Design Con 2015

Micrium gets ready for the IoT flood

Rick Merritt

April 03, 2014

Rick MerrittApril 03, 2014

Micrium is re-tooling for the Internet of Things. The RTOS and embedded software supplier is poised to announce new partners supplying a streamlined Java virtual machine and hosted cloud services for IoT. It also will add to its portfolio support for related protocols and design services.

The move comes amid a flood of companies angling for position in what's seen as a significant emerging market. Relative newcomers, from Ayla Networks to Xively, as well as such giants as Cisco talked about their IoT software and service offerings or plans here at EE Live!

"There's probably one new [IoT services] provider every day," quipped Christian Legare, Micrium's CTO.

Meanwhile, Intel's Wind River division recently announced plans for a 20 kbyte microkernel, competing with Micrium's bread-and-butter ┬ÁCOS. "It validates your market when the gorilla says they see potential," said Jean Labrosse, Micrium's founder and CEO.

In the hyper-competitive environment, Micrium aims to get out ahead of the IoT trend, believing it could reshape the industry. The cloud pay-as-you-go model may become the pattern for embedded software in the future, said Legare.

As part of its IoT push, Micrium is about to partner with a supplier of a Java VM that fits into 50 kbytes or less. Labrosse and many others note there are only a few hundred thousand embedded systems developers, but an estimated nine million Java developers, the likely community to code tomorrow's IoT systems and services.

Separately, Micrium will acquire code for IoT protocols such as IBM's MQTT, CoAP, and HTTP client and server. At the physical layer it expects many projects will use WiFi and Bluetooth Smart. Below that level "the mesh networking area is very much proprietary, and it needs to become more open," said Legare.

Micrium is on an upswing, according to a just-released study from UBM Tech, the publisher of Embedded.com and EE Times. Ten percent of survey respondents said they are using ┬ÁCOS, up from 6% a year ago; and 12% said they are considering it for their next project, up from 10% a year ago.

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