Small Footprint Excellency for Embedded Applications

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In the 21st century, the ubiquitous Internet of Things (IoT) technology has already generated many new applications that improve human life, bringing us the comforts, convenience, and efficiency of digital signage, bank queuing systems, bus arrival prediction systems, and automobile parking service systems, to name just a few. These applications are usually carried out by thin-client computers and devices hooked to a network with a centralized server. Many of the terminal-end computers are deployed in commercial, industrial, or transportation spaces, indoors or out, and they need to be rugged and durable; smaller form factors and less power consumption are desirable, with a view to saving space, cost, and energy.

Advantech, a world-renowned industrial computer manufacturer, is rolling out its newest palm-size fanless intelligent system, ARK-1122, powered by Intel® Atom™ dual core N2600/N2800 CPU. ARK-1122 reduces power consumption to 10W with higher performance and higher specifications in terms of CPU and memory, storage capacity and I/O support, delivering more powerful computing and graphic performance with additional display interfaces. ARK-1122 comes in three SKUs with varied I/O designs suited for different embedded application scenarios.

With VGA and HDMI outputs, ARK-1122H supports independent dual displays, and provides rich I/O options (4 x USB + 1 x COM). So it’s suited for commercial digital signage applications which require connection with electronics devices. A typical scenario is a bank queuing system, which often has two displays at the bank counter—one for showing queuing numbers and the other for broadcasting videos or other information. ARK-1122H also featured palm-sized design weighing less than 1 kilogram, can easily be installed behind a display with a VESA bracket or in a hidden corner with DIN rail or wall mount. It is extremely competitive on cost, and on space and power requirements.

For applications that need to connect with more peripheral devices, many of which still use serial data transfer interfaces, ARK-1122C is a good option, as it provides rich I/O connections in both serial and USB ports (4 x COM + 4 x USB). A typical application scenario, for example, is that of a parking facility management system, where ARK-1122C can be installed in a kiosk to integrate automatic toll collection, receipt printing and cash machine.ARK-1122C, with a VGA output, can support a kiosk display that shows parking info and also provides rich peripheral connections. More to the points, Computers used in such outdoor applications need to be ultra-rugged and reliable. The ARK-1122C provides wide temperature support of -20 ~ 60o C, and featuring a metal chassis with special anti-corrosion treatment. Its clean, fanless design enhances system longevity.

Many traffic applications need to communicate with mobile vehicles, and wireless connection becomes an important requirement.ARK-1122F provides rich I/O including 2 GbE ports for cable connectionas well as mini-PCIe expansion for wireless 3G/Wi-Fi communications, and supports dual displays (VGA + HDMI), all of which make it well suited for deployment in outdoor information systems such as those for bus arrival prediction. Such a bus arrival prediction system can be enabled by a small ARK-1122F hidden in the equipment box at each bus stop. Each ARK-1122F can support a VGA display that shows bus arrival information and an HDMI display that displays advertisements or service information. A GPS system installed on each bus reports its position in real time to a central server, which in turn controls the content displayed at the individual bus stops. Such applications require rugged industrial computers with excellent data handling ability, networking connection capabilities and display support. With its small form factor and modest power requirements, the ARK-1122F is well positioned to enable these applications.

In addition to the benefits of superior hardware, Advantech also offers stronger firmware and software support. SUSIAccess, a package of embedded software API and utilities that enable remote management and maintenance, is preloaded free with ARK-1122 series. With SUSIAccess or similar firmware/software, the control center can access remote embedded systems via the Internet, monitor device status, and administer remote diagnosis and trouble shooting. With the intelligent management tools, application systems can be scheduled to shut off during office closed hours to eliminate unnecessary power use.