Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 with PCie/NVMe support next year

In recent interview with Eben Upton, the CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading, we finally had Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 release confirmation, probably in 2021. He shared some details about the upcoming CM4 features, such as single-lane NVMe support.

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module, CM4, we will support NVMe to some degree on that,  because of course, it [Raspberry Pi 4] has a PCI Express channel. (…) We have a single lane Gen 2 which is used to supply USB 3.0 on the Raspberry Pi [4]. On the [Compute] Module that would be exposed to the edge connector and we’re likely to support NVMe over that.

Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading

First Rasbperry Pi 1B model had it’s analogy in industrial Compute Module 1 after almost 2 years from it’s premiere. Compute Module 2 was probably omitted because the change from RPi1 to RPI2 mainly involved a minor change of the processor (Cortex-A7 900MHz), which was almost immediately replaced with Cortex-A53 1.2GHz in Raspberry Pi 3.

The premiere of Compute Module 3 occured a year after RPI 3 announcement, providing a significant boost of industrial market solutions. Since Raspberry Pi 4 was a great success in 2019, we might see it’s equivalent in industrial series of Raspberry Pi – Compute Module 4. A possible release date of Raspberry Pi’s Compute Module 4 is somewhere inbetween 2020/2021.

Raspberry Pi is gaining recognition in Industry

Almost a year ago, in the beginning of 2019, Raspberry Pi Foundation presented Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+, a successor to previous CM3 version of development board, aimed at businesses and industrial users. The Compute Module uses a standard DDR2 SODIMM (small outline dual in-line memory module) form factor. GPIO and other I/O functions are routed through the 200 pins on the board.

Only a few months later, in June 2019, came big premiere of Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, the long-awaited successor of customer RPi3+. With new processor, larger RAM options and PCIe/NVMe support, CM4 might be a black horse of industrial automation in 2021.

It seems a matter of time before the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ will get its own successor, called Compute Module 4, a new milestone of professional embedded IoT module. What might be the specification of this highly expected development board?

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+
Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 probable specification

Compute Module 4 specifications probably will look like these:

  • Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 @ 1.5GHz will highly plausible replace previous Broadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 64-bit SoC @ 1.2GHz,
  • 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM will become a standard options, instead of fixed 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM,
  • PCIe/NVMe support via single lane
  • Current flash memory (eMMC) options: 8GB / 16GB / 32GB from CM3+ will probably stay the same,
  • weight and factor will stay the same, to provide a possibility to upgrade current IoT applications of CM3 and CM3+

With much higher performance, the new Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 will, for sure, support Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 expansions with PCIe/NVMe single lane. We might even see wider working temperature range, if Raspberry Pi Foundation decides to make some hardware changes, to follow, for example, ESP32 – used in end-point IoT automation.

Industrial use of Compute Module

With Compute Module 3+ options from Raspberry Pi, TECHBASE upgraded their ModBerry 500/9500 industrial computers. From now on the ModBerry 500/9500 can be supported with extended eMMC, up to 32GB. Higher memory volume brings new features available for ModBerry series. Upcoming Raspberry Pi’s Compute Module 4 will be fully compatible with TECHBASE’s ModBerry 500/9500 controllers, oferring extended features.

 ModBerry 500 with Compute Module 3+
ModBerry 500 with Compute Module 3+

Higher performance of ModBerry 500/9500 with extended eMMC flash memory, up to 32GB , powered by quad-core Cortex A53 processor allows the device to smoothly run Windows 10 IoT Core system, opening up many possibilities for data management, remote control and visualisation.

NarrowBand-IoT one of standards for Industrial IoT

The NB-IoT is becoming a standard in wireless communication of IoT devices, for standalone solutions and complex installations with thousands of units, coordinated with gateways. Will NarrowBand-IoT replace other wireless technologies in industrial automation?

What exactly is NarrowBand?

NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT) is a radio technology in the field of LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) dedicated for IoT devices, operating on the licensed frequency band used by telecommunications operators.

