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Security top priority for Digi XBee3 module

Steve Rogerson
March 6, 2018

Security was a priority for the micro format Digi XBee 3 module launched in January, said Scott Nelson (pictured), speaking at last week’s Embedded World in Nuremberg.
The Minnesota-based company announced the RF modules and cellular modems in a micro form factor capable of supporting IoT innovation at the network edge. It extends the modular approach to IoT connectivity, enabling the integration of functions as needs arise and regional requirements change.
“Edge computing is a very important trend,” said Nelson. “It can be used to implement data-based decisions at the edge without putting the core at risk. You can have algorithms that reduce the latency that would come from sending data elsewhere.”
Included in its micro size, XBee3 offers MicroPython programmability and dual-mode radios that provide wireless design flexibility and enable added functionality for IoT services that can be quickly developed, prototyped and mass-produced.  
“But the biggest thing is that it ahs been developed under our Trust Fence framework,” said Nelson. “It is a way we do things for things such as secure boot, authentication, secure elements and, the most important, secure over-the-air updates.”
The XBee3 is not a stationary product and there have already been software releases for different protocols since its January launch.
“Some are rolling out as we speak,” he said. “The product is ramping up and is in production and shipping. It is a living product so more will be added as its life goes on.”
He said the cellular connectivity suited applications such as asset management that needed connectivity but did not involve a lot of data. It can be used for oil, water and gas deployments where there is no one site.
Digi is targeting rapid-response medical applications through a partnership with Dutch electronics company NXP using ConnectCore on NXP’s i.MX platform. This suits vital sign monitoring. There was a demonstration of the technology at Embedded World.
“It captures information from the patient and enables local monitoring,” said Nelson.