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Azure IoT increases enterprise-level intelligent edge and cloud capabilities

Posted on June 20, 2022

Vice President and General Manager, Microsoft Azure IoT, Edge, AI

For Microsoft Azure IoT, our approach is connecting devices at the edge to the cloud seamlessly and securely to help customers achieve desired business outcomes. At this year’s Embedded World 2022, we’ll share how our Azure IoT solutions are delivering enhanced device security, seamless cloud integration, and device certification.

One of the key ways we’re delivering cost-efficient and energy-efficient solutions to IoT customers at Embedded World is with new Arm64 support. Partners such as NXP, with i.MX 8M SoC processors, are bringing full Windows IoT Enterprise capabilities in a small footprint ideal for compact and fanless designs.

Arm64 for low-cost, low-power benefits without compromise

Following our preview of the NXP i.MX 8M BSP release on Windows IoT Enterprise earlier this year, we are extending Arm64 support on NXP I.MX8 for Windows 10 IoT Enterprise.

Windows on Arm was launched in 2017 to provide better battery life, always-online internet connectivity, and quick boot-up via a Microsoft OS experience running on hardware powered by Arm processors. As enterprise-level IoT deployment has evolved, today’s edge devices have greater demands for compute-intensive applications, such as rich graphics and grid computing.

That’s why we’re now bringing full Windows application compatibility to IoT to deliver low-power and low-cost benefits of Arm64 through a multi-year collaboration between Microsoft and NXP, an Industrial IoT provider. Customers can get started by downloading the i.MX 8M Public Preview BSP and user guide. Additional partners announcing support for Windows IoT on Arm64 with their devices include Reycom and Avnet.

Security at the edge

Cyberattacks on IoT devices and other connected technology can put businesses at risk. An attack can result in stolen IP or other highly valuable data, compromised regulatory status or certification, costly downtime, as well as complex financial and legal ramifications. The following security announcement is one more way Microsoft is helping ensure security is built into the foundation of IoT solutions from the start.

Edge Secured-core

Edge Secured-core is a trusted certification program helping customers select hardware that meets a higher security standard. Edge Secured-core, including Edge Secured-core for Windows IoT, brings this certification into the IoT Edge ecosystem, making it easier for companies to identify edge hardware that meets this higher bar in protecting data.

MCU Security Platform

Microsoft also has partnered with STMicroelectronics to jointly develop a security platform for MCUs enabling ST’s ultra-low-power STM32U5 microcontrollers (MCUs) to connect securely to Azure IoT cloud services. The STM32U5 with Trusted Firmware for Cortex-M (TF-M) has been independently certified to PSA Level 3 and SESIP Level 3, and the STSAFE secure element has been certified to Common Criteria EAL 5+.

The security platform is built on Microsoft’s production-ready Azure real-time operating system (RTOS) which has received EAL4+ Common Criteria security certification and PSA Level 1 certification. The offering leverages best-in-class security with Microsoft Defender for IoT, Device Update for IoT Hub, and Device Provisioning Services with X.509 Certificate management.

Enhanced Azure RTOS

As software solutions become more complex, robust RTOS become more important for seamless development. Microsoft announced three enhancements for Azure RTOS at Embedded World 2022.

Embedded Wireless Framework

The Embedded Wireless Framework defines a common set of APIs for wireless interfaces used in IoT. The application programming interface covers multiple wireless network protocols, including Wi-Fi and cellular, with their unique proprietary drivers. The Wireless Framework also allows users to reuse application code across different devices leveraging IoT.

Visual Studio Code for Embedded

Visual Studio and VS Code have recently added embedded capabilities to C++ scenarios, opening a previously untapped market of developers for those products. Developers can use VS and VS Code for embedded development with Azure RTOS, Free RTOS, and Zephr. Industry partnerships will continue to extend capabilities.

Connecting IoT devices to Azure with LwM2M

Microsoft has collaborated with several partners to enable bridging the LwM2M protocol to Azure IoT cloud services, offering greater flexibility for device builders designing for low-power and low-bandwidth optimized applications over low-power wide-area (LPWA) technologies such as NB-IoT. Device certification enforces security standards.

Azure Sphere and Rust for continual innovation

Azure Sphere previously enabled programming exclusively in C. However, Rust has become one of the most popular embedded developer languages due to the safety and development ease it provides. Rust decreases time to market and lowers risks associated with security vulnerabilities in customer application code. Azure Sphere is now previewing support for Rust, ensuring a safe IoT device from the silicon through the application and to the cloud. Developers interested in joining the preview or getting updates can contact Azure Sphere at Microsoft.

Expanding enterprise-level intelligent edge capabilities

Enhanced device security, seamless cloud integration, and device certification support the Microsoft approach of making intelligent edge devices connect seamlessly and securely to the intelligent cloud. Visit the Microsoft Azure IoT booth at Embedded World 2022 to learn more about these latest announcements.