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IoT cloud framework features Linux-ready gateway design

Nov 5, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 1,308 views

Mentor Graphics announced a Linux-ready IoT gateway System Design Kit (SysDK) as part of an IoT solution that offers cloud services and TrustZone security.

Mentor Graphics unveiled an end-to-end, hardware/software Internet of Things solution for wired and wireless edge device aggregation, featuring a System Design Kit (SysDK) for IoT gateways. The SysDK runs a version of Mentor Embedded Linux on a quad-core, Cortex-A9 based Freescale i.MX6 SoC, along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC storage.

SysDK SBC outside and inside its enclosure
(click images to enlarge)

The SysDK includes a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports, plus three wireless radios, for WiFi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth, and 802.15.4. The latter is the protocol behind Zigbee, Z-Wave, and the Google/Nest backed Thread wireless standards. Other coastline I/O include an HDMI port “for accelerated video,” four USB Host ports, and a full-sized SDIO slot. Internally, there are headers for USB OTG, dual UARTs, and GPIO, plus a slot for SATA-interfaced NGFF (M.2) SSD.

SysDK SBC angled view and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Mentor Gateway SysDK can be customized to include secure gateway partitions using ARM TrustZone certificate management and secure remote firmware upgrades. The IoT stack also includes end-to-end security provided by Floodgate software for McAfee ePO from Icon Labs. The combination is said to enable secure data communications, access control, software execution, and intrusion detection across IoT cloud backend, gateway, and edge devices.

Mentor IoT solution conceptual diagram (left) and security stack
(click images to enlarge)

The Mentor IoT solution provides cloud middleware that enables companies to remotely provision, monitor, and collect data for analysis, as well as manage gateway and device deployment securely through a web interface or a mobile application. Mentor’s scalable cloud backend can be licensed or provided as a service, and can integrate multiple cloud service providers.

The cloud platform enables management of server life-cycles using automation templates, including customizable dashboards, says Mentor. Specific features are said to include event logging, firmware updates, remote driver install/update, remote feature unlocking, and data collection for analytics.

The IoT platform incorporates Mentor’s Xpedition PCB design flow package. In addition, hardware and software consulting services are available for prototype, evaluation, and production phase, with expertise available in hardware design, optimized software architectures, multimedia applications, security, and safety certified systems, says the company.

Mentor Embedded Linux architecture (left) and IoT cloud services architecture
(click images to enlarge)

In addition to the Yocto Project based Mentor Embedded Linux, the platform is supported by Mentor Embedded Nucleus, Mentor’s development distribution for its Nucleus real-time operating system (RTOS), which here will be aimed at “extremely resource-constrained and battery-powered devices,” says Mentor Graphics.

Other supported runtime solutions include the Mentor Embedded Multicore Framework and Mentor Embedded Hypervisor, as well as the SafetyCert version of Nucleus. The IoT solution also supports Android, bare metal environments, and “high performance graphics solutions,” says Mentor.

Helix Cloud
(click to enlarge)

The announcement came shortly after Intel and Wind River unveiled an enhanced Intel IoT Platform featuring new Intel Quark processors and a Wind River Helix Cloud platform for Internet of Things that includes a new Rocket RTOS and stripped down Wind River Pulsar Linux distribution. Other recent IoT frameworks that integrate support for Linux-based development boards include Amazon’s AWS IoT.

Last week, the Mentor Automotive unit of Mentor Graphics announced a new Connected OS distribution that goes beyond the earlier Mentor Embedded Automotive Technology Platform (ATP) in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) platform to provide development support for ADAS features. Connected OS is compliant with the GENIVI automotive spec, and provides connectivity for a variety of mobile consumer electronics devices.

“Our collaboration with the Mentor team has resulted in a dynamic end-to-end solution that is used to provide consumer-facing services in public places,” stated Brent Richtsmeier, vice president, advanced printing solutions lab, Samsung Research America. “Together with Mentor, we developed a cloud-managed gateway that aggregates a cluster of Samsung devices including printers and displays. From the Mentor cloud an array of location-aware services are provided to consumers via mobile applications on the device clusters.”

Further information

Mentor’s IoT solution, including the the SysDK platform, is available now for commercial licensing in all or parts of the solution. Mentor Graphics can also deploy and manage the solution as a service to customers. Mentor Graphics will demonstrate the IoT solution at ARM TechCon, to be held in Santa Clara, Calif. on Nov. 11-12, in booth #313. More information is available at the at Mentor IoT solution product page.

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