Renesas Upgrades IoT Platform With New ARM Offerings

The chip vendor is partnering with Express Logic and IAR on the next generation of the Synergy platform for developers of IoT products.


Semiconductor maker Renesas Electronics is teaming with two other tech vendors on the development of the next generation of its Synergy internet of things platform that is based on ARM's new ARMv8-M chip architecture.

Officials with Renesas, Express Logic and IAR Systems are showcasing the enhanced platform this week at ARM's TechCon 2016 event, demonstrating how technologies from all three companies mesh to offer developers a package of hardware and software they can use to more quickly and securely bring their internet of things (IoT) products to market.

Renesas' announcement comes 16 months after the company first rolled out the Synergy IoT platform, joining a range of other chip makers—including Intel, ARM, Qualcomm and MediaTek—in offering developers the tools they need to create their products and a way for the vendors to gain a greater foothold in the fast-growing IoT space.

It also comes amid a flurry of IoT-related announcements from chip makers, in particular Intel (with its Atom E3900 chip) and ARM (with its new Cortex-M23 and Cortex-M33 processor designs based on the ARMv8-M architecture as well as a range of other products).

Renesas officials said the ThreadX real-time operating system (RTOS) from Express Logic and IAR's Embedded Workbench software development environment—along with the ARMv8-M architecture and ARM's TrustZone security technology—will form the basis of the next-generation Synergy platform.

"By combining a feature-rich RTOS with powerful embedded development tools and a full hardware and software platform for IoT development with the power and security of ARM's latest cores, Renesas and its partners continue to address the design challenges facing today's IoT developers: time-to-market, security and cost-effective performance," Peter Carbone, vice president of Renesas' Synergy IoT Platform Business Division, said in a statement.

According to Renesas officials, the demonstration at the ARM TechCon show includes a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) subsystem that uses both the Cortex-23 and Cortex-M33 CPUs. IAR's Embedded Workbench was used to port the ThreadX RTOS to the new CPU cores, which enabled the creation of secure and non-secure zones, they said. The new platform will give developers the simplicity and security they need, particularly given the recent news of significant distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks stemming from compromised IoT devices, according to IAR CEO Stefan Skarin.

"As security breaches of connected devices are a real threat these days, we can see that our customers are looking for easy-to-use solutions with strong security features in both hardware and software," Skarin said in a statement.

Renesas is making a concentrated push into the market for connected devices and systems. In September, the company announced it plans to buy Intersil for $3.2 billion, a deal that will grow Renesas' capabilities in the connected car space, which has been an increasing focus for both companies. Renesas executives have been aggressively pivoting in the direction of automotive technology by closing factories and cutting jobs.