The Raspberry Pi foundation has released the new Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ (CM3+). The Raspberry Pi Compute module series is a product line of System-On-Chip (SoC) solutions suitable for industrial use.
The new CM3+ and CM3+ Lite offer a heat spreader to more effectively cool the Broadcom BCM2837 SoC, unlike the previous CM3, which only had the bare integrated circuit (IC) on the board (the Lite version comes without onboard eMMC flash memory).
The CM3+ Compute modules offer the components of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ in a SODIMM module (hence why they resemble laptop RAM sticks) for easy integration into your own projects.
The Raspberry Pi 3 models already have a large community of developers (both individuals and corporations) that have been using it to make DIY gadgets and industrial control solutions, as the fourth industrial revolution (dubbed Industry 4.0) is well underway.
The Raspberry Pi computers provide a convenient bridge for electrical engineering hobbyists that are interested in developing industrial controls to learn on a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ kit for example, and then they can seamlessly transition to industrial controls using the Compute module without having to learn a new architecture all over again.
For example: I made an appliance controller that switches appliances on or off remotely via an online dashboard with a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ and Node.js. It was very simple and straightforward. The numerous other hobbyists doing this suggests that companies using Raspberry Pi Compute modules may soon have a large pool of applicants to choose from to fill their embedded systems development positions.
There are also companies manufacturing Raspberry Pi-based industrial controls and automation equipment such as the Revolution Pi DIN rail connectors from Kunbus and monitoring equipment from Oden. For more information, i’d recommend reading more about the difference between the Raspberry Pi and traditional microcontrollers that would otherwise be used for these things (or which may be used in conjunction with the Raspberry Pi).
It is unfortunate (although understandable) that we won’t be able to see most of the devices built with the Compute modules, as they are often industrial controls used internally in businesses (for example: factories), but you can make your own! The CM3+ modules are now on sale starting at $25.
Related: A look at my plug and play solar module.