The biggest advantages of NB-IoT include:

  • long battery life (up to 10 years),
  • efficiency in the amount of data transferred,
  • intra-building penetration,
  • the ability to connect even tens of thousands of devices in one system,
  • a global standard,
  • a high level of security and low cost

You can build mass solutions and those that until now were considered unprofitable. NB-IoT technology works in the licensed band, so there is no risk of interference and blocking communication by competing networks.

The service life of devices powered by two AA batteries is up to 10 years. However, the devices themselves are constructed in such a way that they can work for many years without the need for technical supervision and recharging the battery.

NB-IoT used in industrial solutions

One of many uses of NarrowBand-IoT wireless modems can be communication of edge devices, dedicated to data management, process control (e.g. with MQTT protocol) and monitoring. Latest ESP32-based eModGATE controller from TECHBASE company is a series utilizing MicroPython environment to provide data management solutions for end-points applications. The eModGATE has built-in Wi-Fi/BT modem and can be equipped with additional NarrowBand-IoT modems

eModGATE eqipped with wireless NB-IoT modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

Supported bandwidths:

  • Global-Band LTE CAT-M1:  B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B8/B12/B13/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28/B39;
  • Global-Band LTE CAT NB-IoT1:  B1/B2/B3/B5/B8/B12/B13/B17/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28;
  • GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900Mhz Control Via AT Commands

Supported data transfer:

  • LTE CAT-M1(eMTC) – Uplink up to 375kbps, Downlink up to 300kbps
  • NB-IoT – Uplink up to 66kbps, Downlink up to 34kbps
  • EDGE Class – Uplink up to 236.8Kbps, Downlink up to 236.8Kbps
  • GPRS – Uplink up to 85.6Kbps, Downlink up to 85.6Kbps

Raspberry Pi 4 use in Industrial IoT solutions

Every fan of new technologies has heard of small single-board computers (SBC) in the form of Raspberry Pi 4. Raspberry debuted on the market in many different versions, and the current model is Model 4B. A lot of people got infected with it for DIY, programming or Linux. But new board comes with variety of pros and cons, as compared to previous RPi3 versions.

Industrial use of market Raspberry Pi 4 SBCs

A year ago, TECHBASE released an updated version of the ModBerry M500 industrial IoT computer, replacing the aging Raspberry Pi 3 with a 3B+, giving it better performance. With the recent launch of the Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE has yet again, announced another upgrade to the M500, which now packs the latest single-board computer.

ModBerry M500 with Raspberry Pi’s 4

ModBerry M500 also utilizes many more SBC platforms, such as Orange Pi, NanoPi and Intel-based UpBoard. Find more information here: https://iiot-shop.com/product/modberry-m-series/

Available open source ventilator projects to help COVID-19 patients

When the news came out that ventilator shortages could be a problem, many saw the need for alternatives to the big manufacturers and rushed to create them. Unlike industrial projects, these projects were open and shared. Currently, Robert Reed and his group are starting to systematically evaluate the ranking of over 80 such open source projects.

Their work is a milestone in public research and development efforts to solve problems. For many ventilator builders, the group recognized the need for independent evaluation and testing of various projects. This control provides important feedback to both designers and future builders. This is a service you can expect from government regulators if they can act very quickly.

Reid and colleagues Geoff Mulligan, Lauria Clarke, Juan E. Villacres Perez and Avinash Baskaran to help to learn about these studies. This includes submission of modular team designs that allow distributed production and unique suggestions for testing and monitoring these systems. This is called VentMon.

Industrial Arduino-like devices as a base of medical equipment?

When industrial IoT devices and edge devices, like medical equipment work together, digital information becomes more powerful. Especially in contexts where you need to collect data in a traditional edge context, or control the servo-motors of a ventilatr. You can then remotely monitor the container using the sensor.

By introducing AI (artificial intelligence) into the device itself, edge computing can also make more context-sensitive, quick decisions at the edge. Data gathered from the sensors can be transferred to the cloud at any time after local work has been completed, contributing to a more global AI process, or archived. With the combination of industrial IoT devices and advanced technology, high quality analysis and small footprint will become the AI standard in 2020.

