Monthly Archives

April 2018

CIP Member Spotlight: Plat’Home

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The Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) project aims to speed implementation of Linux-based civil infrastructure systems, build upon existing open source foundations and expertise, establish de facto standards by providing a base layer reference implementation, and contribute to and influence upstream projects regarding industrial needs. CIP is driven by some of the world’s leading manufacturers of civil infrastructure systems and industry leaders including Codethink, Hitachi, Plat’Home, Renesas, Siemens, Moxa and Toshiba.

This spotlight series highlights CIP members and how they are contributing to open source software solutions that will benefit the world’s technical systems. Today, we highlight Plat’Home in a conversation with Masato Minda, Manager of IoT Strategic Business Deployment.

What does your company do?

Plat’Home is a pioneer and leader in the open source computing industry including Linux in Japan. When the company was founded in 1993, it focused on Open Source Computing and developing and exploring the new frontier that OSS and Linux can enable. Plat’Home designs, develops and manufactures Linux Servers and Gateways since 1996, and the products are widely adopted by the Japanese Telecommunication Carriers, utility companies, power plants, and social infrastructure including smart city and building.

OpenBlocks 600 with signature by Linus Torvalds (Oct 2009)

 

The manufacturing of Linux Microserver, “OpenBlocks”, which is specially designed for the large-scale deployment of social infrastructure. Plat’Home is trusted by the Japanese customers by our commitment for the long-term use and professional support for both hardware and software including Linux.

Why is your company investing in an open source “base layer” of industrial grade software?

In 2014, we launched a new type of microserver that is designed to address common IoT LAN & WAN connectivity challenges in the IoT market in various use cases, where sensors and devices are embedded ubiquitously in social infrastructure and used long term. Plat’Home is committed to meeting and exceeding customer expectation and requests.

OpenBlocks IoT VX2 (The latest model)

 

Why did your company join CIP? Can you provide a use case scenario?

Since launch, our intention has been to make industrial-, and carrier-grade Linux that we can offer for an extended amount of time. CIP’s mission aligns with ours and will help us achieve long term support for our customers. Our products are currently used in building automation, city management, network management and so on. Under such mission critical circumstances the operating system is required to operate reliably over a long period of time.

How are you currently active in CIP?

As a founding member of CIP, we collaborate with other members in the Technical Steering Committee and help determine technical policy and decisions for CIP. Additionally, we participate in several of the top-tier IoT trade shows such as the Embedded Linux Conference and Open Source Summit Japan. 

What benefits have you seen or what do you expect to achieve?

The current main use of our products is the IoT gateway that are used under conditions that require long-term stable operation in various locations. We believe that the CIP base layer is the best for such applications.

Since Plat’Home has focused on OS, middleware and communication layers, we don’t have many resources available to cover specific vertical needs or requirements. One of the best benefits of being in CIP is that we can collaborate with companies like Hitachi, Siemens, Toshiba and Renesas on the same mission.

Where do you see civil infrastructure systems in 20 years?

Today, Linux is also used on many mobile phones. In the next 20 years, anything that can be connected will be connected. Linux is one of the most important pieces of computer software in devices, network and cloud. We believe it will be the same trend in civil infrastructure systems.

 

CIP on display at ELC-NA

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Last month, CIP participated in The Linux Foundation’s Embedded Linux Conference + OpenIoT Summit North America in Portland, Oregon. Around 730 embedded and IoT technologists from 360 companies and 31 countries around the globe attended the event to collaborate with experts on a wide range of topics of embedded Linux and industrial IoT issues. This was an increase from last year, making this an important industry event for embedded and IoT developers. In fact 75% of attendees already said they are planning on attending next year.

CIP, which sponsored the event at the Gold level, had a strong presence at the show. In fact, Philip DesAutels, Senior Director of IoT for The Linux Foundation, mentioned CIP during his keynote. He was speaking about the increasing trend of how hardware functionality is moving into software and identified CIP as an important Linux Foundation project that is mission critical for the future of smart cities and industrial IoT by providing long term software support.

Philip DesAutels giving his keynote speech at OpenIoT Summit

 

CIP also had a booth in the technical and demo showcase that featured demos from Renesas, which displayed the Real Time Linux Patch, and Plat’Home, which showed the CIP kernel connected to its IoT devices.  Each day of the conference, the showcase hall was packed with attendees who wanted to learn about the latest projects and products, view hands-on demos and interact with other community members. In fact, 98% of attendees survey said they visited sponsor booths.

Additionally, 15 CIP technical experts attended the event from member companies including Renesas, Hitachi, Siemens, Plat’Home, Toshiba and Codethink for a face-to-face TSC meeting, collaborate with other projects and to attend the 12 keynotes and some of the 90 breakout sessions.

Yoshitake Kobayashi, Senior Manager of Open Source Technology at Toshiba’s Software Development and Engineering Center and Chair of CIP’s TSC, also gave a talk about CIP’s mission to develop an open source industrial-grade software for civil infrastructure projects, starting with a 10-year Super Long-Term Support (SLTS) Linux kernel built around the LTS kernel. CIP expects to add other similarly reusable software building blocks that meet the safety and reliability requirements of industrial and civil infrastructure. CIP supports electrical and power grids, water and sewage facilities, oil and gas plants, and rail, shipping and transportation systems, among other applications. If you missed the session, you can watch the video here or view the presentation here.

Yoshitake Kobayashi presenting CIP to ELC attendees

 

Other CIP members Wolfgang Mauerer and Jan Kiszka, both from Siemens AG, also showed their technical passions for other topics. Wolfgang shared best practices, how to design and run automated statistical tests that capture relevant information, and how to properly evaluate the resulting data. Jan offered a deep dive into the Xenomai community, plans to revive it, maintaining the core and defining its relationship to PREEMPT-RT. The presentation is available here.

Wolfgang Mauerer from Siemens giving a talk about statistics and evaluation

Jan Kiszka from Siemens sharing plans to revive the Xenomai community

 

Overall, the CIP members interacted with other open source projects, learned more about IoT best practices, shared their knowledge about embedded and Linux and got a chance to have some fun.

For more about CIP, read the latest coverage:

Additionally, CIP will be attending Open Source Summit Japan on June 20-22 and the Embedded Linux Conference (ELC) Europe/OpenIoT Summit Europe in the UK on October 22-24. Stay tuned here for more details or come see us there!