Kontron launches SMARC Certified Design Partner programme

August 22, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Kontron’s programme supports customers in application-specific integration of SMARC Computer-on-Modules. Within this program, customers can make use of the entire scope of hardware integration services ranging from evaluation and development to complete system and software integration.

According to defining group SGET (Standardisation Group for Embedded Technologies), “The SMARC ("Smart Mobility ARChitecture") is a versatile small form factor computer Module definition targeting applications that require low power, low costs, and high performance. The Modules will typically use ARM SOCs similar or the same as those used in many familiar devices such as tablet computers and smart phones. Alternative low power SOCs and CPUs, such as tablet oriented X86 devices and other RISC CPUs may be used as well. The Module power envelope is typically under 6W.”

Kontron Certified Design Partners are trained on SMARC-based carrierboard designs and offer I/O know-how for customer-specific carrierboard designs based on latest SMARC Computer-on-Modules. A further focus in the program is the software aspect of hardware integration, i.e. OS image creation, driver adaptations or the integration building blocks such as the new Intel Gateway Technologies for the Internet of Things. The first SMARC Certified Design Partners to qualify are b-plus, Fortec, HY-LINE, ies, and Next-System.

The Certified Design Partner Program aims to ease the integration of SMARC modules into customer-specific applications, Jens Wiegand, CTO at Kontron explains. “One goal of the Partner Program is to expand and intensify the individual software services within the hardware integration of the modules and carrierboards to enable engineers to focus on developing new services required for the Internet of Things. So the more application-ready platforms including value adding services are available, the better engineers are equipped to achieve tough roadmap goals,” Wiegand further states.

Michael Sieg, Managing Director of b-plus GmbH, comments: “For a large number of OEMs, dealing with a new platform such as SMARC presents a challenge. The implementation efforts are becoming more and more complex, especially for all the internet-connected applications with high security demands. Parallel to this, the global competition is stepping up and fast time-to-market is required, even when developer teams are pushed to their capacity limits. It is therefore essential to offer extensive services for efficient hardware integration for ARM as well as x86 appliances accomplished by a fitting software environment making the whole customer systems power saving and reliably working in mobile and extended temperature applications.”

“The SMARC standard has just come at the right time for us,” says Martin Steger, Managing Director of ies GmbH, intelligent embedded systems. “For many years now, we have been active in several markets with demands for ultra low-power, versatile and high-performance Computer-on-Modules. Especially for markets with a long term view for 10 years and more the SMARC form factor gives a better future sustainability and reliability than any other formfactor on the embedded market today.”

“The standardisation of modules for ARM- and x86-based SoC processors is an essential step in implementing the added value of a standardised form factor in the low-power, SFF appliances arena. The demand for application agility and therefore the flexibility for standard-based cross platform designs is growing fast, so it is a consistent step to extend the proven Kontron Certified Design Partner Program to embrace the SMARC Computer-on-Modules,” comments Markus Bullinger, Managing Director of Fortec.