include speech and other sound recognition, and for minimal levels of autonomous driving.
Machine vision runs the gamut in factory automation applications, from handling security and maximizing production, to providing predictive maintenance for the machinery. On the production side, tasks could include inspection, orientation, identification, and assembly. While each of these elements could be handled by a human, there are many (emphasis on “many”) reasons why you would want to do this with a machine/computer.
We spend a lot of time discussing security, and for a very good reason. Very simply, you don’t want to get hacked. However, many experts will tell you that it’s inevitable. If your platform is connected to the outside world, you will eventually experience a data breach. Hence, the key is to minimize the damage as much as possible.
On the surface, it may not appear that there’s a difference between consumer versus commercial versus industrial versus military product grades, particularly at the component level. But I assure you there are vast differences. The distinctions are important because they significantly affect reliability, endurance, and total cost of ownership over time.
We’ve spent lots of time discussing the Edge of the IoT, particularly what processes should be handled at the Edge versus those that are better performed in the Cloud. And you’ve probably noticed the focus moving increasingly more toward the Edge, as compute capability grows.
COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) is a term that gets thrown around a lot in the embedded computer industry, particularly on the hardware side. COTS products are optimized for efficient, sometimes volume, production and come with a predetermined amount of functionality and I/O capabilities designed to meet the majority of computing needs of a broader market.