3 use cases for embedded platforms enabling HMIs and IoT systems

The demand for intelligent human machine interface (HMI) systems, flexible panel PCs and easy-to-configure Internet of Things (IoT) gateways for industry remains strong and will continue to grow.

In the development of these innovative industrial products, flexible design and optimized time-to-market are the main priorities. The aim is to bring the new system onto the market quickly in order to secure valuable market share.

The driving forces are modern applications —  diverse visualization and complex display solutions, object recognition systems, IoT gateways, medical devices, professional infotainment systems, building automation systems, transportation applications and gaming systems.

To quickly develop a precisely tailored hardware solution for each application, more and more standardized basic components are being used.

A broad section of predefined, already verified building blocks such as embedded computer modules or connectivity solutions can get designers so far. Combining a standardized computer-on-module (COM) with a standard baseboard can move designs even further.

These use cases illustrate some of the outcomes:

Human-machine interaction for fitness equipment


  • Eliminate one-time engineering costs
  • Ensure long-term availability of solution
  • Accommodate changing system needs over time

SimpleFlex Solution:

  • Flexible architecture based on ARM or x86 processors
  • Stable platform based on fixed long-term design
  • Adaptable assembly options


  • SimpleFlex provides fast time to market and flexible capacity for change that persists over the long-term lifecycle of the solution.

Railway passenger information and ticketing system


  • Create carrier board without in-house hardware engineering resources
  • Provide customizations for onboard railway operating environment

SimpleFlex Solution:

  • Ready-to-use SimpleFlex carrier with minor changes
  • Assembly customization to add DIP switches to adjust display settings
  • Configuration of board with locking connectors


  • SimpleFlex drives down non-recurring engineering costs and accelerates time to market.

Large-format customer-interaction display


  • Replace existing solution developed in-house with small LCD and simple microcontroller
  • Meet market expectations for large displays with video and PCAP
  • Produce at low volume (<2000 units per year)

SimpleFlex Solution:

  • Off-the-shelf carrier board, with zero one-time engineering cost
  • Variable design based on ARM or x86 architecture as needed
  • Customization through assembly options


  • SimpleFlex cost-effectively provides fast time to market and variable design at low production volume, with excellent technical support.

One of the simplest ways to bring this to market is through a semi-prefabricated solution like Avnet Embedded’s SimpleFlex platform. Equipped with the selected SMARC 2.0™ module according to customer-specific requirements, and easily configured without development effort, it ensures high flexibility with more than 30 prevalidated interface combinations and can be combined with all displays and touch screens — including configurable SimplePlus displays — to build a complete HMI system.

Learn more about the benefits of the SimpleFlex platform in our whitepaper, Avoiding 3 major embedded computing challenges.