Battle lines forming for IoT OS

2018-07-09

Embedded.com, a leading source for reliable Embedded Systems development articles, tech papers, webinars, courses, products, and tools has published an article about Phoenix-RTOS:

Get ready for the emerging battle over the IoT OS.

The market already features a host of real-time operating systems positioned as ideal or "optimized" for the Internet of Things. But the latest wrinkle is a growing demand among IoT SoC designers looking for a “bendable” RTOS. They want to design a proprietary IoT device architecture tightly married to a specific microkernel that they can modify, its framework and communication stacks.

Silicon Labs is among the first IoT SoC vendors to openly discuss this. Its 2016 acquisition of Micrium, a supplier of RTOS software, has allowed the Austin, Texas-based company to "bend the kernel of Micrium RTOS for connected IoT applications," Daniel Cooley, senior vice president and general manager of Silicon Labs' Internet of Things (IoT) products, explained to EE Times last year.

Rob Oshana, vice president of software R&D at NXP Semiconductors confirmed a similar trend on the IoT market. He told us, "Yes, next-generation IoT devices are now being designed from the ground-up jointly by software developers, system architects and microcontroller design." He noted, "Software teams drive the programming models, which are an abstraction from the underlying compute algorithms and data structures. This helps bridge the gap between supporting layers of application software and the underlying hardware architecture."

He explained, "This includes the RTOS requirements that can be improved with hardware implementation such as low-level interrupts, memory management, and clock support." Oshana added, "For connected applications, software teams provide PHY and MAC level stacks that are architected closely with hardware design teams for efficient SoC design." In sum, IoT chip vendors say they need an RTOS they can customize to their specific needs. The question is who can offer such a flexible and scalable RTOS.

Fully cognizant of this new trend, a Warsaw, Poland company, Phoenix Systems, last week made available the source code of the company’s Phoenix-RTOS on GitHub.

Paweł Pisarczyk, Phoenix Systems’ president and CEO and the author of Phoenix-RTOS, told EE Times that he released the RTOS to the open-source community because "I see the value [we can offer] is not so much in the operating system itself, but instead, in our ability to provide frameworks, libraries and support for the IoT community."

The BSD license — under which Phoenix-RTOS has been made available — "focuses on user rights and allows for source code modifications," Pisarczyk explained. "Just like Android — a free OS — has helped build a host of smartphone applications which led to the creation of a huge Android community, we want to see us help the community build a variety of IoT applications," Pisarczyk said.

The whole article can be found at: embedded.com

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Anna Suchecka

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