Embedded Tech Trends 2019 Wrap-up

In January, Embedded Tech Trends 2019 was held San Diego, California at the Andaz. Located in the heart of the famous Gas Lamp district, the attendees had ready access to great dining and local SoCal activities like the San Diego zoo and the USS Midway.

The theme for 2019 was “The Future is Now!” The presenters were encouraged to talk about how the technology that has been in development the past years now has reached deployment status, bringing us into the future.

Embedded Tech Trends is a small, but extremely effective forum where suppliers of components, boards, and system level solutions can meet exclusively with members of relevant industry media to discuss technologies, trends, and products.

The following is short synopsis of the presentations:

Optical Interconnect Design Challenges in Space

By Guillaume Blanchette, Space Industry Manager, Reflex Photonics Inc.

High throughput communication satellites are being deployed at a high rate and the opportunities for optical interconnect in space are flourishing. Designing for space applications presents additional challenges compare to designing for earth environment. Blanchette discussed many of the challenges in dealing with optical technology in space. (Video 1.)

Video 1: Reflex Photonics’ presentation: Optical Inter-connect Design Challenges in Space.

Re-imagining Product Lifecycles: The Future of Obsolescence

By Ethan Plotkin, CEO, GDCA, Inc.

Obsolescence is at the tail end of the product lifecycle, the portion that no one wants to deal with but is critical to mission readiness. Plotkin knows the issues well. In his talk, he presents new ways to re-imaging solutions to dealing with the entire product lifecycle to better position for part obsolescence.

Preparing for the Next Wave of High-speed Fabrics in Embedded Computing

By Burrell Best, Signal Integrity Applications Architect, Samtec, Inc.

In an ever-increasing connected world, the embedded systems of tomorrow will need to process huge amounts of data. A new generation of low latency, high-speed fabrics will also be required as the future capabilities of the compute devices and memory technologies that are enabling these systems increases. The speeds at which these new fabrics must operate will pose real challenges for interconnect manufactures and system designers. Best expanded on the fabrics emerging today and identified the challenges interconnect manufactures will have to overcome in order to usher in this new era of embedded computing.

AI in Military & Industrial Applications

By Emil Kheyfets, Aitech Defense Systems, Inc.

Embedded computing systems are smarter with each generation. Kheyfets explains the difference between artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. He goes further into the computing technologies that make these levels of intelligence possible in military and aerospace applications.

The Convergence of Cybersecurity and Anti-Tamper

By David Sheets, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

Cybersecurity is topmost on many system architects, but balancing security, anti-tamper protection, and reliability is difficult at best. Sheets walks us through strategies and tactics that can help defend against cyberattacks in this never-ending war.

Inside-the-box Optical Links: High-speed Interconnect Solutions

By Laurence Pujol, Product Manager of optical interconnect solutions, Radiall

VPX chassis have to deal with more and more applications requiring massive data transfer with low latency. This trend boosts the use of inside-the-box high speed optical links. Pujol went into an overview of optical interconnect solutions compliant with harsh environments including transceivers, disconnects, and fiber management.

Back to the Future

By Nigel Forrester, Technical Product Marketing, Concurrent Technologies, Plc

Security is a major challenge with today’s technology. Forrester presented several ways to keep up with the latest security requirements while still enabling you to use your legacy operating systems and applications.

Securing the Supply Chain: The New Imperative

By Chris Cummins, COO, Abaco Systems

The recent revelation by Bloomberg of possible cybersecurity infiltration of the embedded computing market by potentially unfriendly powers has focused attention on the need for total security of the supply chain – especially where boards are destined for deployment in mission critical environments. There are numerous steps that embedded computing manufacturers can – and should – take to eliminate any potential sources of failure or jeopardized missions caused by malicious insertion of compromised components. Beyond this, there are hardware technologies available that can minimize the possibility of a cyber­attack. Cummins outlined the areas of risk and describes strategies to minimize or, ideally, eliminate those risks.

Trends in Packaging and Infrastructure for DoD Modular Systems

By Ken Grob, Elma Electronic Inc.