Industrial IoT use of ESP32 chip in eModGATE

Latest innovations used in industrial solutions

One of many uses of IoT can be edge devices, dedicated to data management, process control (e.g. with MQTT protocol) and monitoring. Latest ESP32-based eModGATE controller from TECHBASE company is a series utilizing MicroPython environment to provide data management solutions for end-points applications. The eModGATE has built-in Wi-Fi/BT modem and can be equipped with additional NarrowBand-IoT, LoRa, ZigBee, etc.

For example eModGATE eqipped with wireless NB-IoT modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

ModBerry M500 series with SSD/M.2 support and next level configurability

In 2017, TECHBASE Group introduced an industrial-grade automation controller, based on popular Raspberry Pi 3 board. The device called ModBerry M500 incorporated latest Raspberry Pi SBC and TECHBASE’s standard industrial board to enhance the capabilities of market RPi3.

ModBerry M500 added wide range of I/Os to the board, including RS232/485 serial ports, digital and analog I/Os, 10/100Mbps Ethernet port, USB, 1-Wire and optional CAN. ModBerry series also offers additional wired interfaces and wireless communication modules with their proprietary modules called ExCard. The range of wireless modules include 3G/LTE, NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT), Wireless M-Bus, ZigBee, LoRa, Sigfox, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and many more.

Rasbperry Pi 4 upgrade of ModBerry M500

In 2019, with the premiere of Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE upgraded their ModBerry M500 device with the latest revision of this popular SBC, further enhancing the performance of their device. New 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 processor (approximately 3 times better performance than previous Cortex-A53 powering Raspberry Pi 3+ Model B and Compute Module 3 and 3+). ModBerry M500 can now be configured from 2GB / 4GB LPDDR4 SDRAM options.

Revised ModBerry M500 features Gigabit Ethernet, USB3.0, two microHDMI ports supporting OpenGL ES 3.x and 4Kp60 hardware decode of HEVC video. The device is fully compatible with previous versions of Rasbperry Pi based Industrial IoT devices and accessories from TECHBASE.

M.2 SSD support for ModBerry M500

Latest software update for Raspberrry Pi 4, now available in beta, makes it possible to boot directly from USB 3.0 connected drive, without the need for an SD card. With a possibility to run the OS directly from SSD is a massive breakthrough, allowing users to improve the performance of the system and data access speed.

ModBerry M500 offers now a feature to include M.2 SSD drive in industrial-grade device. The merge of industrial interfaces and SSD-boosted Raspberry Pi 4 is a perfect solution for on-site data management and gateway application.

ModBerry M500 roadmap for 2020+

Difficult times of coronavirus outbreak in early 2020 changed the expectations for new Industrial IoT devices. Slowed market needed some adjustments to overly expanded devices with reserve of not quite necessary features for different applications – often raising the price of the device.

New addition to ModBerry M series and Industrial IoT Ecosystem offered by TECHBASE Group is the revised ModBerry M500 Lite device, to ensure the full configurability of device’s resources.

ModBerry M500 Lite features:

  • Quad-core ARM Cortex-A72 1.5GHz processor
  • 2/4GB and new 8GB LPDDR4 RAM option
  • SSD M.2 support for mass storage boot
  • Industrial-grade enclosure with DIN-rail mount
  • RTC

ModBerry M500 Lite optional resources:

  • Serial RS232/422/485 ports
  • Digital and Analog I/Os
  • Relays
  • 10/100Mbps Ethernet
  • CAN, 1-Wire
  • M-Bus Master / Slave
  • TPM Security chip
  • OLED 0.96” screen
  • SuperCap UPS

New ModBerry M500 Lite not only is a versatile device with wide array of available optional resources, but also incredible fast with quad 1.5GHz processor, up to 8GB RAM and last but not least, M.2 SSD bootable drive for system, applications and rapid data availability, without the need to bootstrap an SD card. RTC with watchdog option and additional TPM Security chip ensures data safety and breach protection.

