Acrosser’s AMB-IH61T3 Mini-ITX Board is Now Available for Both the Gaming and Industrial Automation Industries.

When two separate devices need to communicate with each other on a single board computer, there should be a channel to bridge the communication: the COM port. acrosser’s AMB-IH61T3 is a board that supports up to 10 COM ports for multiple applications.
AMB-IH61T3 and Gaming Solutions
AMB-IH61T3, the Mini-ITX form-factor single board computer, has many characteristics that those in the gaming industry long for.  These characteristics include superior computing performance, numerous expansions, and a long life cycle. The board also features unrivaled connectivity with its remarkable 10 COM ports (1 x RS232, 1 x RS2323/485, and 8 x RS232 pin headers). For gaming machines or arcade vendors, multiple gaming peripherals, such as buttons, lamps, hoppers, or a coin acceptor, can all be integrated into the final gaming product, adding more depth and interactivity to the game. The combination of I/O, 10 COM ports, and dual display makes AMB-IH61T3 a suitable option for the gaming industry.
In the automation industry, interconnection of multiple industrial measurement devices is a necessity. These devices include sensors, PLCs, servos, inverters, temperature controllers, barcode scanners, air quality monitors, etc. With proper design and verification, the 10-serial-port AMB-IH61T3 can easily integrate these devices and provide the perfect control center solution for industrial environments.
To learn more about the AMB-IH61T3 Mini-ITX board, please send us an inquiry , or contact your local Acrosser sales vendor for detailed information.
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Building the Internet of Things with DDS

The real value of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet (I2) is ubiquitous information availability and consequently the decisions that can be made from it. The importance of ubiquitous data availability has significantly elevated attention on standards-based data sharing technologies. In this post, I’ll analyze the data sharing requirement characteristics of embedded systems and describe how the Object Management Group (OMG) Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard ideally addresses them.

Data sharing in IoT/I2
Data sharing patterns within IoT/I2 embedded systems can be classified as follows:

Device-2-Device. This communication pattern is prevalent on industrial systems where devices or digital signage systems need to efficiently share data, such as industrial plants, vehicles, mobile devices, etc. Device-2-Device data sharing is facilitated by broker-less peer-to-peer infrastructures that simplify deployment, foster fault-tolerant, and provide performance-sensitive applications with low latency and high throughput.

Device-2-Cloud. Individual devices and subsystems interact with cloud services and applications for mediating data sharing as well as for data collection and analytics. The Device-2-Cloud communication can have wildly different needs depending on the application and the kind of data being shared. For instance, a remote surgery application has far more stringent temporal requirements than a smart city application. On the other hand, the smart city application may have more stringent requirements with respect to efficient network and energy management of the device. Thus depending on the use case, Device-2-Cloud communication has to be able to support high-throughput embedded systems and low-latency data exchanges as well as operation over bandwidth constrained links. Support for intermittent connectivity and variable latency link is also quite important.

Cloud-2-Cloud. Although few systems are currently being deployed to span across multiple IaaS instances or multiple IaaS regions (such as deploying across EC2 EU and U.S. regions), it will be increasingly important to be able to easily and efficiently exchange data across cloud “domains.” In this case, the data sharing technology needs to support smart routing to ensure that the best path is always taken to distribute data, provide high throughput, and deliver low per-message overhead.

Besides the data sharing patterns identified above, there are crosscutting concerns that a data distribution technology needs to properly address, such as platform independence – for example, the ability to run on embedded, mobile, enterprise and cloud apps, and security. The DDS is an embedded systems for seamless, ubiquitous, efficient, timely, and secure data sharing – independent from the hardware and the software platform. DDS defines a wire protocol that allows for multiple vendor implementations to interoperate as well as an digital signage that eases application porting across vendor products. The standard requires the implementation to be fully distributed and broker-less, meaning that the DDS application can communicate without any mediation, yet when industrial communication can be transparently brokered.

 The basic abstraction at the foundation of embedded computer is that of a Topic. A Topic captures the information to be shared along with the Quality of Service associated with it. This way it is possible to control the functional and non-functional properties of data sharing. DDS provides a industrial set of QoS policies that control local resource usage, network utilization, traffic differentiation, and data availability for late joiners. In DDS the production of data is performed through Data Writers while the data consumption is through Data Readers. For a given Topic, Data Readers can further refine the information received through content and temporal filters. DDS is also equipped with a dynamic discovery service that allows the application to dynamically discover the information available in the system and match the relevant sources. Finally, the embedded systems Security standard provides an extensible framework for dealing with authentication, encryption, and access control. Among the standards identified as relevant by the Industrial Internet Consortium for IoT and I2 systems, DDS is the one that stands out with respect to the breath and depth of coverage of IoT/I2 data sharing requirements. Let’s see what DDS has that make it so special.