The Department of Defense (DoD) has embraced open, modular systems. Grob discusses key trends in computer packaging and system infrastructure that is influencing the direction of technology and standards key to the industry. (Video 2.)

Video 2: Elma’s presentation:Trends in Packaging and Infrastructure for DoD Modular Systems.

Making AI Fly

By Devon Yeblonski, Principal Product Manager, Sensor Processing, Mercury Systems, Inc.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is proving to be as disruptive as tank, radar and submarines technologies when they were introduced into the defense domain. Nations are competitively seeking battlefield dominance with their AI-augmented military systems as new technologies are enabling AI processing to move from the data center to the remote, contested tactical edge. Yeblonski introduced the technologies that are making this transition possible. (Video 3.)

Video 3: Mercury Systems’ presentation: Making AI Fly.

VPX and Defense Open Systems Architectures

By Mark Littlefield, Vertical Product Manager, Defense Kontron America

VPX is an attractive platform for Open Systems Architectures (OSA) – and that’s why efforts like SOSA [Sensor Open Systems Architecture] are focused on it. However, it’s also quite challenging because of its scalability and its wide range of product/board types and the needs of different target applications. Littlefield examined the challenges that we’re facing in developing a truly useful, general, and sustainable OSA with VPX, how we’re overcoming them, and what impacts it’s having on our market.

Achieving Safety-Critical Determinism with Multicore Processors

By Richard Jaenicke, Green Hills Software

Safety-critical applications have been slow to adopt multicore processors, which have long been used in general embedded processing to achieve higher throughput and improved size, weight, and power (SWaP). Contention among cores for shared resources such as last-level cache, memory, and I/O make it difficult to achieve the tight determinism required for flight control and other high-assurance applications. Jaenicke reviewed the requirements and challenges of multicore interference and then discusses an approach to enable strict deterministic behavior while utilizing the full parallel execution capability of multicore processors.

Securing Tactical Systems TODAY

By Rob Persons, Sr. Sales Architect, Artesyn Embedded Technologies

Data encryption in naval tactical systems is critical for maintaining data security. As programs use more commercially available products in these systems, the security requirements do not go away but as Persons discusses, it can be managed with today’s commercial processors.

PICMG: What’s Past is Prologue

By Jessica Isquith, President, PICMG

PICMG is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Isquith updates us on the adoption of PICMG standards and what initiatives are underway for new standards, particularly in the area of the industrial internet of things (IIoT) and next generation performance.

The Emergence of Optics in Levels of Electronic Packaging

By Mark Benton, Engineering Manager, Rugged Fiber Optics, TE Connectivity

Optics plays a significant role in next generation rugged embedded computing, with the drive toward higher speeds and smaller form factors. Benton explores the levels of electronic packaging – from the chips to the external cabling – showing how copper interconnect solutions are evolving and where optics technology breaks through.

New Solutions for Rugged Optical Communication

By Patrick Mechin, CEO, Techway

All is moving to high-speed serial into Embedded systems. This trend is originated by the insatiable need for huge data from application. It is fueled by modern sensors and is fully supported by FPGA [field programmable gate array] technology. Mechin presents how we leverage VITA standards to address this need with rugged optical communication.

High-Sped Serial Backplane Architectures: VPX, CPCI-Serial, xTCA – A Comparison

By Hendrik Thiel, HEITEC AG

Thiel provides an overview of the currently leading high-speed serial backplane architectures for demanding embedded applications, including VPX, CompactPCI Serial, and xTCA. In addition to a comparison of their technical features, he covers the acceptance in various market segments and the availability of off-the-shelf boards and systems. Based on that, a relative positioning of the architectures is revealed.

Switch to 25/100Gbs

By Franck Lefèvre, Sales Director, Interface Concept

Integration challenges of rapid interfaces like PCI Gen4 and 25 Giga Ethernet in designs (like boards, backplanes, systems), requires new skills and resources for suppliers that were not required with VME and first gen VPX devices. Lefèvre tells us more about the challenges facing our industry.