Pricing and availability of ModBerry M500 Lite

Price of the device is yet to be specified, but it will be significantly lower than standard ModBerry M500, which can be configured here. Preliminary devices are available to order – please contact our sales department via contact form or Live Chat at https://iiot-shop.com/ to receive a quotation for the configuration needed.

Raspberry Pi sales rise during coronavirus pandemic

In March, sales of Raspberry Pi single-board computers totaled 640,000. The consumer find it the cheapest way to start tinkering and drove to the second-largest sales month since Raspberry Foundation began selling for home use.

Other uses of Raspberry Pi computers are more directly associated with the appearance of COVID-19. For example, in Colombia, efforts are underway to run a ventilator on a Pi computer, and if successful, it will help solve the problem of the lack of traditional ventilation equipment in this country.

I think what this is telling us is that we’re seeing genuine consumer use of the product. It’s not like your desktop PC – you’re not going to be able play Crysis on it – but if you want a machine you can use to edit documents, use the web, use Gmail and Office 365 and all the baseline use cases of a general purpose computer, the Raspberry Pi 4 is a product we’ve made to get over that bar.

Eben Upton, the Raspberry Pi’s co-creator for Techrepublic

When the Raspberry Pi Foundation asked to talk about how to deal with COVID-19 using Raspberry Pi devices, one of the most common uses he saw was 3D printing with use of Raspberry Pi, especially for 3d-printed faceshields.

Raspberry Pi 4
Raspberry Pi 4

Arduino-based ventilator to help coronavirus patients

A month ago we wrote about Arduino-based solution, similar to the one tested in Columbia. As far as manufacturing and using home-made medical equipment is not advised, the spread of the COVID-19 might push humanity to such solutions. Johnny Lee’s project involves a simple, low-cost ventilator controlled via Arduino.

The idea is that since these machines are basically just blowers controlled by a brushless DC motor, an Arduino Nano equipped with an electonic speed controller could allow it to act as a one. Such a setup has been shown to provide more than enough pressure for a ventilator used on COVID-19 patients. This device has in no way been evaluated or approved for medical use, but it does provide a starting point for experimentation.

Source: https://blog.arduino.cc/2020/03/17/designing-a-low-cost-open-source-ventilator-with-arduino/

New #CoronaIOT initiative from Industrial IoT manufacturer

Trends indicate a weakening of many sectors of the economy, including the IoT sector. However, we can prevent the upcoming crisis with products and technology keeping up with the inevitable changes in our daily lives.

TECHBASE Group took the challenge of gathering potential partners for projects that serve improvement of health safety and worldwide trend of Social Distancing. The program will periodically present new IoT projects, involving manufacturers, software and hardware developers, new technology influencers and media.

Industrial Raspberry Pi powered devices as a base of medical equipment?

When industrial IoT devices and edge devices, like medical equipment work together, digital information becomes more powerful. Especially in contexts where you need to collect data in a traditional edge context, or control the servo-motors of a ventilator. You can then remotely monitor the container using the sensor.

By introducing AI (artificial intelligence) into the device itself, edge computing can also make more context-sensitive, quick decisions at the edge. Data gathered from the sensors can be transferred to the cloud at any time after local work has been completed, contributing to a more global AI process, or archived. With the combination of industrial IoT devices and advanced technology, high quality analysis and small footprint will become the AI standard in 2020.

ModBerry M500 with Raspberry Pi’s 4 on-board

Battery powered IoT devices crucial to 2020+ standards

Technology must transfer data to the central system in real time, otherwise it may have negative consequences. If the sensor battery power runs out, a machine failure may stop production for one day or lead to direct danger. If battery life is unbelievable and short, IoT applications will become useless, causing more interference rather than making life easier for its intended purpose. Therefore battery powered IoT devices come as a standard in up-to-date IoT installations

Wireless sensors and sensor networks are one of the elements of the Internet of Things systems and intelligent factories. Replacing the standard sensors and data collection devices with versions that communicate wirelessly gives many benefits, but also enforces a highly thought-out system design that will minimize energy consumption. This is important because these systems must work for many years without servicing. In the article we present the issues regarding the design of systems and forecasting of energy consumption in IoT systems.

