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Congatec Expands into Software for Industrial Internet of Things

To reduce the complexity of embedded systems used in factory control and other real-time applications, many companies are investing more in software. Congatec, which makes embedded computer boards and modules, recently bought Real-Time Systems to expand into hypervisor software for the embedded market.

Real-Time Systems, based in Ravensburg, Germany, and founded in 2006, has designed an embedded hypervisor, a type of software that allows multiple operating systems to share a single block of hardware. Real-Time’s customers mostly build test and measurement, factory automation and medical equipment.

The company’s software consolidates real-time operating systems, which support more precise timing and reliability than general purpose operating systems meant to run inside things like personal computers or smartphones. An R.T.O.S. is more suited for factory robots or industrial Internet of Things applications.

A hypervisor can run several operating systems simultaneously because it allows each operating system to act as though it has the processor, memory and other hardware all to itself. For example, a processor in an autonomous car could use a hypervisor to process data from a front-facing camera and a rear-facing radar in different cores.

Real-Time Systems can combine any operating system with any x86 processor. The company says that its hypervisor has been used in thousands of systems worldwide. The software allows customers to add real-time applications without using additional hardware or hurting reliability, the company says.

Gerhard Edi, Congatec’s chief technology officer, said that the company would boost its investment in Real-Time Systems, which will be an independent subsidiary of the company. “For instance, we want to extend the functionalities of the RTS Hypervisor in order to open up new markets in the field of transportation,” he said in a statement.

“All RTS customers will benefit from these investments,” he assured, adding that “this is because the RTS Hypervisor is independent of any RTOS and GPOS, which gives us the chance to set new standards.” Real-Time partners with operating system makers like Wind River, Microsoft and Blackberry’s QNX business unit.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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