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Linaro partners with IIC on upcoming 96Boards Industrial Edition spec

Dec 7, 2018 — by Eric Brown 456 views

[Updated: Dec. 18] — Linaro and the Industrial Internet Consortium announced a partnership to collaborate on open source Arm standards for industrial IoT involving OTA, TSN, and security, and develop a 96Boards Industrial Edition spec. Then the IIC announced

In September Arm-backed Linaro, which creates open source Linux and Android code for Arm devices and oversees the 96Boards open hardware standard, joined the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). This week the IIC and Linaro announced a partnership to work on Arm industrial IoT (IIoT) standards.

Of particular interest is a plan to develop a 96Boards Industrial Edition spec. Other projects will include standardization around Over-The-Air (OTA) updates, Time Sensitive Networking (TSN), and trustworthiness (i.e. digital trust security systems).


This story has been updated to add the Dec. 18 announcement that the IIC was merging with the OpenFog Consortium under the IIC name in early 2019. “The Industrial Internet Consortium, now incorporating OpenFog, will be the single largest organization focused on IIoT, AI, fog and edge computing in the world,” stated IIC President Bill Hoffman.

IIC partnership stems from Linaro structural changes

When we covered the launch of the IIC back in 2014, we had no great faith it would amount to much. Led by industry giants like IBM and GE, the IIC announced a goal to develop industrial IoT standards that define the interface between Internet of Things devices and cloud services. As it turns out, the consortium has expanded to hundreds of members and 19 working groups. It regularly releases research, guidelines, standardized terminology, testbeds, and more.

The Linaro collaboration will occur within the IIC Liaison Working Group, co-chaired by Linaro, Huawei, and Arm. The group will “output documents defining requirements for shared engineering work, which will be fed into Linaro’s Edge & Fog Computing Group (LEDGE),” says the IIC. LEDGE is a new group formed this summer as part of a reorganization of Linaro, which involved the realignment of Linaro’s major segment groups with three major industry categories: device, fog and edge, and data center and cloud.

As a result, the Linaro Networking Group (LNG) has morphed into LEDGE, as well as the OpenDataPlane (ODP) project and Linaro Telco & Network SIG (LTNS) groups. LTSN is more targeted on near-term solutions while LEDGE “is looking into the strategic future at where networking will be,” says Linaro. That future will exist increasingly on the edge: “It is simply not feasible to run factories, transport or cities via cloud based remote data centers,” wrote Linaro’s David Rusling in a blog post on the reorganization back in July.

Rusling predicted that future edge and fog networking will involve fluid swarm and mesh networking system in which “nodes keep joining and leaving impromptu networks.” This will require flexible device onboarding, possibly built around Blockchain and machine learning algorithms, he projected. Other trends include multiple simultaneous connections to different clouds and increasing interoperability — an area where Rutland points to OpenFog as the leading light.

No details were provided about the upcoming 96Boards Industrial Edition. Many of the Linux-driven, open-spec 96Boards Consumer Edition (CE) SBCs offer interfaces that can be used in light industrial applications. There’s also a more industrial appropriate, 160 x 120m 96Boards Enterprise Edition (EE), although it’s primarily aimed at video expansion via PCIe. 96Boards EE SBCs include LeMaker’s AMD A1100 based Cello and Arrow’s NXP LS1012A based Oxalis.

While the EE boards run Linux, there’s also an IoT Edition spec for low-end IoT node boards, some of which can be used in industrial settings. Most, such as Seeed’s Zephyr-driven Carbon, use MCUs and don’t run Linux, but last year Shenzhen Xunlong launched a Linux-driven Orange Pi i96 with a Cortex-A5 based RDA8810PL SoC.

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