How Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 might help IoT & Industrial Automation?

It a matter of time before we will see Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ successor, probably called Compute Module 4, a new milestone of professional embedded IoT module. What might be the specification of this highly expected development board? What changes will it bring to Industrial use of IoT?

Compute Module & Industrial IoT symbiosis

We are witnessing the fourth industrial revolution. Its key element is to create systems of interconnected sensors and actuators that operate within one global network. The so-called Internet of Things, unlike the consumer market, meet much more difficult requirements. To be able to meet harsh industrial expectations, many automation companies have already begun to offer solutions especially tailored to the application of the Internet of Things in Industry 4.0.

Although it may seem quite obvious nowadays, it is worth to be aware that just a few years ago such algorithms were practically not implemented at all in small consumer devices. It was only when people got used to smartphones that the idea of ubiquitous communication and adaptation of the way the system or device works to the environment became understandable. In fact, this confirms the validity of the idea of the Internet of Things as an important direction in the development of electronics – and in practice also automation.

Raspberry Pi is gaining recognition in Industry

Almost a year ago, in the beginning of 2019, Raspberry Pi Foundation presented Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+, a successor to previous CM3 version of development board, aimed at businesses and industrial users. The Compute Module uses a standard DDR2 SODIMM (small outline dual in-line memory module) form factor. GPIO and other I/O functions are routed through the 200 pins on the board.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+
Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+

Only a few months later, in June 2019, came big premiere of Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, the long-awaited successor of customer RPi3+. With new processor, larger RAM options and many input/output changes, became new standard in small, embedded PC world.

It seems a matter of time before the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ will get its own successor, probably called Compute Module 4, a new milestone of professional embedded IoT module. What might be the specification of this highly expected development board?

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 specification forecast

Compute Module 4 specifications probably will look like these:

  • Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 @ 1.5GHz will highly plausible replace previous Broadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 64-bit SoC @ 1.2GHz,
  • 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM will become a standard options, instead of fixed 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM,
  • Current flash memory (eMMC) options: 8GB / 16GB / 32GB from CM3+ will probably stay the same,
  • H.265 (4kp60 decode), H264 (1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode) might replace outdated H.264 (1080p30)
  • and OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics will replace 1.1, 2.0 versions,
  • weight and factor will stay the same, to provide a possibility to upgrade current IoT applications of CM3 and CM3+

A Lite 4 version of Compute Module is to be expected too, without eMMC and probably limited SDRAM options.

With much higher performance, the new Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 will, for sure, support Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 expansions. We might even see wider working temperature range, if Raspberry Pi Foundation decides to make some hardware changes, to follow, for example, ESP32 – used in end-point IoT automation.

Industrial use of Compute Module

With Compute Module 3+ options from Raspberry Pi, TECHBASE upgraded their ModBerry 500/9500 industrial computers. From now on the ModBerry 500/9500 can be supported with extended eMMC, up to 32GB. Higher memory volume brings new features available for ModBerry series.

 ModBerry 500 with Compute Module 3+
ModBerry 500 with Compute Module 3+

Higher performance of ModBerry 500/9500 with extended eMMC flash memory, up to 32GB , powered by quad-core Cortex A53 processor allows the device to smoothly run Windows 10 IoT Core system, opening up many possibilities for data management, remote control and visualisation.