Wireless communication vs Battery power

The idea of wireless sensor networks has been around for at least two decades, while the IEEE subgroup working on personal wireless networks defined the 802.15.4 standard in 2003, a year later the first versions of ZigBee appeared. Since then, many varieties of wireless communication have been developed, such as LoRa & NarrowBand-IoT and additional functions introduced, as a result of which designers now have a choice of various open or proprietary protocols. What significantly affects the way the entire project is implemented is energy consumption.

Obrazek posiada pusty atrybut alt; plik o nazwie battery-iot-esp32-1030x386.png
Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

The basic elements of these systems are sensors that measure physical quantities. Some signal and data processing capabilities are also important. After all, the communication interface is important, which will allow you to pass the measured data on. Such a sensor node should wake up from time to time, make contact with its superordinate controller, transfer data and fall back to sleep again. Battery life depends on the total charge collected. Minimizing this consumption in the long run means that you need to minimize energy consumption during each work cycle. In many cases, the sensor will only work for a small fraction of the time. A measurement that lasts a few milliseconds can be triggered once per second, once per minute, or even less frequently. Therefore, the energy consumed in sleep mode may dominate the total energy consumption.

Battery-ready IoT devices based on ESP32

Battery / SuperCap power support allows the processes and data to be securely executed, saved or transferred, and the operating system to be safely shutdown or reboot, if the power source has been restored. The power failure alert can also be sent to cloud service, to perform custom task, specified by user or self-learning AI algorithm.

The Moduino device is a comprehensive end-point controller for variety of sensors located throughout any installation. It fully supports temperature and humidity sensors and new ones are currently developed, e.g. accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, etc.

Battery powered Moduino ESP32
Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

ModuinoModBerry symbiosis allows wide range of wake-up/sleep schedule customization, in order to perform best and save energy accordingly to power supply state. Arduino and MicroPython environments provide libraries to control different scenarios of data and power management.

With built-in algorithms and the possibility to program on your own, the TECHBASE’s sleep/wake addon module can wake the device using schedule/timer. Another option is wake on external trigger, e.g. change of input, etc. All the options for sleep, shutdown and wake can be configured for various scenarios to ensure constant operation of devices, safety of data and continuity of work in case of power failure in any installation. Check battery-powered Moduino X0

Almost half of IoT developers use AI in their projects

The latest research results from IoT Newark developers reveal that 49% of respondents use AI in their IoT applications. There is also a growing concern about user privacy and the more frequent introduction of ready equipment.

35% of respondents think security is the major concern for any IoT implementation, mainly due to the type of data collected from the things (machines) and humans, which is very sensitive & personal. We can expect to see more and more encryption everywhere. Businesses who initiate IoT projects treat IoT security as their top priority.

SBCs the main platform for Industrial IoT

SBC is still the preferred hardware foundation for IoT gates, then 54%, followed by personal projects (30%) and silicon supplier platforms (13%). It is unclear whether the latter includes a commercial computing module. As shown in the graph above, many IoT programmers need third party help, especially for edge-to-cloud communication.

About 45% of respondents use environmental sensors for IoT devices, followed by motion sensors (26%) and optical / image sensors (15%). WiFi (67%) is the most popular wireless technology in Internet of Things projects. The next places are Low cellular energy and Bluetooth, followed by LoRa at 21%. The survey results also include responses to programming languages, cloud platforms, IoT data, project motivation and more.

Artificial Intelligence influencing Industrial IoT

From the end of 2017 to 2018, artificial intelligence-specific processors (AI) began to appear on mobile devices. The goal is to make smartphones more intelligent. As GPUs shrink, AI-related equipment becomes necessary for the Internet of Things.

