Fujitsu’s embedded mainboards with AMD processors support a wide range of retail solutions
Fujitsu Technology Solutions will show their range of embedded mainboards at EuroCIS 2013 from 19 to 21 February in Dusseldorf (Hall 09 / F56), including the D3003-S series, which supports a great variety of POS, kiosk, and digital signage applications for the retail and service industries. Examples presented by the manufacturer at Europe’s leading trade fair for retail technology will include intelligent scales by Balanças Marques and the in-store TV system installed at Rewe Dortmund, both based on these compact mini-ITX boards.
The mainboards are characterised by the high graphics performance of their processors, based on AMD’s Embedded G series platform. With its integrated GPU, the platform is DirectX-11-enabled and allows the use of HD content at a low power consumption level. The boards also come with an integrated LVDS controller. The rugged mainboards are designed for continuous operation in an extended temperature range, which makes them suitable for use in the fresh food area of supermarkets as well as outdoors. The out-of-band management functionality developed by Fujitsu enables remote access even when devices are switched off or operating systems are down, thus allowing substantial savings in maintenance costs. The fact that the boards are developed and produced in Germany ensures high product maturity and short delivery times within Europe, as well as the best possible support during design-in.
The products of Portuguese company Balanças Marques include precision scales for the food retail industry. In addition to its weighing and counting functionalities, their precision and control scale BM5 features an integrated management software (ETPOS) that was developed in-house. With the help of these scales, the inventory can be managed from the check-out by placing orders, printing invoices, and accessing reports on previous purchases. The LVDS controller on the D3003-S1 mainboard supports 24-bit Dual Channel LVDS and makes it possible to operate two high-resolution displays simultaneously, a 15” display with touch-screen for employees and a second one with a 12” or 7” diagonal for customers. “For us, this was a very important aspect – being able to operate two monitors simultaneously in the best possible resolution,” emphasises Cátia Milhão from Balanças Marques.
Food retailers Rewe Dortmund Großhandels eG already use in-store TV in 45 of their more than 500 shops to inform customers in an entertaining way and advertise products in a flexible, up-to-date way. The solution Nordland Systems GmbH developed for Rewe Dortmund is based on a closed network with a central server system, installed at Rewe Dortmund’s head office. The branches have access to this internal network connecting the PC systems and displays. Four or five displays were built into the fresh food counters of each participating shop to help customers pass the time they spend queuing up. “We have decided to use the Fujitsu kit because it combines reliability and flexibility with the required performance and a good price-performance ratio. Thanks to the kit solution, we were presented with a complete system in no time, including all the necessary drivers,” says Andreas Pankow, General Manager of Nordland.
While conventional desktop-grade mainboards are usually designed for 8/5 operation (i.e. 8 hours a day on 5 days per week), the in-store TV system operates for 12 hours or more on 6 days of week. Scales are also used by employees and customers at a high frequency during all opening hours of the shops. Designed for 24/7 continuous operation in industrial applications, the D3003-S mini-ITX mainboards enable a significantly longer service life of systems compared to desktop boards. They also offer high performance while saving space thanks to their small form factor and remain available for a long time.
Availability of components is a big issue regarding the follow-up costs of embedded systems. If a crucial building block, such as the mainboard, needs to be replaced during a product’s lifecycle because the original component gets discontinued, this can cause heavy losses for the systems manufacturer.
“The needs of users from the field of embedded computing are usually different from those of the consumer market. For manufacturers of embedded applications, the indispensable condition for working with a supplier is the long-term availability of components, not a yearly release of new platforms with a huge diversity of new processors and chipsets. The D3003-S boards used by many of our customers in the field of retail technology have an extended lifecycle of up to five years – compared to a lifecycle of no more than 12 or 15 months for a conventional desktop board. Thanks to long-term availability, it is possible for our customers to achieve an economically sound ROI within the lifecycle,” says Peter Hoser, Sales Director OEM at Fujitsu Technology Solutions.