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IoT INNOVATIONS

embedded world 2024 Highlights Growing Demand for Edge AI

embedded world 2024

The embedded world Exhibition and conference is known for showcasing the most impressive advances in embedded systems and technologies. And embedded world 2024, which took place from April 9 to 11 in Nuremberg, Germany, was no exception. Intel and Intel® Partner Alliance members showcased the latest innovations in the embedded space, from edge AI to software-defined manufacturing, and everything in between.

Next-Generation Edge Processors Launch at EW 24

The event specifically highlighted a growing interest in edge AI, which demands a mix of performance, efficiency, and workload-optimized compute. Intel addressed all three dimensions at the conference with a series of processor launches that included the new Intel® Core and Intel® Core Ultra processors, Intel® Arc GPU, and Intel® Atom x7000RE processors.

The new Intel Core and Intel Core Ultra processors were built from the ground up for edge AI workloads. They feature a hybrid architecture consisting of AI Boost NPUs, integrated Intel Arc GPUs, and performance and efficiency CPU cores that help match the compute type to the workload at hand. Avnet Embedded, an embedded compute and software solutions provider, put these new processors to the test in a vision processing and motion control demo at embedded world.

The benchmarks speak for themselves. The new Intel Core processors deliver 2.57x faster graphics performance than the previous generation. Meanwhile, Intel Core Ultra processors for Edge deliver more than 5x image classification performance compared to previous-generation Core desktop processors. TQ-Systems, a technological service provider and electronics specialist, released an edge AI computing platform based on COM-HPC Mini and the new Intel Core Ultra processor at embedded world, demoing high performance for demanding AI workloads.

For more demanding AI and graphics use cases, the Intel Arc GPUs for the Edge bring 2.4x Resnet50 inference and 2.28x H.264 video decode compared to the leading competitive architecture. The new edge GPUs pair with a comprehensive development stack that includes the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit to make programming and deploying software on the advanced Intel® Xe-core architecture a breeze.

But one of the biggest announcements from the event came in the smallest package. Intel Atom® processors x7000RE Series processors provide major upgrades to the embedded community, including 2x the cores, 2x the graphic base frequency, and a refreshed design for deep learning inferencing at the industrial edge.

To demonstrate the latest capabilities and benefits, congatec, a global leader in embedded systems, released the conga SA8, an industrial-grade SMARC module that fills a credit card-sized form factor. It features native support for WiFi 6E, enabling the module to handle TSN-over-WiFi (Video 1).

Video 1. congatec discusses meeting customer demands for edge computing and real-time capabilities at EW24. (Source: insight.tech)

Supermicro, an IT solution provider specializing in AI, cloud, storage, 5G, and edge technologies, also revealed at the event that its edge compute portfolio now incorporates support for the Intel Atom x7000 RE processors. This integration delivers the necessary performance and power-efficiency required for intelligent edge applications. For example, the company’s SYS-E100-14AM and SYS-E102-14AM IoT edge servers bring high-efficiency AI and edge computing in an ultra-compact, fanless form factor.

Elsewhere on the show floor, computer manufacturing company AAEON showcased the ‘E’ variant of the Intel Atom x7000 series released earlier this year. In a demonstration of performance and power efficiency, a demo of the PICO-ADN4 PICO-ITX board ran real-time traffic analysis on four CPU cores at just a 12W TDP.

This is just the beginning for the Intel Atom x7000RE, which is expected to be deployed in similar edge AI applications that require time-critical connectivity in the future.

Unlocking Hybrid AI’s Potential

With much of the focus on achieving the benefits of edge AI, hybrid AI architectures stood out as another highlight of the show. Hybrid AI enables real-time AI processing on edge devices while also leveraging the cloud for deeper data analysis.

Key capabilities of this architecture include:

  • Leveraging AI for real-time use cases like product inspection and defect detection.
  • Identifying relevant data (like images of defective parts) for transmission to the cloud, thereby reducing networking costs compared to sending entire data sets from the edge.
  • Additional layers of depth with cloud-based inference on more powerful data center hardware offer additional layers of depth.
  • Ability to train cloud-based models on more granular and controlled data sets, filtered by edge inferencing operations.

At the show, Intel and its partners demonstrated their leadership in developing full-spectrum hybrid AI solutions. For example, Supermicro showcased how its platforms can support both edge and cloud functionalities, enabling seamless data flow and intelligent processing across both environments.

Additionally, partners like graphics card market leader Sparkle Computer Co. LTD demoed at the show. And component-level solutions developer Matrox displayed how it uses the latest Intel Arc GPU to enhance AI performance (Video 2). These latest GPUs, which were also announced at the event, are designed to handle large data sets and complex algorithms—making them ideal for scenarios where edge devices collect vast amounts of data that need quick processing before being sent to the cloud.

Video 2. Matrox displays the power of intelligent video processing with Intel Arc GPUs at embedded world 2024. (Source: insight.tech)

The Software-Defined Manufacturing Revolution

The show also emphasized the ongoing shift toward software-defined manufacturing. This paradigm focuses on using software to control and automate manufacturing processes, making them more flexible, efficient, and adaptable to changing market demands.

Significant contributions to this revolution have come from industry leaders such as ExxonMobil and Schneider Electric. These companies have played pivotal roles in development and promotion of the Open Process Automation Standard (OPAS). OPAS is designed to create open and interoperable systems in manufacturing, breaking down traditional barriers and fostering innovation through greater flexibility and reduced reliance on proprietary solutions.

Furthermore, standards like OPAS and the newly introduced InterEdge are critical in shaping the future of manufacturing. InterEdge, for example, supports integration of edge computing into industrial settings, enabling more localized data processing and immediate response capabilities.

Together, these standards lay the groundwork for a new era of manufacturing governed by software capabilities, leading to improved operational efficiency, reduced costs, and enhanced production quality. These developments mark a significant step forward in the evolution of industrial manufacturing, pointing toward a future where flexibility and efficiency are paramount.

An Exciting Year Ahead

Developments at embedded world 2024 suggest that this will be a year of growth and transformation in the industry. As AI becomes more deeply ingrained and industrial processes are increasingly directed by software, opportunities for innovation and progress are set to increase.
 

This article was edited by Christina Cardoza, Editorial Director for insight.tech.

About the Author

Brandon is a long-time contributor to insight.tech going back to its days as Embedded Innovator, with more than a decade of high-tech journalism and media experience in previous roles as Editor-in-Chief of electronics engineering publication Embedded Computing Design, co-host of the Embedded Insiders podcast, and co-chair of live and virtual events such as Industrial IoT University at Sensors Expo and the IoT Device Security Conference. Brandon currently serves as marketing officer for electronic hardware standards organization, PICMG, where he helps evangelize the use of open standards-based technology. Brandon’s coverage focuses on artificial intelligence and machine learning, the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, embedded processors, edge computing, prototyping kits, and safety-critical systems, but extends to any topic of interest to the electronic design community. Drop him a line at techielew@gmail.com, DM him on Twitter @techielew, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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