Ultimately you are always going to run on real hardware. The simulator is just a way to get started as well as a nice contained enviroment for general understanding of the linux core. Having simulators that match your HW platform is the absolute best possible place you can be. Hats off to the folks who have made that possible with ports of the beagle, gumstix and many others to QEMU.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.