Embedded industry upgrades M2M networks

Machine-to-Machine () communications strategies and computing are transforming industrial interconnects from an assortment of fragmented, proprietary technologies to open standards easily integrated into new designs. This new direction in M2M connectivity enables a wide range of applications and services by exchanging real-time data between remote devices, one or more central servers, and authorized third parties.

M2M technology allows embedded design teams to contain costs, improve security, enable remote management, and maximize system availability. The major goal of M2M communications is to combine real-time data from remote devices with enterprise applications to automate everyday company decisions and thus optimize industrial output and lower operating costs.

In this issue of , we asked contributors to take a look at the networking, sensing, and computing issues affecting embedded design for industrial applications. For example, Mike Ueland, senior VP and general manager at Telit Solutions North America, describes the benefits and cost savings associated with M2M connections for remotely monitoring and managing assets. Mike outlines several good reasons to support an M2M industrial application based on cellular technology. In an in-depth interview covering intelligent networking technologies, Tom Barber, director of marketing at Silicon Labs, presents a new wireless microcontroller product that fulfills the requirements of embedded applications with RF connectivity. Tom also highlights the new capabilities offered in low-power mesh networks resulting from Silicon Labs’ acquisition of Ember Corporation. Expanding the discussion, Shaye Shayegani, senior field applications engineer at Lantronix, answers questions on the security and adaptability of industrial networking modules. Shaye addresses the major connectivity challenges that industrial customers are dealing with right now.

Changing the subject to the sensitivity and stability of brushless DC motors in industrial applications, Honeywell Sensing and Control’s Joshua Edberg, senior global marketing manager in the Magnetic Sensors division, and Fred Hintz, engineering manager in the Speed and Position Sensors division, dispel three myths of chopper stabilization techniques. Covering another topic essential to factory settings, Karim Wassef, director of DC-DC product line management at GE Energy’s Power Electronics division, answers questions about the power sources available to operate in hostile conditions such as extended temperatures or corrosive environments. In a software-related topic, Doug Jones and Brian McKay, marketing managers at MathWorks, cover the advantages Model-Based Design offers for complex industrial control systems, allowing users to simulate, test, and debug circuitry before committing it to hardware.

This issue also includes our annual Resource Guide, with a comprehensive directory of embedded products divided into dozens of categories to simplify your next industrial design project. You can find a wide selection of off-the shelf industrial systems, small form factor modules, power sources, panel computers, enclosures, and specialized embedded components to solve your unique requirements. You will also find embedded support software including operating systems plus and motion control systems. Our aim is to provide a reference source of available products that match your future design projects. If you have suggestions or products for the next Resource Guide, please let us know.

The articles and interviews in this issue include a wide-ranging look at the embedded industry from the industrial perspective and should serve as a valuable technical resource for your next design project. Please give us your ideas on technical articles and online updates that we can provide to support your design efforts.