Count Renesas Electronics among the growing list of processor and system makers offering a hardware development platform to help accelerate the growth of the Internet of things.
Renesas joins other chip vendors—including Intel, ARM, Broadcom, Qualcomm, and MediaTek –in offering developers a package of hardware and software they can use to more quickly bring their Internet of things (IoT) products to market. In the process, the vendors hope to gain a strong foothold in an IoT market that is expected to expand rapidly in the coming years and generate trillions of dollars in revenue.
The fully integrated Renesas Synergy Platform includes embedded software, such as a real-time operating system (RTOS); microcontrollers that offer a range of performance; power consumption, security and connectivity offerings, and an integrated development environment. The solution essentially gives engineers a head start by enabling them to start product development at the API level, according to Ali Sebt, senior vice president of Renesas Electronics Corp.
"Engineering teams used to spend valuable development time writing software ranging from low-level peripheral drivers to complex communication and specialty stacks," Sebt said in a statement. "This resulted in months of engineering resources spent integrating, testing, and maintaining software that didn't differentiate the end-product in the market."
However, with developers now being able to start designing at the software API level, "and enjoy a real-time control system without the need to build any baseline functionality, the Renesas Synergy platform accelerates embedded development, inspires innovation and enables differentiation," he said.
The integrated nature of the platform saves users from having to buy third-party software or hardware, such as communication stacks, file systems, GUIs or development tools, and it also includes technical support and licensing. All this saves engineers the cost and time that normally would go into integrating the products themselves, according to Renesas.
Renesas' Synergy Software Package (SSP) includes Express Logic's X-Ware offerings, such as the ThreadX RTOS and X-Ware middleware, all of which is optimized for Renesas' Synergy microcontrollers. The range of capabilities in the microcontrollers offer developers choice when creating their IoT products.
The platform also includes an integrated solution development environment that is based on Eclipse and comes with C compilers. Renesas also is offering Express Logic's Windows-based GUIX Studio GUI prototyping tool and TraceX real-time event graphical analysis tool.
"This software-first approach will make developing devices for the IoT, industrial and other markets easier by taking care of the low-level embedded software, real-time event management, secure connectivity, power management, and the robust GUIs needed," Vin D'Agostino, vice president of the General Purpose Products Unit for Renesas Electronics America, said in a statement.
Selected customers currently are evaluating the platform. The first products from the Synergy Platform will become available in the fourth quarter.
It's not surprising that system and component makers are making strong pushes to gain traction in the IoT marketplace. Cisco Systems officials expect the number of connected devices worldwide will grow from 25 billion last year to more than 50 billion by 2020, and IDC analysts expect IoT revenue to jump to more than $7 trillion within the next five years.