Intel Compute Card’s Potential Impact On Design and Product Life Cycle Management

Intel announced a credit card-sized « Compute Card » that provides a modular approach to designing edge computing power and connectivity into consumer or industrial products.  The Intel Compute Card is a full computer with memory, storage, IO options, and wireless WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.  The product is announced for mid 2017 and potential applications will be both consumer products such as appliances for connected homes but also for commercial equipment.

Intel Compute Card

Synching Life Cycles

Intel’s approach provides an answer to the differences in life cycle duration of a compute module and the physical hardware.  To illustrate this point, let us consider a car.   An average quality car will have a life cycle of at least ten years, but after a few years, the navigation and entertainment systems have an outdated look and performance.  If not only the software but also the hardware of these systems could be refreshed every few years, and brought synch with computer life cycles, cars could be maintained current, and customers and society would benefit from latest connectivity.  Intel mentions the interface would be a standard “USB-C plus extension”.  It would be an additional advantage for the consumer or OEM if this would become global standard.

Implications for Industrial Products

Similar scenarios are thinkable for consumer electronics, but also machine tools, manufacturing equipment and possibly control systems in the future.  We expect this innovation to ripple through into industrial equipment and automation equipment over the coming years.  We expect major benefits from it in terms of reduced development time and effort for creating new products and reduced cost by fit-for-purpose upgrading, as also the Open Group pursues in the domain of process automation.

IoT Modules for Education and Product Development

Intel also provides a range for products for educational purposes as well as for developing and piloting IoT applications to create connected devices, consumer or light industrial IoT, intelligent wearables. Other possibilities are mobile robotics and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and more.  The products come with software packages supporting development of products.  This page gives an overview of available products. Among those products are the Arduino 101 (or Genuino 101 outside the US).


The Intel Compute Card is more suited for industrialization of productions because of the standard module interface, one of key differentiators compared to the Arduino/Genuino and the Raspberry  pi. Intel announced a range of processors for the card, for different computational loads, which also seems more adapted to industrial applications.

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 About ARC Advisory Group ( Founded in 1986, ARC Advisory Group is a Boston based leading technology research and advisory firm for industry and infrastructure.

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 About the Author:

Valentijn de Leeuw

Vice President

Valentijn’s responsibilities include research and consulting in the process industries, with a focus on clients in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Valentijn’s focus areas include organizational change and effectiveness, business process improvement, value-based performance management, governance, project management, knowledge management, operations management, asset management, innovation and engineering, and manufacturing IT. His technology focus is on manufacturing operations management, performance management, supply chain management, and the role of the knowledge worker in manufacturing.

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