The Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly transitioning to a period of rapid growth, driven by increased compute, connectivity, and security capabilities, the rapid evolution of machine-learning (ML) processing at the endpoint, 5G deployments and evolving IoT platforms from major cloud service providers.
This is a new, more complex world, where the journey to successful IoT implementations requires strong industry collaboration and a robust ecosystem of support and tools. Arm is focused on rapidly empowering the world’s largest embedded software ecosystem, and the company recently announced two important steps towards this vision.
Simplifying IoT workflows
MCU-based devices form the majority of the ‘things’ in IoT, as evidenced by the more than 70 billion chips based on the Arm Cortex-M processor family shipped by the company’s partners since its introduction in 2003.
However, software compatibility for component re-use has been a challenge, with the IoT landscape being much more diverse at the hardware level compared to PCs or the data center.
To address this challenge, Arm offers the Common Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS), which is a vendor-independent abstraction layer for microcontrollers, specifically for Arm Cortex-M processors, widely adopted in the industry today.
This includes CMSIS-Pack, an effective packaging technology that currently supports close to 9,000 different microcontrollers, making project integration of drivers, middleware, and other software components across multiple Arm-based devices much easier.
Arm is now moving parts of the CMSIS into an open project, Open-CMSIS-Pack, which will deliver the infrastructure to integrate and manage software components and improve code reuse across projects. In concert with Arm partners, the Open-CMSIS-Pack project will begin its life as an incubation initiative under the Linaro IoT and Embedded Group, focusing on a standard for software component packaging and related foundation tools for validation, distribution, integration, management, and maintenance.
The initial focus of the Open-CMSIS-Pack project will be command-line tools and CMake workflows that enable the broader ecosystem to integrate CMSIS-Pack-based development flows. This project is the starting point for evolving the CMSIS-Pack technology into a true open standard for MCU software component packaging, targeting key interfaces for major IoT platforms and producing a framework that can be embraced across the ecosystem.
The Keil Studio Cloud
Arm also announced that Keil Studio Cloud — the first component of the next-generation Keil tool suite — is moving into an open beta phase. This early access beta will allow developers to experience the Keil Studio workflow firsthand with a limited set of supported development boards and features.
The tool will evolve over several software releases, delivering a desktop and cloud experience that will provide developers with:
- An IDE that runs in the browser and connects directly to boards on your desktop. There’s no complicated tool installation. Example projects along with the related resources are always up-to-date so developers can have code running on a device within minutes.
- Direct Git integration enabling distributed teams, collaborative development, and modern CI workflows that leverage Arm modeling technology.
- Flexible cloud-hosted development first introduced by the Mbed Online Compiler, with professional Keil capabilities, such as CMSIS-Pack software components and run-control debug.
- A portal for the broader software ecosystem to collaborate on, submit examples and share feedback will be available in a later release in 2021.
Combined with Keil MDK, Keil Studio will offer best-in-class IoT, ML, and embedded development environment even for the most demanding real-time and functional safety projects.
Empowering software developers
A recent Forrester report, commissioned by Arm, illustrates that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) developing or adopting IoT-enabled devices, or applications, are keen to collaborate with third parties. This is to leverage existing solutions and technologies to accelerate deployment.
In fact, 98 percent of those surveyed reporting challenges across all stages of development. Related initiatives will broaden access to the software and tools that will spark the industry’s true potential.
“Our strategic partnership with Arm is key to helping the developer community move from prototype to production as quickly as possible,” said Joe Yu, VP and GM, IoT Segment, Edge Processing Business Line, NXP Semiconductors. “The combination of Keil’s next-generation tools with NXP devices and the Open-CMSIS-Pack project will help increase productivity across the industry by encouraging code reuse, improving software component deployment, and enhancing development time.”
Filed Under: News, Software