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ew 2024: congatec Meets Edge Computing and Real-Time Demands

Christian Eder, Director of Market Intelligence at congatec, a global leader in embedded solutions, discusses how the company is meeting customer demands for edge AI and real-time capabilities at embedded world 2024.


What has been the impact of edge computing on your customers?

Christian Eder: It’s almost, let’s say everywhere. So data bandwidth is not good enough. So we’re at the edge. So classic IoT, and nowadays we might call it just edge computing, but it’s everywhere. It’s affected, every device will be connected or is already connected. So we have this challenge ongoing forever. Either it’s cabled, or it’s wireless. So based on computer modules, all of this is possible. And we’re absolutely flexible, of course, to react on customer requirements, which are very broad. You can imagine if, let’s say a edge server or a robot controller, all of those such devices and have similar, but not same requirements.

What kind of interest are you seeing surrounding AI in this space?

Christian Eder: Of course, there’s much more compute power now. And of course everybody here around here at this trade show asked about AI, how to do AI. It’s still some question marks, how they can really bring this fancy new technology into their applications. And it’s coming down actually, right now to a kind of hype but it’s also coming down to a realizing phase. So, we see that they work on the models, they continue to, to improve their applications, even at areas where I never expected it, honestly. So it’s even, let’s say controlling a CNC machine. I never thought about what, what should AI do. But it supports the operator. Very strong, also on the medical part, again, to support the operator, to see the critical parts here from a ultrasonic scan or so. It’s offloaded. So we have AI much more locally, and not just here at the data center. So that’s a big trend, because we get the performance here to the CPUs. We get the performance locally. We don’t need to transmit everything to the cloud, to compute it and to bring it back, because we are real-time oriented. So everything at the edge is much more real-time and fast reaction. Just think about a robot of course, must react fast when trying to find its way through the factories.

How is determinism and the need for real-time capabilities emerging?

Christian Eder: Of course, real time in general is a big, big thing. Everything which moves in the industrial automation needs real time. And before, of course everything was just in the real-time computing locally. But everything must be connected. And now the possibilities are completely there. All of our platforms support TSN. We have deep support oof real-time computing. And it even extends down to, we see it here on this demo, even down to the camera, to the data, capturing it from the camera, even the cameras that supports this position, timing protocol, for example, to have the complete determination in the application from end-to-end, from the camera down to the motor, which drives the application.

How is congatec leveraging the latest Intel technologies?

Christian Eder: Almost everything from Intel here on the embedded type. So, we have the have it here on COM Express, the latest Core, Core Ultra. I still get used to the new names actually. So the Core Ultra is great, because it has the integrated AI acceleration, and that’s more and more utilized. So the performance of an application is no longer just defined by the CPU performance. So for long, we, we are happy with the great GPU performance, which is integrated. And also now here we see AI accelerators. So overall combined performance is great, and which enables completely new applications, which have not been reachable at this power envelope.

Are those advanced capabilities offered in congatec’s solutions?

Christian Eder: Yep. Of course, it’s not just on COM Express. For sure, we have it on COM-HPC, you know. That’s my baby. I’m chairman here of the committee for COM-HPC. Also the complete platform supports TSN, and even down to the smaller solutions. So for smart, you know, the really small things, we have the latest Intel technologies, of course also perfectly integrated in real-time applications. So all of that. So, I think we never had a broader product portfolio as we have today.

What does embedded world 2024 mean to congatec?

Christian Eder: Of course business, no doubt about that. And, we see here, after the second day we have demanding challenges here to really generate new projects, generate new business. And we already met this threshold actually, so there’s one more day to go, and we already done with our targets actually. So that’s pretty good. but we see, we want to of course get attention here, to see higher levels of software stacks as well. You see, with our new setups here, our ready platforms. We combine the hardware, the module, with the latest Intel performance CPUs with software stacks. We have the Hypervisor, which means you can do system consolidation, run multiple operating systems on the same platform to utilize the multi-cores and even on real-time that can be done. And to add more and more software stack on top of it. For example, we support Control X operating system from Bosch here. And this allows to do, let’s say, no code programming, or low code programming here for complete industrial applications. If you want to have a PLC, you can use Bosch Control X, and just install it from the app store as the PLC software. And that’s all given and certified on this platform. And it’s prepared for the challenges of enhanced security, which is demanded for the future. Of course, also for today.

About the Author

Brandon is a long-time contributor to 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, DM him on Twitter @techielew, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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