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Design IoT And Embedded Devices – All You Need Is ARM mbed OS

Developers of Internet of Things (IoT) and embedded devices today are able to draw on more opportunities than ever before to realize their projects. Technology companies dedicated to the IoT make investments not only in hardware components but also in software development. The British semiconductor and software design company ARM, mainly known for its computer processor designs, makes business with software development tools too. Their ARM mbed IoT Device Platform is made to simplify development of IoT devices and applications.

In 2015 ARM released the first (beta) version of the mbed OS to the public. Back then it focused on laying the foundation for mbed OS development and collaboration, particularly core tools, technology and testing. Further enhancements with more features and functionalities for the IoT followed. At this year’s embedded world trade fair in Nuremberg, Germany, the release of the latest version mbed OS 5.4 was announced.

Full Design Support

The latest open source embedded operating system offers full support for over 100 mbed Enabled boards and more than 400 components, tools for writing, building and testing applications, and server and client-side tools to communicate with your devices. It is designed specifically for the “things” in the Internet of Things.

If designers want to develop IoT and embedded products that are based on an ARM Cortex-M microcontroller with mbed OS they will be equipped with features for security, connectivity, an RTOS (real-time operating system) and drivers for sensors and I/O devices. That’s everything they need. Let’s have a closer look at the features.

Flexible Data Storage

An incorporated flexible file system support makes sure that requirements for IoT applications to store data are met. Also a FAT filesystem for removable storage media was implemented already, embedded flash file systems and encryptions will follow in future releases. The core of the system supports early access to the mbed OS bootloader.

Connectivity Is Integral Part

Many Internet of Things applications use LoRaWAN, an low power wide area network (LPWAN) specification to ensure a low-cost, mobile and bi-directional communication between the devices. Used in smart city projects, machine-to-machine communication or industrial applications it became an integral part of the IoT. mbed OS provides LoRaWAN APIs for partner feedback and integration. Apart from that mbed OS 5.4 uses the recently certified mbed Thread 1.1 stack, an open standard for reliable, cost-effective, low-power, wireless device-to-device (D2D) communication, which is specifically designed for connected home applications. A Linux-based Access Point reference that uses the Thread border router is also available.

ARM mbed logoScalable Solution For IoT Device Management

With mbed cloud, ARM is providing a device management platform, which is pre-integrated into the mbed OS and provides signification benefits to customers. The platform enables scalability with regard to the number of devices and users and deploys security features from the embedded firmware through the connectivity to the cloud platform. Firmware over the air (FOTA) upgrade and fail-safe update features ensure an efficient and secure remote device lifetime management. Last but not least mbed Cloud can connect any devices thanks to the mbed client and enables an easy integration to application/business platforms like IBM Watson.

Security is Key

A decisive factor for IoT applications is security. Communication between the devices needs to be protected so data abuse can be avoided. mbed OS offers crypto libraries in mbed TLS (transport layer security) that include all the internal partner APIs and documentation for enabling hardware entropy and symmetric and asymmetric cryptographic acceleration. IoT solutions will also be protected by multilayer security. Dedicated webinars and workshops will be offered to Build a chain of trust in IoT.

Collaboration Between the Partners

Because ARM mbed OS is modular it is able to run on Cortex-M0 through Cortex-M3/M4 to Cortex-M7 based devices and supports a wide range of communications protocols. ARM mbed partners like STMicroelectronics, Maxim, NXP and ONSemiconductor developed applications and boards that use the mbed OS. In upcoming articles we will have a closer look at them. So stay tuned for more to come on this topic soon.

Our Smart Sensing & Connectivity team is able to guide you on all the aspects of OS, connectivity and cloud. Don’t hesitate to contact our specialists here. If you want to learn more about the latest release of ARM mbed OS read the full release note for mbed OS 5.4 here.