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Congatec banks on Intel Apollo Gate for IoT modules

Steve Rogerson
November 15, 2016

German embedded board maker Congatec used last week’s Electronica in Munich to introduce a range of IoT products using Intel’s Apollo Lake processor technology.
Leading the offerings were the Conga-PA5 Pico-ITX single board computer and the Conga-IA5 thin Mini-ITX motherboard, two industrial-grade, long-term available computing platforms featuring Atom, Celeron and Pentium Apollo Lake processors. System engineers can immediately deploy them to upgrade existing Pico-ITX and Mini-ITX designs and benefit from approximately 30 per cent more processing power and 45 per cent more graphics performance.
Applications range from small sized handheld devices, box PCs and IoT gateways to industrial-grade thin clients, slim HMIs and low-power GUIs. Markets can be found in smart homes and smart cities, digital signage and retail, medical technology, gaming and industrial automation, as well as in shop floor and logistics systems.
They feature security enhancements, real-time computing capabilities and the ability to keep the embedded systems of IoT devices in sync. This is of importance for connected applications such as digital video surveillance, vision based robotics, Industry 4.0 connected devices, traffic control and smart energy grids, as well as various connected computing nodes on ships, planes, trains and automobiles.
“With the new boards, the extended temperature range of -40 to +85Ëš C is back again on the supported features list,” said Martin Danzer (pictured), director of product management at Congatec. “Consequently, all older Bay Trail processor based designs can now switch to the significantly higher performing new processing cores with enhanced feature set. This makes this new generation of motherboards and single board computers far more attractive than its Braswell processor based forerunners. For IoT designers, the new SIM card socket on our thin Mini-ITX boards is of particular interest as it enables new and very fast cellular connectivity options with up to several hundreds of Mbit/s and even more with upcoming virtualised 4G and 5G networks.”
The company also announced its first credit card sized modules for the new Smarc 2.0 specification. These are also based on Apollo Lake technology and include the Conga-SA5 computers-on-module that are claimed to set new standards in terms of low-power processor performance.
They have pre-integrated on board wireless interfaces for IoT connectivity.
A Smarc 2.0 quick starter kit comes with the Conga-SA5  and is said to provide everything developers need for the immediate evaluation of the Smarc 2.0 standard as well as the latest Intel Atom processor generation.
“With Smarc 2.0, developers of highly integrated IoT and Industry 4.0 applications will get the next level of technology on a credit card sized, off-the-shelf module with minimum space requirements,” said Danzer. “The starter kit is an important building block for our Smarc ecosystem enabling a quick evaluation of this latest state-of-the-art technology that satisfies various IoT connectivity requirements.”
The kit’s Smarc 2.0 module provides pre-integrated fast WLAN and Bluetooth LE support. Additional connectivity can be supported with dual Gigabit Ethernet for cloud connected appliances with redundancy or for secure firewalls.
Finally, the company launched a flexible IoT gateway that is application ready and customisable for rapid field deployment. It can host up to eight wireless antennas that can be connected to three mini PCI Express slots and six internal USB based slots for wireless and wired connectivity modules.