Support for enterprises from platforms such as Google TensorFlow will be introduced in 2020 with equipment adapted to artificial intelligence. TensorFlow is already optimized for mobile devices and can be quickly launched on single-board computers. In many ways, AI frameworks are better than other mobile frameworks, such as ReactJS. The AI structure is not designed to work with the user interface. It’s perfect for the Internet of Things.

Until the end of 2020, artificial intelligence will be as important for IoT devices as the cloud.

COVID-19 monitoring set based on Raspberry Pi

COVID-19 monitoring set based on Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi devices are often used by scientists, especially for capturing and analyzing biological data. A particularly noteworthy sober project has published news this week.

According to the researchers at UMass Amherst, FluSense is about the size of a dictionary. Includes an inexpensive microphone set, heat sensor, Raspberry Pi and Intel Movidius 2 neural engine. The idea is to use AI on the edge to classify audio samples and determine the number of people in a room at any given time.

Image courtesy of the University of Massachusetts Amherst

We believe that FluSense has the potential to expand the arsenal of health surveillance tools used to forecast seasonal flu and other viral respiratory outbreaks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or SARS,” Rahman told TechCrunch. “By understanding the ebb and flow of the symptoms dynamics across different locations, we can have a better understanding of the severity of a novel infectious disease and that way we can enforce targeted public health intervention such as social distancing or vaccination.

Source: https://www.networkworld.com/article/3534101/covid-19-vs-raspberry-pi-researchers-bring-iot-technology-to-disease-detection.html

Crowd monitoring with Raspberry Pi

The device distinguishes cough from other sounds. By combining cough data with information about the size of the crowd at your location, you can get an index that predicts the number of people who may be experiencing flu symptoms.

Currently we are planning to deploy the FluSense system in several large public spaces (e.g., large cafeteria, classroom, dormitories, gymnasium, auditorium) to capture syndromic signals from a broad range of people who live in a certain town or city,” they said. “We are also looking for funding to run a large-scale multi-city trial. In the meantime, we are also diversifying our sensing capability by extending FluSense’s capability to capture more syndromic signals (e.g., recently we added sneeze sensing capability to FluSense). We definitely see a significant level of commercialization potential in this line of research.

https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/flusense-takes-on-covid-19-with-raspberry-pi/
ZigBee Mesh used in industrial IoT applications

ZigBee Mesh used in industrial IoT applications

ZigBee mesh‘s usefulness for IoT is partly due to the fact that it is an open standard. The same products can be used all over the world, which gives customers a large selection of available option. The high competition between products and producers means that the created solutions are innovative, characterized by high quality and give customers a considerable choice. Many suppliers of cooperating elements of this ecosystem mean that they are not limited to any specific brands or specific semiconductor manufacturers.

Competitiveness of ZigBee based solutions

With a maximum data bandwidth of 250 kbps at 2.4 GHz, ZigBee is slower than other popular wireless standards such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but it doesn’t matter in typical sensor applications. ZigBee Mesh is designed to send small data packets at relatively long intervals, which is usually sufficient to collect data from temperature sensors, safety sensors, air quality monitoring systems and similar subsystems. In the meantime, the low bandwidth affects the low power needed for the system to work, so that ZigBee nodes can usually work for many years on a single AAA battery.

ZigBee Power Consumption. Source: ZigBee Alliance
ZigBee Power Consumption. Source: ZigBee Alliance

With low power consumption, ZigBee supporting products typically have a short transmission range – typically from 10 to 15 meters, and the signal they emit is easily disturbed by obstacles on the route, or changes in the environment. However, the beauty of ZigBee devices lies in their work as part of a lattice topology network, where each of them transmits signals between themselves over a total of longer distances. The grid topology also means that damage to a single device will not stop the entire network, as communication can simply be redirected.

Industrial use of ZigBee Mesh

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting ZigBee Mesh technology is eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE, including ZigBee modem.