Device-2-Device. DDS provides a very efficient and scalable platform for Device-2-Device communication. DDS implementation can be scaled down to deeply embedded devices or up to high-end multicore machines. A top-performing digital signage implementation, such as PrismTech’s intelligent data sharing platform, Vortex, which can offer latency as low as ~30 usec on Gbps Ethernet networks and point-to-point throughput of several million messages per second. DDS features a binary and efficient wire-protocol that makes it a viable solution also for Device-2-Device communication in network-constrained environments. The broker-less and peer-to-peer nature of DDS makes it an ideal choice for Device-2-Device communication. The ability to transparently broker DDS communication – especially when devices communicate through multicast – eases the integration of subsystems into IoT and I2 systems.

Device-2-Cloud. DDS supports multiple transport protocols, such as UDP/IP and TCP/IP, and when available can also take advantage of multicast. UDP/IP support is extremely useful in applications that deal with interactive, soft real-time data in situations when TCP/IP introduces either too much overhead or head-of-line blocking issues. For deployment that can’t take advantage of UDP/IP, DDS alleviates the problems introduced by TCP/IP vis-a-vis head-of-line blocking. This is done through its support for traffic differentiation and prioritization along with selective down-sampling. Independent of the transport used, DDS supports three different kinds of reliability: best effort, last value reliability, and reliability. Of these three, only the latter behaves like “TCP/IP reliability.” The others allow DDS to drop samples to ensure that stale data does not delay new data.

The efficient wire-protocol, in combination with the rich embedded computer transportation and reliability semantics support, make DDS an excellent choice for sharing both periodic data, such as telemetry, as well as data requiring high reliability. In addition, the built-in support for content filtering ensures that data is only sent if there are consumers that share the same interest and whose filter matches the data being produced.

 Cloud-2-Cloud. The high throughput and low latency that can be delivered by DDS makes it a perfect choice for data sharing across the big pipes connecting various data centers.

In summary, DDS is the standard that ideally addresses most of the requirements of IoT/I2 systems. DDS-based platforms, such as PrismTech’s Vortex, provide device solutions for mobile, embedded, web, enterprise, and cloud applications along with cloud messaging implementations. DDS-based solutions are currently deployed today in smart cities, smart grids, smart transportation, finance, and healthcare environments.

If you want learn more about DDS check out this tutorial or the many educational slides freely available on SlideShare. Angelo directs the company’s technology strategy, planning, evolution, and embedded computer strategy. He also leads the strategic standardization at the Object Management Group, where he co-chairs the Data Distribution Service Special Interest Group and serves on its digital signage Board. Angelo is a widely known and cited expert in the field of real-time and distributed systems, intelligent data sharing platforms and software patterns, has authored several international standards, and has more than 10 years of experience in technology management and design of high performance mission- and business-critical distributed systems. Prior to joining digital signage sector, Angelo served as a Software Scientist within the SELEX-SI Strategic and Technological Planning Directorate. He earned a Ph.D. and a M.S. in Computer Science from the Washington University in St. Louis, and a Laurea Magna cum Laude in Computer Engineering from the University of Catania, Italy.

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Location, location, location: Experts offer advice for in-store kiosk placement

