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Embedded World sees platforms to speed IoT development

Steve Rogerson
March 1, 2016
As the IoT and M2M start to approach the mass roll-out stage, many companies are looking for help to add connectivity to their products. As such, last week’s Embedded World in Nuremberg saw introductions of IoT development kits, including announcements from Telit, Renesas, Avnet and IAR Systems.
A good example was Telit, which previewed at the show the EVK4 IoT evaluation kit that is due to be launched in April.
“This is aimed at people who are just starting out,” said John Keever, CTO for Telit’s IoT platform. “This can be used with standard products such as the Raspberry Pi and so on. It is a plug-in board that takes a development board and cellularises it. It has an array of sensors.”
He said the aim was to “make it as easy as possible” to become one of the predicted 50 million connections.
“If someone does want to make a device, we want to make it very easy for them to do it fast,” said Keever. “This is aimed from colleges and universities right up to professionals, so they don’t have to start with a blank piece of silicon. They can use the Raspberry Pi to do the early design and then use this to get them connected. Or they can take our board and integrate into a module.”
German company Avnet Memec-Silica launched the Visible Things platform for developing IoT systems and applications. Targeting a wide range of industrial markets, this flexible evaluation and development platform is for edge-to-enterprise IoT projects. It delivers tested, proven, secure and integrated hardware and embedded software to connect smart sensors and embedded devices via gateways or low-power wide-area networking technologies (LPWAN), right through to the cloud and enterprise software applications.
“It has all the hardware with embedded software and enterprise software to connect from smart sensors right through to the cloud and enterprise software,” said John Jones, Avnet’s director of innovation. “It is designed as an out-of-box experience. It can be set up in a minute.”
Though there are many IoT development platforms, Jones said this was different in that it used best-of-class technology right the way through.
“Some have a headline part but the rest from the ecosystem is not always best in class,” he said. “This also works as a demo tool that our customers can take to their customers. It is designed as close to the end application as we can, so it is a small step to move to an end product.”
The platform supports short-range connectivity to a gateway, and Wifi, 3G and 4G cellular communications to the cloud and enterprise software applications. It also supports the Sigfox and LoRaWAN IoT networks.
Japanese giant Renesas was plugging its Synergy platform for IoT design. Though originally announced in June last year, with a public beta in October, the first version of the package was not made generally available until January this year. At Embedded World, it added more devices for the platform and a preview version of the second generation of the software.
Renesas also announced a collaboration with Swedish company IAR Systems, a provider of embedded development tools. The announcement concerned the IAR Embedded Workbench development toolchain, which has been integrated with Synergy to create what is called EWarm-RS.
“The complexity is getting out of line,” said Stefan Skarin, CEO of IAR Systems. “This means companies are losing time for innovation to manage the complexity.”
The Synergy platform provides developers with immediate access to a complete embedded platform comprised of a real-time operating system and software, scalable ARM Cortex-M based microcontrollers (MCUs) and now all the features of Embedded Workbench. Developers gain access to all these elements with click-through licensing on the Synergy Gallery web site.
Renesas announced that in April this year a beta programme will start based on Synergy and that provides heightened security capabilities to OEMs who build devices connecting to the IoT. The Synergy DLM device lifecycle management consists of security MCUs plus the associated software and tools enabling OEMs to protect their software IP from theft and cloning during manufacture, to inhibit counterfeit products, and to ensure authenticity when deploying secure remote firmware updates to end products already in the field that use Synergy MCUs.
“We all know the importance of security,” said Ali Sebt (pictured), senior vice president for Renesas. “We have developed an end-to-end, birth-to-death system that ensures the system is not compromised.”