NXP Semiconductors, a Dutch manufacturer of semiconductor chips and SoCs, has recently announced a few new collaborations with Microsoft that will enhance Industrial IoT applications with it’s hardware suite.

Windows 10 IoT Core Support for NXP’s i.MX 6 and i.MX 7 Chips

Windows 10 IoT Core is a version of Windows 10 optimized for use in small, embedded system computers such as maker boards and other low-powered SoC devices. The advantage of this version of the Windows operating system is that applications developed on the Windows 10 IoT core will run the same way on any Windows 10 devices. This is part of Microsoft’s vision of a unified interface across all devices. 

The NXP Semiconductor and Windows 10 IoT Core collaboration results in this OS support for NXP’s i.MX 6 and i.MX 7 processor cores, based on the Arm Cortex architecture, designed primarily for IoT devices and applications. NXP boasts that its IoT focused processor cores are specifically tailored for I/O security, using a feature called “TrustZone”. 

The expected outcome of this collaboration is that the combined ubiquity of Windows 10, and the enhanced security of the i.MX 6 and i.MX 7, will be attractive for industry IoT applications.

Several SoC vendors have already begun taking advantage of this collaboration and were demoed at the Embedded World conference in Nuremberg, held late last February. This included the Aaeon PICO-IMX6, Kontron SMARC-sAMX6i, and the SolidRun Hummingboard Edge. 

 

SolidRun Hummingboard Edge. Image courtesy of Solid Run.

 

Layerscape System-on-Chip by NXP Adds Microsoft Azure

NXP is making a nod to a Microsoft publication titled the Seven Properties of Highly Secure Devices, which outlines the need for security in low-cost devices that are powered by microcontrollers connected to the Internet—inevitably this is creating opportunities for privacy and security breaches. 

Part of NXP’s take on this is by using virtualized containers running Linux or Docker—and now Microsoft Azure IoT Edge, which has applications for edge computing devices to apply machine learning, data analytics, and device cloud management. This concept of virtualized containers adds flexibility so that IoT applications from a variety of vendors can be used, that already belong to robust and secure ecosystems. 

 

IoT device security is critically important. Image courtesy of PubNub.

 

The seven properties that are theorized to be critical for device security are:

  • Hardware-based Root of Trust: “Does the device have a unique, unforgeable identity that is inseparable from the hardware?”
  • Small Trusted Computing Base: “Is most of the device’s software outside the device’s trusted computing base?”
  • Defense in Depth: “Is the device still protected if the security of one layer of device software is breached?”
  • Compartmentalization: “Does a failure in one component of the device require a reboot of the entire device to return to operation?”
  • Certificate-based Authentication: “Does the device use certificates instead of passwords for authentication?”
  • Renewable Security: “Is the device’s software updated automatically?”
  • Failure Reporting: “Does the device report failures to its manufacturer?”

 

Kontron Computer-on-Modules to Use NXP Layerscape SoM

The Kontron and NXP collaboration brings together all the benefits of the NXP-Microsoft collaborations. By adopting the NXP Layerscape SoM into its Computer-on-Modules, Kontron products (which cater primarily to secure embedded computing hardware) can be used more easily for IoT and Industry 4.0 applications.

The intent is for this new addition to its products to help speed up time-to-market for designers who can take advantage of Microsoft Azure IoT Edge, Microsoft 10 IoT Core Support, as well as NXP’s Layerscape SoMs.

 

Featured image courtesy of NXP Semiconductors.

 

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