The MicroZed Industrial IoT Starter Kit

Share this post:

There are a number of IoT Starter kits on the market today, with many focused on the Maker and DIY enthusiasts. The price points are attractive – in the $50 to $100 range. They seem to be capable of doing just about anything and are often promoted as a great starting point for IoT developers. So why would anyone want to pay $300 for the recently introduced Avnet MicroZed Industrial IoT Starter Kit?

To start with, let’s recognize the distinction of ‘Industrial’. Industrial implies it’s different from the others, but what does that really mean?

Production-ready hardware

The kit is based on the MicroZed system-on-module, or SOM. For development, the MicroZed plugs into an off-the-shelf carrier card for rapid prototyping. Once a design concept is proven using the development system, designers can then migrate the MicroZed SOM to their own custom designed carrier card. MicroZed can be purchased as an off-the-shelf module, resulting in a simpler and lower cost custom carrier card.

High performance

The MicroZed processing system is based on the Xilinx Zynq®-7000 All Programmable SoC. Zynq is the combination of a high performance, dual core ARM Cortex™ A9 processing system with a block of programmable logic, or FPGA. The processing system offers the ability to run standard operating systems like Linux, real-time operating systems, or a combination of the two. The programmable logic provides a unique capability to create custom interfaces or custom accelerators. Together, they provide a versatile, performance optimized solution.

Application ready operating system

In working with Wind River, Avnet’s MicroZed SOM comes bundled with Wind River’s Pulsar™ Linux. This small footprint, high-performance, secure Linux distribution provides a certified and ready-to-use binary image specific for the MicroZed SOMs. Pulsar not only provides a small, reconfigurable Linux kernel, user space, and file system, it also offers a path to full production support with extended maintenance and security updates.

IBM Watson IoT platform enabled

Out of the box, the MicroZed IIoT Starter Kit boots to a cloud enabled example design. The connection agent to Watson IoT Platform is already bundled with the Pulsar Linux. A reference design using IBM’s Bluemix services provides an excellent starting point for collecting, analyzing, and taking action. Everything you need to start your IoT development with Bluemix is included.

Extended temperature range

The MicroZed module that the kit is based on supports both commercial temperature (0° to +70° C) and industrial temperature (-40° to +85° C) ranges. This is critical for certain industrial applications that are subjected to harsh environments.

Development support

A commercially backed kit brings with it a higher level of support. Avnet provides a host of on-line tutorials, example designs, and a support forum. A global deployment of field application engineers also enable on-site support in certain situations.

Production support

Unlike the Maker and DIY kits that have no guarantee of long term production or product change notifications, the MicroZed SOM offers a +5 year production plan. This can be an important consideration for companies basing their product on an off-the-shelf board.

Everything tends to have its purpose. For Makers and DIYers, there are lots of low cost options for IoT experiments. For professional developers of Industrial grade, high performance IoT devices or gateways, the MicroZed IIoT Starter Kit is worth considering. It offers the ideal sandbox for both software and hardware developers, while ensuring a smooth path to a production deployed system. Take a look on the MicroZed website.

More SaaS stories

How artificial intelligence is reshaping the high-tech industry

Written by Grant Bodley | November 29, 2018 | Blog, Electronics

It’s ironic that some companies in the high-tech industry making transformative electronics need to reinvent themselves to have a successful future. They don’t have to start over. But they do need to consider how they will transform their products, services and businesses to answer consumer demand and overcome disruptive market forces. There are two fundamental more

The Get Connected quiz: are you ready to transform your business?

Written by Chris O'Connor | October 30, 2018 | Blog

I hope you’ve gotten connected with me these last several weeks. I was talking to a colleague about why I wrote these. And it really comes down to one thing: IoT is taking place all around us. Are you and your company participating in the digital transformation, and impacting the physical world? Or are you more

There’s something for everybody at the Agile Engineering Summit!

Written by Steve Shoaf | October 5, 2018 | Blog

On October 15-17 in Washington, DC, IBM is hosting its 5th event focused on software and systems engineering. Known in the past as IoT Continuous Engineering (ICE) and as Continuous Engineering (CE) Summit, this event is now called Agile Engineering Summit. It will provide opportunities to find out how federal, automotive, industrial, A&D, healthcare and electronics more