“It always amazes me to see the groups that just don’t pay attention to kiosk location,” said Frank Olea, CEO of Cerritos, California-based manufacturer Olea Kiosks Inc. “It’s as if they assume that if you build it, they will come.” But that is clearly not the case, according to kiosk indusrty experts. Customers are only interested in what really attractes their attention.
“The best location for any kiosk is where it will be best utilized for the optimum customer experience,” said Greg Buzek, president of Franklin, Tennessee-based research firm IHL Group. “If the kiosk’s purpose is providing industrial information, then the best place is either a high-traffic area or the store area where customers have the most questions. It makes little sense to have centralized answer kiosks when the bulk of the questions are for a specific area of the store. If you have several areas where customers might have frequent questions, position the answer kiosks consistently so customers know where to look to get the information they need to make buying decisions.”
Think of a kiosk like a industrial automation business, Olea advises. “Why would you open a business on the worst possible street corner when you know it’s only destined to fail?” he said. “Just like a business, the kiosk needs to be well marked and highly visible to passersby. It needs to be easy to get to, and out of the flow of traffic.”
If the kiosk is an entirely new category of service automation before, then the deployer must place it right in the most visible spot possible, Olea said. “This is because, otherwise, how would people know to even look for it?” he said. “If your kiosk isn’t anything new, but you’ve taken something that always existed in one location and are now making it available in several locations, placement and adequate digital signage on and around the kiosks become important. Just placing your kiosks all over the store doesn’t guarantee that people will find them. If customers do see the kiosks, but they don’t have adequate signage, will they know what they are?”
Frank Meyer & Associates
“Depending on the function of the kiosk, placement should be a combination of visibility, accessibility and convenience for the consumer at the point of purchase and during the information-gathering process while they are shopping,” said Ron Bowers, senior vice president of business development at Grafton, Wisconsin-based kiosk vendor Frank Mayer & Associates.
Bowers suggests the following locations:
Wayfinding kiosks should be placed at the entrance or front of the embedded computer to help consumers with their shopping process; Loyalty check-in kiosks should be near the cart corral to allow the consumer to initiate the shopping procedure, access coupons and download custom shopping lists; Endcap display kiosks let consumers download product information that targets their needs; Endless Embedded Computer in each of the store’s sub-departments allow consumers to order products in sizes and colors that are not on the shelves; and Kiosks should be placed in the services department to reduce lines for product returns and to provide insight on customer relations.
TIO Networks
“Self-service kiosks are meant to be convenient for your customers, but users want to feel that their transactions are still private,” said Jason Plante, senior director of supply chain management and logistics at Vancouver, Canada-based financial self-service kiosk company TIO Networks Corp. “Your kiosk placement should demonstrate both convenience and privacy while still being situated within the view of store staff so that they can help users who have questions.”
Plante recommends:
For transactional kiosks, avoid high-traffic embedded computer areas such as next to the counter or entrances and exits. Self-service kiosk users who obstruct the normal flow of foot traffic within a location will only feel rushed to end their transaction, and they may not come back next time; Wherever your self-service kiosk is placed within your store, ensure the store staff understand the features and benefits of the kiosk. Your store staff become your embedded computer to all potential new kiosk users, and, if the staff don’t convey a clear, positive experience to a potential new user, the customer may not use the terminal at all;
Placing your self-service terminal beside a familiar device such as an ATM may help users feel more comfortable using your kiosk for the first time; and Give your users enough room to conduct their business at your self-service kiosk. Similar to avoiding high-traffic areas, let your users feel comfortable at your kiosk.
“Every visitor has to pass by an entrance or exit at least twice in their visit to any store,” said Nicholas Yee, product manager of Toronto, Canada-based wayfinding technology firm Jibestream. “That makes these locations great for messages, or for offering functionality that visitors should know about. From a wayfinding perspective, it’s very useful to give users the ability to find what they’re looking for, right as they walk into the store.”
For Yee, the best locations are:
Checkouts: Nobody enjoys waiting in line, so, while these visitors are probably already on their way to becoming a paying customer, why not present them with information that may attract them to pick up a second item during their trip? Then give them the ability to view directions on how they can get to that item in the store, right from the kiosk so that they can easily act on that impulse purchase. Waiting rooms: Recent studies have shown that in health care, informing users of what they can expect during their visit to the hospital via helpful signage and messaging can greatly reduce the number of frustrated visitors. By applying this concept to a commercial environment, stores can help their customer service staff by reducing the amount of aggravated customers they have to deal with. These customers may have become further aggravated as they wait in line. So why not give them access to a kiosk that can give them an engaging focus point, and help them be more time-efficient by allowing them to plan the rest of their trip through the store?
Near elevators and escalators: As people are travelling through a store, one of the key decision points during their journey is when they approach an elevator or escalator. If the retailer provides them with a wayfinding kiosk, customers can be sure of where they need to go next.
Promotional areas: In addition to physical signage located near areas displaying promotional campaigns, stores can leverage the high customer traffic that visits these areas by installing a kiosk. Stores can use the kiosk to promote events or sales, while increasing the number of people who will see the retailer’s advertising. The kiosk can help manage a store’s traffic by diverting people from a high-traffic area to different places in the store via a wayfinding application.
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Acrosser Releases the PCI-E x16 Slot AMB-IH61T3 Mini-ITX Board, for Your Industrial Automation System

acrosser Technology, a leading provider of industrial and embedded computers, debuted the AMB-IH61T3 today, an industrial Mini-ITX motherboard with the highest cost-performance ratio yet, powered by an Intel H61 chipset supporting 3rd/2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3 processors.

Generous I/O Connectivity
The AMB-IH61T3 possesses high connectivity and multiple high-speed I/O ports. Built with 8 USB ports/headers and 10 serial ports/headers, this board provides sufficient and flexible connection possibilities, especially for KIOSK and industrial automation system integrators to link and manage multiple peripherals.
Expandable Graphic Power and Functionality
The Mini-ITX AMB-IH61T3 equipped with a PCI-E x16 slot, brings you not only more expanded functionality, but also enhanced graphic power. You can even choose to leverage an additional graphics card on top of the slot to improve visual effects for any kind of gaming application, or use the multiple displays for industrial automation purposes.
The industrial PC industry has been craving smaller, more affordable portable computing devices. We responded to this demand by introducing our cost-effective Mini-ITX platform AMB-IH61T3, making mini-computing more usable and redefining the embedded SBC market.