Why The Lines Between Embedded & Industrial Computers Must Never Blur

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Over the years, the distinction between embedded and industrial computers has been slowly diminishing. Nowadays, people use the two interchangeably, both in definition and operation. An example of this is how these different machines are currently being utilised. Various sectors now utilise embedded computers as small versions of industrial computers although experts say this setup isn’t ideal. To most users, however, the technological value of both types of computers is virtually the same, making their difference negligible.

Industrial vs. Embedded

To understand why there is a difference between an industrial computer and an embedded system, it is essential to know what they are. An embedded computer is an exclusive system that is part of a larger, complicated system. Embedded computers can range from small microchips that run smartphones to large ones that operate heavy machinery. Industrial computing, on the other hand, refers to a rugged system that is suitable for operation in harsh environments, such as places with high temperature or dusty settings.

Why the Line is Blurring

A lot of factors contribute to this blurring line between embedded and industrial computers. One is that embedded computers are dramatically increasing in performance output. The primary motivation for using industrial computers is the raw power they provide in terms of performance. It is not hard to understand why embedded computers are being used interchangeably when they provide sufficient performance.

The Risks

It may seem harmless to use embedded systems in place of industrial computing, however, there are risks. One of them is that companies now leave industrial computing to IT specialists with expertise in embedded computing. There are still differences in the structure of embedded and industrial computers. Industrial machines have sturdier, more reliable motherboards and the maintenance they require is not the same with embedded systems. With industrial computers, there is an emphasis on the hardware used in comparison to embedded systems that concentrate on cost.

As much as the distinction between industrial and embedded systems is slowly blurring, it would be remiss not to acknowledge that interchanging the two has consequences.


Embedded Computer Systems, ECE.NCSU.edu