Intelligent Interconnects with Integrated Electronics

By Ritch Selfridge, Director of Engineering, Amphenol Aerospace

Interconnects are key to ensuring secure distribution of power and signals while facilitating platform manufacturing and maintenance. Integrating electronic sensors and processing elements enables intelligent interconnect structures that have the potential to reduce weight via intelligent interconnect management and reduce downtime with interconnect structure health monitoring. Selfridge dares us to dream about interconnects will become intelligent autonomous data and power delivery systems.

Tackling Tomorrow’s Enclosure Thermal and Ruggedization Challenges Today

By Justin Moll, VP of U.S. Market Development, Pixus Technologies Inc.

From commercial to weatherproof to full MIL-spec systems, the thermal and density requirements of open standard enclosure systems continue to bring new challenges. Particularly with OpenVPX, solving thermal issues in both commercial and MIL-grade systems demands creative design solutions. Moll provides examples of transforming a commercial enclosure to a rugged MIL chassis with powerful cooling.

A Modern Yet Traditional Approach to Embedded Systems

By Dave Caserza, Embedded Computing Architect, Elma Electronic, Inc.

Embedded computing applications require a very wide range of performance. Caserza explains how many applications don’t need the processing performance, especially at high cost. CompactPCI Serial is an ideal modern technology for simpler needs.

VPX Power – VITA 62: Past, Present, and Future

By Jerry Hovdestad, Orbit Power Group, Behlman Electronics

Hovdestad leads us in a brief history of plug-in power, starting with pre-VPX, pre-VME power, and continues on to show early VPX offerings. Hovdestad discussed original capabilities and the relation to VITA 62 and how capabilities have evolved over the years. The need to generate VITA 62.1, VITA 62.2 and VITA 86 is explained in addition to the current increased power demands and the associated cooling challenges.

Open Technologies, Open Markets: The Value of Standards Participation

By Dylan Lang, Standards Manager, Samtec, Inc.

Today’s embedded systems continue to provide flexible design opportunities while driving many bleeding edge technologies. As a result, the need for embedded systems and standards is greater than ever before. Open-market organizations like VITA facilitate the development of embedded standards. In the efforts to drive standards from idea to reality, active participation is key both for individual companies and the embedded industry. Lang elaborates on the challenges facing standard development and the benefits of overcoming them.

Jump Starting RFSoC Technology for Radar and Mil-Aero Applications

By Rodger Hosking, Vice President and Cofounder, Pentek, Inc.

Systems-on-a-chip (SoC) integrate key functionality into a single semiconductor package. The Xilinx RFSoC integrates RF data converters and FPGA functionality into an SoC specifically targeted at RF applications. Hosking walks us through the market opportunities, design challenges, and module designs opened up by this SoC.

Best Practices for Protecting the Supply Chain

By Steve Edwards, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

Counterfeit parts are a threat to all stated Edwards in his opening remarks. He continued in his presentation to discuss best practices for supply chain management and how to protect your system throughout the entire development and product lifecycle.

Aviation Safety and Security – Can they Coexist?

By Scott Engle, Director of Business Development and Capture, Mercury Systems, Inc.

We all want to be safe and secure. For safety-critical system to be truly safe, they must also include security, the two are not mutually exclusive. Engle elaborates on how safety and security can peacefully co-exist in today’s complex computer systems.

OpenVPX Advancements

By Greg Rocco, MIT Lincoln Laboratory

OpenVPX is a living standard quickly adapting to the needs of the market. Greg Rocco is the father of OpenVPX. He reviewed the latest enhancements and changes to OpenVPX.

Successful Application of Open Architecture Development

By Michael Hackert, NAVAIR

Open standards architectures are being widely embraced in many key programs. A lot of work has occurred in the past few years to make the standards and resulting products suitable for DoD applications. Hackert reviewed that work and hints at several acquisition success stories.

All of these presentations, with video, are posted at www.EmbeddedTechTrends.com. It is highly recommended that you view the videos to get the maximum information.