Whenever I first see the specs for a new edge computing system it never ceases to surprise me how much support we provide for legacy I/O standards like RS-232 that have long disappeared from the PC form factor.
The reason we do this is because many customers want to be able to connect the system to plant machinery and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) equipment that they have been using for years. Backward compatibility is therefore a critical requirement.
Naturally, customers also want the systems support more modern connectivity interfaces such as USB and DIO for GPIO as well, so we need to be very flexible in our design philosophy to make sure that we can meet as many different I/O needs as possible.
One example of this approach is the VIA ARTiGO A600 smart building automation system that we will be showing at Embedded World 2018. As well as two Mini USB 2.0 ports, this ultra-compact fanless system has four 3-pole Phoenix RS-485 ports with full 3.75KV isolation, a COM connector for an RS-232 port, and a DIO port supporting 8 GPIO interfaces to provide a wealth of I/O connectivity options. In addition, it also features a built-in Ethernet port and optional Wi-Fi module to enable reliable communications between the equipment and the enterprise network or cloud for remote online monitoring and management applications.
A second example is the VIA ARTiGO A630 Automation Telemetry System, which is designed to optimize the remote management and monitoring of CNC machinery with its RS-232 port and DIO port supporting 8 GPIO interfaces plus an integrated Ethernet port and support for a choice of optional 3G or Wi-Fi modules.
The legacy I/O features in these systems can be enabled using the Linux and (in the case of the VIA ARTiGO A600) Android BSPs that we provide for them. For more information please check out the VIA ARTiGO A600 and VIA ARTiGO A630 product pages.