Microsoft Announces Azure Sphere Set For February 2020

In 2018, Microsoft announced a new cloud security platform that would enable highly secured, connected microcontroller (MCU) devices at RSA Conference. On October 28, during the IoT Solutions World Congress, the tech giant revealed that platform, Azure Sphere is closer than ever, slated to become generally available as soon as February 2020.

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They also announced new rebranding for ThreadX RTOS, now called Azure ROTS which the company acquired in April 2019 when it bought Express Logic. Going forward, Azure RTOS will be widely available across Microsoft’s products.

This comes as the tech conglomerate has endeavored to secure low-cost Internet-connected devices.

"Our goal is to make Express Logic's ThreadX RTOS available as an option for real-time processing requirements on an Azure Sphere device and also enable ThreadX-powered devices to connect to Azure IoT Edge devices when the IoT solution calls for edge computing capabilities. While we recommend Azure Sphere for customers' most secured connections to the cloud, where Azure Sphere isn't possible in highly constrained devices, we recommend Express Logic's ThreadX RTOS over other RTOS options in the industry because of its additional certifications and out-of-the-box connectivity to Azure IoT Hub," a Microsoft spokesperson said.

It all begins with the first Azure Sphere chip, MediaTek MT3620 which includes an onboard security subsystem called Pluton. Customers across several industries have adopted MT3620, using the chip to produce consumer appliances, retail and manufacturing equipment, and most notably in a series of guardian models designed to securely connect and protect mission-critical devices. Microsoft says that we'll hear more about guardian modules from other manufacturers soon.

In a press release announcing the general availability of Azure Sphere, engineer and managing director, Galen Hunt said: “We want to empower every organization on the planet to connect and create secure and trustworthy IoT devices. While Azure Sphere leverages deep and extensive Microsoft heritage that spans hardware, software, cloud, and security, IoT is our opportunity to prove we can deliver in a new space.”

Among other announcements, the company also declared the implementation of new application templates, APO, multitenancy support, as well as a slew of new features to its IoT app platform.