Streamlining embedded-computing design with COMs

June 30, 2020 //By William G. Wong
embedded-computing design
Using computer-on-module (COM) hardware allows designers to concentrate on their applications. It can also simplify the design of the carrier board. To that end, a number of COM vendors provide a range of solutions. I spoke with Daniel Lang, Chief Marketing Officer at Toradex, about COM and system-on-module (SOM) solutions.

Also discussed were the challenges faced by designers and how these platforms help streamline the design process.

What would you say is the most common misconception people face while choosing a computer-on-module?

I think for many, it’s challenging to make an objective judgment of the total-cost-of-ownership when comparing COMs with each other or with other solutions such as chip-down designs…this isn’t intuitive because many different stakeholders are involved. Most understand the time savings in the hardware-development phase, but typically for products that are shipped for years, maintenance of software and hardware is a major part.

Daniel Lang, Chief Marketing
Officer, Toradex.

Then there’s the software stack. Software support can be quite different between different COMs, such as the quality and scope of the available software, the ecosystem, long-term support, online resources, and more. Other points to consider are the risk and opportunity costs associated with a slower development process.

How is the industrial automation landscape changing in your opinion?

One of the most significant changes we see is that now almost all devices are connected. Frequent features or security updates are common requirements. Another development is that Arm-based systems are now capable of higher-performance tasks typically reserved for x86-based systems, including machine-learning tasks at the edge.

And how do you fit in?

Toradex focuses on making embedded computing easy. We do so by providing COMs with tightly integrated software support concentrating on simplifying the development and maintenance of modern devices in verticals such as industrial automation, healthcare, smart city, transportation, and test and measurement. Toradex is also cultivating a rich ecosystem of software, hardware, and engineering companies to help our customers bring successful products to market.

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