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Microsoft and Mediatek design IoT chip with built-in security

Steve Rogerson
April 19, 2018
Microsoft is working with Taiwanese company Mediatek to deliver the first ever Azure Sphere chip for IoT applications with built-in security and connectivity.
The MT3620 is for creating secure, connected MCU powered devices at a price that hopes to make enterprise-class security affordable for the multitude of cloud-connected devices.
To bring security to connected devices, Microsoft introduced Azure Sphere, the industry's first holistic platform for creating highly secured, connected MCU devices on the intelligent edge. It features a new class of MCU with more than five times the power of legacy MCUs, an OS custom built for IoT security, and a turnkey cloud security service that guards every Azure Sphere device.
Mediatek and Microsoft have collaborated to develop a specialised chipset with a wifi-connected controller built around a processor designed to run the Azure Sphere's IoT operating system. It also includes built-in support for Microsoft's security protocols.
These chipsets will be sold as part of the Azure Sphere offering, enabling users across a broad set of industries to connect their MCU powered products and devices with confidence they are protected and secured by Microsoft.
"Mediatek has a long history of working with Microsoft on specific SoC designs that meet demanding connectivity needs," said Jerry Yu, MediaTek corporate vice president. "On top of our close ties with Microsoft and design expertise, Microsoft had a vision we also believed in. Bringing trust and security into IoT from chip to cloud, to make connected devices practical to sell and manage for businesses and consumers."
Significant drops in the cost of connectivity mean that billions of MCU-powered devices, from household appliances and health monitors to children's toys and industrial equipment, will be connected. With more points of connectivity come more points of possible vulnerability, which mean companies and individuals will only take advantage of convenient connected devices if they believe their devices, data and cloud are secure. That's why Mediatek has worked with Microsoft to accelerate the market transition from standalone MCUs to secure, cloud-connected MCUs.
"Today, computing is more powerful and ubiquitous from the cloud to the edge," said Galen Hunt, managing director for Azure Sphere at Microsoft. “In the next decade we'll see the democratisation of connectivity to billions of devices. Azure Sphere brings together the best of Microsoft's expertise in cloud, software and silicon, resulting in a unique approach to security that starts in the silicon and extends to the cloud. Mediatek has worked in close collaboration with us on the silicon aspect, and we are pleased to share in this announcement of the MT3620, the first Azure Sphere certified chip. What we are delivering together will be the foundation for a new generation of secure intelligent edge devices."
More than nine billion microcontroller-powered devices are entering the market annually, which is why Microsoft and Mediatek worked together to ensure every connected device, regardless of price point, has security embedded.
With Azure Sphere, Microsoft is building an ecosystem that consists of silicon vendors, original device manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers from a broad range of industries. As a group, they aim to understand the opportunities and risks associated with the growing number of IoT devices and applications and have banded together to ensure that security standards are developed and upheld.
Mediatek is sampling chips with lead customers and will have broad product availability by the third quarter of 2018.
Mediatek is a fabless semiconductor company that enables 1.5 billion connected devices a year.